Divergent trilogy author Veronica Roth gives us some insight into the world of her new book, CARVE THE MARK.
It’s been a few years since Veronica Roth had released a new book that we were so excited to hear about Carve the Mark, a new sci-fi series that she had been working on. We were more excited to get a chance to talk with her about the book and the world she has created, along with the two main characters (Cyra and Akos) and her writing process.
Of course, our first question was what it felt like for her to start off with a new world, especially after being so involved with the Divergent world, including the movies.
“When crafting the world of Carve the Mark, I got to be completely free. Everything was my sandbox, that I just got be completely free with what I wanted it to be.”
She did still have challenges, at least in having it make sense within that world, but it was the good kind of challenge.
When asked about the inspiration to her unique character names, she couldn’t help but laugh about it, because she did admit to feeling a little bad for making it difficult for readers to pronounce.
“I decided that I wanted to created a new kind of language. And language, of course, influences characters names, so originally when I wrote the rough draft, I put all the names in Hungarian.”
Roth went to explain how she had lived in Romania with her husband, and although she didn’t necessarily use the Hungarian language, but it was certainly an influence as she used some of the sounds of the language, as well as a constructed language generator, something she found online, to create her own words.
When describing the generalization of the Shotet and the Thuvhe people, Veronica didn’t want to simplify it into one being more aggressive and the other being more peaceful.
“It gets more complicated as it goes.”
As far as culture, she does admit that the Shotet culture was influenced in part by Romania.
“They are still recovering from a terrible period in their history under [Romanian communist president] Ceaușescu, so they’ve had to be really resourceful with limited resources. And that’s something I wanted to reflect in Shotet culture.”
Her husband’s affectation towards objects was also included into the Shotet culture, but she did also want to make sure of at least one thing about the people in her book:
“One thing that was important to me was making sure that these cultures had a wide range of people appearance-wise. It’s important because I think you can get into some really harmful stereotypes when you’re creating cultural groups in sci-fi and fantasy.”
In the novel, some people possess what’s called a “currentgift,” which is basically a special power that one can have. When asked about what she wants readers to know about it, she stated her love for powers as being a favorite trope of her.
“Each currentgift has a corresponding curse.”
She goes on to explain one of the main character’s currentgift, which is not really one that could really be considered any kind of gift:
“[Cyra] suffers from pain from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. She can also inflict it on other people. That’s kind of dubiously a power. That’s not a good thing, but it is powerful. I wanted to make sure that tension kept existing in each character, no matter what their currentgift was.”
In regards to the writing style this time around as compared to Divergent, she had written the book from two different perspectives, however, only one of the perspectives, Cyra, is written in first-person narrative. When asked why she did it that way, her challenge was in writing from Akos’ perspective, to which her editor suggested writing in third-person.
“It turned out it worked really well. I think part of that is because Akos is incredibly guarded and wary, and he’s often described that way. And his currentgift is kind of to push other people out, like other people’s gifts out. And I think there’s something about him that doesn’t want to let you in all the way, so third-person narration kind of lets that happen.”
Those who pre-ordered Carve the Mark and sent in proof of the pre-order will be getting a physical copy of an epilogue for the Divergent trilogy, which Veronica admitted to writing after fans kept asking about Four’s state of mind after the Allegiant. She did write up an epilogue, basically for herself, but when her publisher ask if there was something they could give the fans for pre-ordering,
“Weeell, I have this thing, if you want to read it.”
You can watch the whole Veronica Roth interview below: