Ally Condie Talks ATLANTIA, MATCHED, and Book Recs

ATLANTIA author Ally Condie recently answered fan questions on Goodreads all about her new book, the MATCHED trilogy that preceded it, how her new characters stand out, and what books have influenced her over the years! Take a look!

mckenna_toggs: What’s it like transitioning into a new book/series? Are there still parts of Matched you miss or want to go back to?

It’s actually been great transitioning into the new book (Atlantia is a stand-alone). It was fun to write a story that began and ended in one book and to know that I could put it all on the page and not have to save anything for future books. I loved creating the underwater world, and I loved getting to know Rio, the main character. I do still miss the Matched series, because I spent a lot of time with those characters, and I loved telling their story. But I feel like they all ended up where they needed to be. That said, I do wonder what really happened to Indie now and then… 😉

Raquel: I would love to know what inspired you to write about sirens. What I loved about the Matched series is how it surprised me. I expected a soft love story but got a gritty survival romance. I wonder if Atlantia will surprise us and change the way we think about mermaids. How are the sirens from Atlantia different from our popular (yet still lovely) Little Mermaid? Are they good or evil?

I hope Atlantia surprises you! 🙂 There aren’t any mermaids in Atlantia, but the story was heavily influenced by The Little Mermaid (the Hans Christian Andersen tale, NOT the Disney version). The original fairy tale is dark and beautiful, and the character longs to be above in a way that is extremely poignant—and the story has a very sad ending! (SPOILER: In the real version the little mermaid DOES NOT get the prince! She dies!) I wanted my character Rio to have that same longing and suffering that the original tale had. And then I think the idea of water automatically led me to the idea of sirens and to their voices and to what would happen if someone had to suppress their voice and who they are (as Rio has to do with her voice). The sirens in the book are good and evil. They are complicated. They are very, very human.

Cityofdauntlessshadowhunters: Can you give us some insight into the personality of Rio and possibly some of the struggles she faces?

Yes! Rio is very different from Cassia. They’re strong in different ways. Rio has had to hold part of herself back her whole life, and I think the interesting thing about her is that she’s taken that and turned it into strength and bravery when other people would let it make them bitter. Rio’s been underestimated and overlooked, and she plays on that a little bit. She’s physically very strong; she’s a welder and a swimmer, and she’s also a dreamer, someone who’s longed for something more all her life. Her struggles come as, bit by bit, everything and everyone she loves is taken away from her—her mother, her sister, her dream—and Atlantia is about her fight to get them back and to claim her own voice.


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