"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
A Hunger Games discussion blog

About the Author


“”Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!” – Effie Trinket.

 

Suzanne Collins, author of “The Hunger Games” and “The Underland Chronicles”, began writing for children’s television. She has written three books for her series “The Hunger Games” including “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay.” Each book recieved excellent recognition including #1 New York Times Bestseller. Reviews for “The Hunger Games” include:

“…brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced…a futuristic novel every bit as good and as allegorically rich as Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Uglies’ books.”

 –The New York Times, John Green

 

“Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting.”

–Kirkus

“Populated by three dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.”

–Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
        
“I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn’t have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it…The Hunger Games is amazing.”
        
–Stephenie Meyer, www.stepheniemeyer.com
 
 
“[The Hunger Games] is a violent, jarring, speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense…I couldn’t stop reading.”
–Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly Review
 
Interview with Suzanne Collins:
 (We actually got this interview from another blog:http://myfavoriteauthor.blogspot.com/2009/01/conversation-with-suzanne-collins.html, so we would like to thank them)
 
Q: You weave action, adventure, mythology, sci-fi, romance, and philosophy throughout THE HUNGER GAMES. What influenced the creation of THE HUNGER GAMES?
 
 A: A significant influence would have to be the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur. 

Even as a kid, I could appreciate how ruthless this was. Crete was sending a very clear message: “Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.” And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.

In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression “Panem et Circenses” which translates into “Bread and Circuses.”

The audiences for both the Roman games and reality TV are almost characters in themselves. They can respond with great enthusiasm or play a role in your elimination.

I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next,there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.

Q: THE HUNGER GAMES is an annual televised event in which one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts is forced to participate in a fight-to-the-death on live TV. What do you think the appeal of reality television is—to both kids and adults?

A: Well, they’re often set up as games and, like sporting events, there’s an interest in seeing who wins. The contestants are usually unknown, which makes them relatable. Sometimes they have very talented people performing.

Then there’s the voyeuristic thrill—watching people being humiliated, or brought to tears, or suffering physically—which I find very disturbing. There’s also the potential for desensitizing the audience, so that when they see real tragedy playing out on, say, the news, it doesn’t have the impact it should.

Q: The book’s premise is very brutal, yet is handled so tastefully. Was this a difficult balance to achieve?

A: Yes, the death scenes are always hard to write. It’s difficult to put kids in violent situations—Gregor is in a war, Katniss is in a gladiator game. Characters will die. It’s not fun to write, but I think if you can’t commit to really doing the idea, it’s probably better to work on another type of story.

Given that, you have to remember who you’re trying to reach with the book. I try and think of how I would tell a particularly difficult event to my own children. Exactly what details they need to know to really understand it, and what would be gratuitous.

Q: THE HUNGER GAMES tackles issues like severe poverty, starvation, oppression, and the effects of war among others. What drew you to such serious subject matter?

A: That was probably my dad’s influence. He was career Air Force, a military specialist, a historian, and a doctor of political science. When I was a kid, he was gone for a year in Vietnam. It was very important to him that we understood about certain aspects of life. So, it wasn’t enough to visit a battlefield, we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences. Fortunately, he had a gift for presenting history as a fascinating story. He also seemed to have a good sense of exactly how much a child could handle, which is quite a bit.

Q: Was THE HUNGER GAMES always planned as a trilogy?

A: Not necessarily. But once I’d thought through to the end of the first book, I realized that there was no way that the story was concluded. Katniss does something that would never go unpunished in her world. There would definitely be repercussions. And so the question of whether or not to continue with a series was answered for me.

Q: How do you typically spend your workday? Do you have a routine as you write?

A: I grab some cereal and sit down to work as soon as possible. The more distractions I have to deal with before I actually begin writing, the harder focusing on the story becomes. Then I work until I’m tapped out, usually sometime in the early afternoon. If I actually write three to five hours, that’s a productive day. Some days all I do is stare at the wall. That can be productive, too, if you’re working out character and plot problems. The rest of the time, I walk around with the story slipping in and out of my thoughts.

Q: What do you hope readers will come away with when they read this book?

A: Questions about how elements of the book might be relevant in their own lives. And, if they’re disturbing, what they might do about them.

No Responses to “About the Author”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: