Veronica Roth Attends The LA Times Festival Of Books

Divergent author Veronica Roth attended the LA Times Festival Of Books!


In between some rants and caveman talk, “Divergent” trilogy author Veronica Roth explained Sunday how she came up with the female protagonist of her dystopian coming-of-age novel.

Roth, 25, spoke at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with Leigh Bardugo, whose books include “Shadow and Bone” and “Siege and Storm.” Bardugo set the stage by explaining why young adult novels such as “Divergent” are such hits.

“That feeling never goes away of finding somewhere to belong,” she said.

Borrowing from the five groups of people in Roth’s books, here’s a look at what Roth shared about her process, characters and message to young adult readers.

Amity (the peaceful): Four, the male partner-in-crime for Tris, was purposely well-balanced with the heroine.

“I didn’t want one person’s strength to require the sacrifice of the other,” Roth said. “I think there can be two strong people but they have to be complicated people. I think it’s important to show he’s a human being, not just man candy.”

In that same vein, Four isn’t a typical male. He respects Tris, respects women, Roth said, toning herself in a caveman voice. “That’s appealing,” she said.

At the core of her series, Roth said, is a reversal of the typical character arcs of males and females. Traditionally, female characters keep things, such as family, together. Male characters go through a journey of becoming a fully formed adult. Instead, in “Divergent,” Tris is becoming her “fully realized self.”

“To really embrace who she is, find her strength and see what she really believes in,” Roth continued. “Tris’ voice is hard, direct straightforward and repetitive — like a man’s.”

Four, the male, speaks “poetic stream of consciousness, and he doesn’t hold things back,” Roth said. “It was like a playground for my mind.”

Dauntless (the brave): Roth considers herself fairly tall, but she wanted Tris to be the opposite. Getting that to work in the book required the help of editors. “I kept having to edit over parts where she probably couldn’t see over crowds,” she said. “I never have to really deal with that.”

In the recently released movie version of the first book, the contrast between actress Shailene Woodley and the actors made Woodley look appropriately small, Roth said.

“I was surprised to meet the male cast, because all the male actors were so huge,” she said. “They made the cast taller around Shailene, and that was important because her physicality is so important to her growth.”


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