The long wait is over – Carve the Mark is finally here! This highly anticipated title from Divergent author Veronica Roth takes us to a galaxy filled with unique powers, violence and vengeance, tyranny and loyalty. We chat with Veronica for a peek at how this new series was brought to life, and to get to know this amazing writer a little bit more.
FULLY BOOKED: First off, we couldn’t wait for Carve the Mark – the hype is real, and now it’s here! What was your inspiration behind it?
VERONICA ROTH: When I was very young, maybe eleven or twelve, I came up with an idea: a story about a young man who is kidnapped by people from an enemy country, and then, years later, when he returns, he has to figure out how to relate to his family again after going through this trauma. Don’t ask me why eleven-year-old Veronica was interested in this, I can’t tell you! But I’ve been searching for the right way to tell that story ever since. Carve the Mark was the first version of it that felt like the right fit.
Building a fictional world takes a lot of work, time, and imagination. As it grows, when you write and when we read, it feels like everything has an origin story. Can you shed some light on your creation of this new world?
Well, really, it’s all about story and characters for me, at first. But there is one guiding principle for the world building that I can point to: I wanted to think about priorities. I think the priorities of a country or a culture influence so many physical details—what kind of technology they develop, what kind of design they use, what kind of clothes they wear. Most of Shotet clothing is armored, for example, because demonstrating strength is (for historical reasons) very important to their culture and survival. Most things they design are some shade of blue because blue is the color of the currentstream (a natural phenomena in this galaxy) when they go on their yearly sojourn. That kind of thing.
There’s no doubt that the Divergent series was a huge success. How did it feel when you first dove into this new project? Is your writing process now different from when you were writing Divergent?
When I first dove into this project, it was while waiting for Insurgent edits, so I was really just playing around with the story and the world. I tried not to think about what it could become. But when I decided to commit to it, it was a bit daunting to think about working on something other than Divergent. Ultimately, though, when you write, you just have to shut out that kind of stuff. You can’t think about how people will react, or you won’t be able to continue. So that’s what I did—I just pretended there was no pressure, that I was alone with the story.
You’ve given us many memorable characters over the years, and soon we’ll get to meet a new set. Do you share any similarities with the protagonists of your stories? Or any of the characters?
I share similarities with all my characters—I think that’s what allows me to write about them. This time I was particularly focused on my antagonist, Ryzek, Cyra’s brother. I wanted to make sure I could relate to him so I could make him as complex as possible. So I decided that Ryzek and I would share our profound anxiety. I can relate to anyone who lives with that. What Ryzek does with his fear, well, that’s inexcusable, but he at least starts from a place that makes sense to me.
In one sentence, what can fans expect from Carve the Mark?
Space adventures, poisonous flowers, and…fighting. (Lots of fighting.)
Do you have any writing rituals or routines that you can share with us?
Not really! I honestly don’t do well with routines. Every day is different, for me. There’s no trick to writing—you just have to sit down and do it. That said, if you have trouble getting into a character, think about making a playlist for them, and listen to it before you start to write. Sometimes that helps me.
If you could give your 13-year-old self any advice, may it be on life in general or on writing in particular, what would it be?
Be kind to people, and don’t stick with people who are repeatedly unkind to you. It’s a good rule for anyone at any age, I think.
Can you share with us one unique thing about you that your fans don’t know?
This is tough! I don’t really lead a wild or exciting life, so…I only eat bananas when they’re still green, maybe? And I’m never more uncomfortable than when I’m wearing a dress.
Quick game of “Kiss. Marry. Kill.” Among Peter, Eric, and Caleb of Divergent, who will you kiss, who will you marry, and who will you kill?
This is extremely difficult! I don’t like any of these people! But since you’re forcing me to answer, I guess I’d marry Caleb, kiss Eric, kill Peter.
Thank you, Veronica! One last thing before we let you go. We need to prove that you are, indeed, a human being. Would you mind taking a photo right now for your fans?
Carve the Mark is available at Fully Booked branches and Fully Booked Online.
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