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Sneak Peek at Anniversary-Exclusive Interview with Suzanne Collins

Author Suzanne Collins

With the 10th anniversary editions of The Hunger Games soon to be released, the New York Times has released an excerpt of some of the exclusive Q&A that will be included with the new set. She talks about how when the three main characters were conceived and why.


DL: Another key piece of The Hunger Games is the voice and perspective that Katniss brings to it. Some novelists start with a character and then find a story through that character, but with The Hunger Games I believe you had the idea for the story first, and then Katniss stepped into it. Where did she come from?


SC: Katniss appeared almost immediately after I had the idea, standing by the bed with that bow and arrow. I’d spent a lot of time during The Underland Chronicles weighing the attributes of different weapons. I used archers very sparingly because they required light and the Underland has little natural illumination. But a bow and arrow can be handmade, shot from a distance, and weaponized when the story transitions into warfare. She was a born archer. Her name came later, while I was researching survival training and specifically edible plants. In one of my books, I found the arrowhead plant, and the more I read about it, the more it seemed to reflect her. Its Latin name has the same roots as Sagittarius, the archer. The edible tuber roots she could gather, the arrowhead-shaped leaves were her defense, and the little white blossoms kept it in the tradition of flower names, like Rue and Primrose. I looked at the list of alternative names for it. Swamp Potato. Duck Potato. Katniss easily won the day. As to her voice, I hadn’t intended to write in first person. I thought the book would be in the third person like The Underland Chronicles. Then I sat down to work and the first page poured out in first person, like she was saying, “Step aside, this is my story to tell.” So I let her.

David Levithan with Suzanne Collins

Read the full Q&A excerpt here.

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About Crystal

A 35 year-old mom to two living in Honolulu, Hawaii, Crystal Watanabe is co-author of Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches.
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