Kiera Cass, author of The Selection trilogy, will be attending WonderCon this year (Sunday, April 20, at 12:30 in Room 213), and while we’re looking forward to seeing her there, The Toucan got an exclusive interview with her. Here are some of the highlights of that interview:
Toucan: How did The Selection come about? What were your inspirations for it?
Kiera Cass: It came from wondering about the “what ifs” in two different stories: Esther and Cinderella. I was always curious if, before she was shipped off to the palace, Esther maybe liked the boy next door. What if she had to let a part of her heart die? And Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress. We assume she was happy because she got her man, but what if she wasn’t? What if she didn’t want to be a princess? It’s a tough job!
Those two ideas married in my head, and I knew I wanted to write about a girl who came from a humble background and would get the attention of a prince, but she wouldn’t want it because she was already in love. And I knew she would go through something that would show her more of the world than she ever thought she’d see, and that thing became The Selection.
Toucan: The Selection has been compared to The Hunger Games and The Bachelor; is that a fair comparison or do you feel that the media just likes to put labels on things?
Kiera: I get the relation. It’s a dystopia and there’s a lottery. Beyond that, I don’t think there’s much else there. And I think we can all agree Suzanne [Collins]’ work is superior! She asks very hard questions with her books, and mine are much lighter.
It’s one of those comparisons that work, though. When you throw those two things together, you get a pretty clear picture and that helps an unsure reader make a quick choice about if it’s the right story for them or not.
Toucan: The Elite is darker than The Selection. How did your fans respond? Did you like the darkening tone?
Kiera: It is darker, and I think, in many places, it gets even darker in The One. Overall, it seemed like people enjoyed it. I think if it had gone too far it would have been offputting for the hardcore fans, but it didn’t. Not to me anyway. But I felt comfortable with everything because it felt real. None of it was forced, and I think that’s what matters.
Toucan: It seems Aspen needs a little love from your fans. Why is that, and why does he have a “sacred place” in your heart?
Kiera: People ask often if any of my characters are based off of real people, and in some ways they are. Both Aspen and Maxon hold parts of my husband Callaway. The way Aspen is passionate comes from him. The way Maxon is kind of dorky comes from him.
Both of these boys have characteristics of the love of my life, so they’re both very special to me. It’s one of the reasons it stings so much when people ask for Aspen to die! He matters to me!
Toucan: You also posted a floor plan of America’s house. Did you draw that? Was that something you drew early on in writing the books?
Kiera: Yes, I drew it. It was one of the first things I made. Mostly because as I was writing the first few chapters, which take place in America’s home, it was kind of sloppy and confusing. So I made it to understand. I do lots of little things like that, especially sometimes when I get stalled, because it helps me get back into the story. I love all the details.
Toucan: Tell us about your e-novellas. How did they come about and are there any more in the future?
Kiera: The novellas were born from extra material I had from working on The Selection. My editor asked me why Maxon acted a certain way in one place or why Aspen said something in another. So I decided to hop in their heads and try to understand them.
When the books started doing well and people started asking questions about the boys, we thought it might be fun to extend the pieces I’d made and share them. It’s been a fun addition to the series. And if my publishers ever asked for more novellas, there are a few things I’d be happy to work on!
Toucan: What can you tell us about The One? Can you reveal anything?
Kiera: I WANT to tell you everything! I’m so tired of keeping the secrets! But I have to be careful, so for now I can say that there are some teasers for the final book up on my site under the FAQ section, and one question I get a lot is if there will be an epilogue, and I can tell you, yes, there is.
Toucan: We know you love cake. What is your favorite type of cake? Do fans send you cakes? Any interesting cake decorations?
Kiera: Ohhhh! I love a good vanilla with buttercream. Also, red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Chocolate on chocolate is good… And there’s a store in town that does a cinnamon roll cupcake that’s just the best!
One of the funny things is since everyone knows I love cake, almost every event I do has some waiting for me! Or will have cupcakes to take home. I think it’s so sweet that they pay so much attention. I’ve seen a few do the cover art, and those are always really impressive!
The One comes out May 6, 2014.
Read the whole article at Comic-Con International: San Diego.