The folks over at Lionsgate were gracious enough to invite TheFandom.net, along with other fansites, such as Divergent Fans, That’s Normal, Fangirlish, Hypable, Page to Premiere, Young Adult Hollywood, and I Am Divergent, to their offices in L.A. to participate in a roundtable interview with author Veronica Roth. We got to ask Veronica about anything and everything to do with Divergent, and as you might guess, most of the questions involved were either about the Divergent movie, or the third book in the trilogy, titled Allegiant, like if she had a problem with the ages of the actors playing her young characters (no), or if the end of book three will really be the end (yes), and what scenes she’s excited to see in the movie (the answer of which you’ll have to read about below).
On the books
Was Allegiant always the title, or did you go through a few different ideas?
Veronica Roth (VR): I did not go through a few different ideas. It was always going to be the title.
Were you laughing when these ideas (book titles) kept coming up?
VR: I wasn’t laughing, because in the very early stages, I certainly thought of those words. I remember looking up a list of the 36 words in the English language that rhymed with Divergent. I really don’t know what to do here, because Assurgent was never going to be the word. I wasn’t laughing, but I was laughing when they put Detergent. I was like, yes! It’s permeated the public conscience!
What kind of tidbits can you share from Allegiant?
VR: What can I share? Is there anything I can share? I can’t say very much. I think the things that you expect to learn more about, you do. (acting coy, then laughs) But you will find out who this Edith Prior person is and how they’re (her and Tris) are related.
So, questions will be answered (regarding the third book)?
VR: Yes! I try very hard to answer all the questions I thought that readers are likely to have, because those are the questions that I set up and those are the ones that I had when I started writing.
What does the word “allegiant” mean to you?
VR: To me, it means one who is loyal or faithful to a particular cause or person.
The second book really opened up a whole new world. It could go so many different directions, and I was thinking that it seems like it could be really difficult to close it all off in one more book. Would you ever continue after the third, or is that the end?
VR: I definitely mapped it out to be three books, and I think the ending is definitely an end.
Will you ever write from Four’s point-of-view again, or any of the other characters’ point-of-view?
VR: I wouldn’t rule it out as far as sort of like side material, like Free Four. What I discovered when I wrote Free Four was that it’s intensely difficult to re-write a scene from another character’s perspective because you have to keep composing the original scene to make sure that it lines up. Then you have to keep the whole frame of the story in mind. It was so hard that I thought I don’t know if I could ever do this as a full-length “thing.” It was fun, but it was definitely a challenge. (open to it, yes) Open (to the idea), but I chose Tris’ narrative for a reason.
After we read Insurgent, it really turned the whole story on its head. Can we expect that level of shock in Allegiant? Or will it just become like answering questions?
VR: I can’t really like anticipate how you’re going to react to it. I think certainly some things will be shocking and some things will be like, “Ahhh!”
When you sat down to write Divergent, did you have people in mind when you were writing the characters?
VR: Not really. I’m not one of those people who make fancasts mostly because I don’t really know actors that well. Also, I think the images I have of characters and of the settings of the book is slightly more vague, sort of like squinting at something from afar, and I think that has helped me be more open-minded about watching the filming happen. It’s been more magical than disappointing, because it’s like seeing someone flesh-out the details of this thing that I imagined.
On your blog, you said that what you want to write about has changed. If you could “dreamwrite” whatever you want, what’s your dreamwriting, then?
VR: I think when I said that, I was writing the same world, the same kind of story. But I think [Allegiant] is different in some of the things it tackles. I mean Divergent and Insurgent are like heavy action, kind of pretty violent books. And the third book has action, but a lot of my interest has kind of moved toward the societal struggles that are happening, and the wrestling that Tris is doing inside her head. That was more of what I was referring to. I love action, and I’m an action girl, but I think it’s a little more balanced now.
If you were going to place yourself in the Divergent story, which character do you think you would see yourself as?
What a question! I don’t know. Probably one of the side people (laughs). Like Susan.
So, are you Divergent? What faction do you see yourself a part in?
Well, that’s an interesting question. I used to think that I would choose Dauntless. I think that’s just a desire like a lot of people have. “Oh yes, I want to be a badass!” I’m not! I think I would actually choose Abnegation. I’m a Hufflepuff [so it makes sense].
On being an author
Why do you think the dystopian future drama is so compelling right now?
I’ve thought about that a lot. I think it’s interesting because it sort of pulls you in both directions. You’re interested in the forward thrust of the story and the history of the world and how it sort of became that way. So, I think anything that will pull your mind that way will be really interesting. Also, it would just create some really dynamic backdrop for the very human struggles and stories.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I like revision a lot. My rough drafts are just insane. Like, word vomit mess. Gross. Awful. Terrible. And so, what I really love is kind of getting really good notes, which I’ve gotten, and totally ripping it apart and putting it back together to find the story that I originally wanted to tell. I especially like late-stage revisions where you’re fixing little things and you start to see what it’s going to look like at the finish. It’s really amazing.
This is going to open it up to such a new audience for people who haven’t read the books. What does it feel like to have the last book coming out and closing the story not too far from when all these new people are starting it?
It’s a little weird, because a lot of people are asking me about Divergent, and I’m like, “Oh man, that was so long ago!” Sometimes I don’t remember the details, but it’s incredible, obviously, to see so many people gravitating towards the books. I kind of convinced myself that after the first burst of readership that I got, that that would be it, but it seems to be continuing its roll, and that’s amazing. I’m glad I finished the third book before a lot of this move stuff started, so I could still imagine the characters the way I had without that changing.