BookTrust meets Veronica Roth

Published on: 08 November 2013 Author: Rosi Crawley

Veronica RothBooktrust's Press Coordinator Rosi Crawley writes about the chance to meet one of her favourite young adult writers - bestselling US author Veronica Roth.

This week I was lucky enough to attend an event with one of my absolute favourite YA authors – Veronica Roth. It's not often she's over in the UK from her native Chicago so I couldn't wait to take the rare chance to see her!

Published when Roth was just 22 years old and fresh out of college, Divergent was a huge hit, spending 11 weeks on the New York Times Children's Bestseller list and winning the Goodreads 2011 Choice Award for Favourite Book. Divergent and the second book in the trilogy Insurgent have together now sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and the film adaptation is set for release in April in the UK, starring Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley and Theo James. Many have compared it to The Hunger Games and its dystopian setting and high action appeal certainly place it in the same ball park. 

So I sent myself down to the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square for the event, clutching the just released conclusion to the trilogy, Allegiant. At 526 pages in hardback, that's not an easy item to read one handed on the tube, so I'm definitely building Dauntless-style muscles just from turning the pages... Luckily as I haven't yet finished it, there was a 'spoiler ban' from Veronica at the beginning!

Veronica opened with a reading of a scene from an unpublished version of the story from the male lead Tobias's perspective. Questions followed from the crowd, a selection of which are below (approximate quoting!):

Q: 'What faction would you be?'
A: 'I would want to be Dauntless, but I would probably die very quickly so I think I would end up factionless...'

Q: 'If you had a Dauntless tattoo what would it be of?'
A: 'It's meant to relate to overcoming a fear, so if there was an image that represented public speaking – that one'

Q: 'Were you involved much in the film production and do you like it?'
A: 'I haven't seen it all the way through yet, no-one has, but I think all the actors that were cast really embody the characters in their own ways and do a great job. On any given day of filming the set was usually about ten minutes' from my home in Chicago so I got to visit about once a week during filming and the detail put in by the production teams was incredible. It was so strange to see the city I live in turned into this deliberately distressed place covered in gravel'

Q: 'Is there anything you would change in the books?'
A: 'Kate Winslet's Jeanine is better than mine! I wish I'd given her some extra nuances, I made her pretty cold and villainous.'

Then came the big surprise! Veronica ended the question session and said she had a special guest to welcome to the stage – Shailene Woodley, the actress playing the lead Tris in the film adaptation! The crowd went wild, as despite the film not coming to screens until April, many have seen the trailer and also know that Shailene has been cast in another forthcoming teenage fiction film adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars. They played everyone the trailer (which you can watch here) and then Veronica asked Shailene a few questions about her preparation for the role. Apparently for Shailene this included some vigorous survival training!

The event came to its end with its long signing queue. As a confirmed Veronica Roth fan, I went home very happy with my signed hardback – 'Be mended' adorning the title page - and now I can't wait to see the film when it comes out next year!


Author: Veronica Roth

Often violent and disturbing, the novel is concerned with becoming an individual, facing your fears and finding your place in the world - and there's a teenage romance too.

Read more about Divergent

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