Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark (published by HarperCollins Children’s in January) tells the story of Cyra, the sister of the brutal tyrant of the Shotet people, and Akos, who is kidnapped from the peaceful nation of Thuvhe. She talks to The Bookseller.
Where did the inspiration for Carve the Mark come from?
I’ve had the idea for a long time—since I was about 12 or 13—[for a story about] a man who is taken away from his home and culture. I kept trying it out in different settings and finally, when I was in between edits for Insurgent [the second book in Roth’s Divergent series], it finally began to work. The female character came out of nowhere. She was originally a side character but the more I explored her, the bigger she became. She has a gift that causes her physical pain, which came about because I know a lot of women who suffer with chronic pain who are told that it’s normal by doctors. This idea of having your pain define you felt real to me. The story is a blend of sci-fi and fantasy.
How many books will there be in the series?
Two. I planned out the storyline both across two books, and across three books, and it felt weird as a trilogy. A duology worked better.
Are you nervous about releasing a new book after the success of Divergent?
It’s a bit scary. I would have to be a robot not to know expectations are high. But I love this story and you can’t control people’s reactions.
Why do you write YA?
I love writing about people on the cusp of adulthood, and when I started writing Divergent I had just left that period of time. I hope my writing has grown up a bit, but I try to keep a good perspective on that age. There is a lot of disdain for YA, which is strange. Obviously it’s important to read widely, but you have to have stories that speak to you when you are at that age.
What are you working on now?
I’m on book two at the moment. I don’t have the ending figured out, which is new for me. I’m going to figure it out when I get there. I’ve also got a book tour of the US coming up. It’s easy, when doing a book tour ,to feel like I’m just going from airport, to hotel, to bookshop—this time I want to actually visit the places I’m going to.