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Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)by Suzanne Collins
Author Q & A
Q: You have said from the start that the Hunger Games story was intended as a trilogy. Did it actually end the way you planned it from the beginning?
A: Very much so. While I didn't know every detail, of course, the arc of the story from gladiator game, to revolution, to war, to the eventual outcome remained constant throughout the writing process.
Q: We understand you worked on the initial screenplay for a film to be based on The Hunger Games. What is the biggest difference between writing a novel and writing a screenplay?
Q: Are you able to consider future projects while working on The Hunger Games, or are you immersed in the world you are currently creating so fully that it is too difficult to think about new ideas?
Q: The Hunger Games is an annual televised event in which one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts is forced to participate in a fight-to-the-death on live TV. What do you think the appeal of reality television is — to both kids and adults?
Then there's the voyeuristic thrill — watching people being humiliated, or brought to tears, or suffering physically — which I find very disturbing. There's also the potential for desensitizing the audience, so that when they see real tragedy playing out on, say, the news, it doesn't have the impact it should.
Q: If you were forced to compete in the Hunger Games, what do you think your special skill would be?
Q: You weave action, adventure, mythology, sci-fi, romance, and philosophy throughout The Hunger Games. What influenced the creation of The Hunger Games?
Even as a kid, I could appreciate how ruthless this was. Crete was sending a very clear message: "Mess with us and we'll do something worse than kill you. We'll kill your children." And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.
In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression "Panem et Circenses" which translates into "Bread and Circuses."
The audiences for both the Roman games and reality TV are almost characters in themselves. They can respond with great enthusiasm or play a role in your elimination.
I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss's story came to me. One night I'm sitting there flipping around and on one channel there's a group of young people competing for, I don't know, money maybe? And on the next, there's a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.
Q: The trilogy's premise is very brutal, yet is handled so tastefully. Was this a difficult balance to achieve?
Given that, you have to remember who you're trying to reach with the book. I try and think of how I would tell a particularly difficult event to my own children. Exactly what details they need to know to really understand it, and what would be gratuitous.
Q: The Hunger Games tackles issues like severe poverty, starvation, oppression, and the effects of war among others. What drew you to such serious subject matter?
Q: What do you hope readers will come away with when they read The Hunger Games?
Q: In The Hunger Games, Katniss and Gale have an extensive knowledge of hunting, foraging, wildlife, and survival techniques. What kinds of research did you do, if any?
I also read a big stack of wilderness survival guidebooks. And here's what I learned: you've got to be really good to survive out there for more than a few days.
Q: How long would it take for North America to deteriorate into the world depicted in the books?
Q: You have written for television for young children and for middle-grade readers (the New York Times bestselling series The Underland Chronicles). Why did you decide to write for an older audience and how was the experience different?
I find there isn't a great deal of difference technically in how you approach a story, no matter what age it's for. I started out as a playwright for adult audiences. When television work came along, it was primarily for children. But whatever age you're writing for, the same rules of plot, character, and theme apply. You just set up a world and try to remain true to it. If it's filled with cuddly animated animals, chances are no one's going to die. If it's filled with giant flesh-and-blood rats with a grudge, there's going to be violence.
Q: What was it like to return to the world of the Hunger Games to write Catching Fire and then Mockingjay?
Q: Do you have every book completely mapped out, or do you have a general idea and then take it from there? Did you run into things that were unexpected plot-wise or character-wise?
Q: How do you typically spend your workday? Do you have a routine as you write?
Q: You are probably getting a lot of fan mail! What is the most surprising feedback you've received for The Hunger Games? (Or, what has surprised you the most about the feedback you're getting for The Hunger Games?)
Q: What were some of your favorite novels when you were a teen?
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