Back in April, Jen from I Read banned Books got to meet Suzanne Collins at the Texas Library Association conference. The spring was CRAZY busy for me and I forgot to post her guest blog, so I thought I’d share it today since well, Mockingjay comes out tomorrow and we all want a bit of Suzanne Collins to tides us over. Jen has a full account including more Q & A over on her blog!
I was lucky enough to secure a front row seat for Suzanne’s author panel. In order to achieve this feat, I arrived over an hour early to the ballroom. Not surprisingly, I was not the first to arrive and claim a seat (or 5). Although the room was huge, every seat was filled within the hour. Suzanne took the stage quietly, setting her notes on the podium. A swarm of people (librarians, moms, children of all ages – both male and female) came to the stage for a quick picture. Suzanne was kind enough to grab a copy of the hunger games and pose on bended knee. The flashes were reminiscent of a red carpet event in Hollywood. She posed for roughly ten minutes; pointing to her gold mockingjay necklace and asking quick questions. One lady asked, “Do you feel like a rock star?” Suzanne answered, “yes!”. She stayed in position until a representative asked that we take a seat so Suzanne could begin her presentation. We all followed suit and took our seats.
Suzanne was a military brat. Her father was in the United States Air Force serving in Vietnam. At the age of twelve she realized that she thought of war more than the average teenage girl. For her 12th birthday, her family took her to the site of Napoleon’s defeat. She explains that it wasn’t the “true” site of his defeat, but chosen because of the massive hill. Today, a statue of a lion stands at the top of the hill. This hill is comprised entirely of soldier’s helmets and the surrounding soil. Suzanne goes on to share stories of her and her father’s talks of war. In 2003, just before our country entered war yet again, her father died. The first OVERLANDER book was published in the same year.
Suzanne ended her discussion by reading the last few pages of CATCHING FIRE. The entire room was on the edge of her seat and perfectly silent. Most (not all believe it or not) knew how the story would end – in a “shameless cliffhanger”, but hearing Gale say, “There is no District 12” from Suzanne was (for me) a dream come true.
Preface by saying there was no moderator on the floor during this time. Almost all questions were asked by young adults.
Where did you come up with the names for the characters in THE HUNGER GAMES series?
Wanted to pick traditional Roman names and add a little more to “jazz it up”. Rue is an acient flower that fit her agricultural district. Thresh was taken from the word threshing – a process before a harvest.
Where did you come up with the Mockingjay?
My dad used to whistle and birds would answer him back. I needed something the Capital forgot about and wasn’t paying attention to. (like Katniss)
Do you get recognized?
No, my children get recognized before me. People don’t come up to me and a café and say anything. “And I’m ok with that!”
Have you considered writing a prequel to THE HUNGER GAMES?
“I haven’t ruled it out”, but I am busy with editing for Mockingjay. There are definitely no plans right now.