The Hob Exclusive Part 2: Suzanne Collins Signing and Q&A

suzannejen_philadelphia-1

As a follow up to our exclusive post yesterday about Suzanne Collins’ comments on The Hunger Games movie, Jen, a member of The Hob Admin, has compiled her full report of the audience Q&A with Suzanne during her visit to Harleysville Books in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Not only did Suzanne read from both Catching Fire and Mockingjay, but she also talked about her thoughts on casting for the movie and potential for sequels, whether or not she was interested in writing a novella about The Hunger Games, if The Hunger Games was always meant to be a series, and lots more!

In addition to all of these goodies, Jen snagged an official stamped copy of Mockingjay that we’ll be giving away to one lucky reader, so keep an eye on our blog for the contest to start!

Book Reading
First, Suzanne read from Catching Fire, Chapter 11, pg 251-252 – Katniss’ interview with Caesar. (This is where she says she’s sorry that the public won’t be able to watch her wedding. Then she twirls around, and her wedding dress turns from white lace into the mockingjay.) Her reading was beautiful! Suzanne read Katniss as she “hears her in her head” with a “futuristic Appalachian accent.” Very much a slight southern drawl. Next she read the 1st chapter of Mockingjay. Again, just beautiful!

Q&A (Jen may be an awesome note taker, but these questions and answers are not word-for-word quotes, unless marked with quotation marks, so please remember that they are all summarized)

Q: What was your inspiration to create Panem?
A: Ancient Rome
• All of the names of people from the capital are Roman – Caesar, Plutarch, Cinna
• They ride in on chariots
• Panem comes from the Latin for “bread and circuses”
• The Hunger Games are a gladiator style games

Q: Where in the US are the districts?
A: Suzanne provided a few geographic details about some of the districts.
• Districts 1 and 2 – “Rockies”
• Districts 12 and 13 – She wouldn’t really answer, other than that she already gave us clues with the “Appalachian accent.” You can walk to District 13 in a week from District 12.
• District 11 (Rue and Thresh) – “Deep South”
• District 4 (Finnick, Annie and Mags) – “Pacific”
• District 10 – “West”

Q: What is the status of the movie?
A: See our previous post on Suzanne’s comments on the potential director and status of the film.

Q: Who do you want cast in the film?
A: Suzanne wouldn’t provide an answer. She said she wouldn’t want to pick someone and then have that person not be cast, resulting in the person who is cast for the role ending up feeling like they were 2nd best. She also noted that a lot of the characters are really young, and that they may be new actors that we’ve never really seen.

Q: Do you see there being movie sequels to The Hunger Games?
A: She felt that was more based on financials. In theory, since there are three books, maybe there would be three movies. But that it’s up to the movie makers to decide whether it’s a financially sound decision once they see how the first movie does.

Q: What are your thoughts on a novella, or a short story about one of the characters? (This fantastic question came from Jen!)
A: She felt like whatever she wanted to tell us has already made it into the books, and that their stories have already been told. She’s done with those thoughts and has moved onto other stories that she’s thinking about.

Q: Who is your favorite character that you’ve written (from any of her books)? (Another great question from Jen)
A: Ripred the Rat from Gregor the Overlander. She said that he’s the “head rat,” he’s “cool.”

Q: How are you handling the “fame”?
A: It’s very surreal to her still. She feels good that it’s been a slow process. Gregor gained readership slowly, as did The Hunger Games. She’s glad that it was that way because being in the limelight really isn’t her forte. When she was “just a writer” for TV, no one ever wanted to talk to her. She was just stuffed in an office with a bunch of staff and told to “write more.” She feels “funny” when she sees someone with one her books, kind of “embarrassed.”

Q: Did you write The Hunger Games as a series?
A: Yes – she proposed and wrote it as a Trilogy, always knowing where she wanted to go with the story. That is how she prefers to write. The first Gregor book was an “experiment.” It was a deviation from screenwriting and TV writing. She did not write that as a series, but it turned into a series of five books.

Q: What was your inspiration for The Hunger Games?
A: She was lying in bed channel surfing between reality TV and coverage of the Iraq War. Those two things kind of fused together. Sort of a combination of young people being killed and the nation watching it on TV. She’s also influenced heavily by Greek Mythology. The story of Theseus and the Minotaur is a favorite story.

Q: What happens to Gale after the end of the book?
A: She would not answer (darn!). She feels she told us everything that she needed to tell us in the book, and it’s up to our imagination to figure out what happened to him.

Book Stamping/Individual Discussion
After the audience Q&A, Suzanne did a book stamping (she is not signing books on this tour due to an existing hand strain) and took individual photos with those in attendance.

After the book stamping, Suzanne talked to a group of three teenage girls who told her they were in a creative writing class. She encouraged them to continue to write, read, and review books. Then it was Jen’s turn to chat with Suzanne (and try not to gush like a fangirl!). Jen asked Suzanne one last question: What did she think of the book-to-movie adaptation of The Lovely Bones?

A: Unfortunately, she has seen the movie (she loved Stanley Tucci in it), but hadn’t read the book, so couldn’t make a comparison of the two. Suzanne said she has it on her reading list and that she’ll have to move it up on the list!

Remember to follow our blog to find out about our giveaway for an official stamped copy of Mockingjay!