Book Nerd Interview
I was born and raised in South Carolina, a proud child of the 80's. Also, my dad is Puerto Rican, and my mom is super white. I have neither a Hispanic or Southern accent. No clue why. Growing up, I was awkward. I didn't understand fashion at all (not that I do now) and was never into what was cool while it was actually popular. But I didn't mind it so much because I had a few really great friends and wonderful outlets. By high school, I was a seasoned dancer, diehard theater buff, and in a chamber choir that at one point was tied for third in the nation competitively.
My great ambition when I graduated high school was theatre. I wanted to be a performer in the WORST WAY! I took a semester off, did a bunch of local shows, taught at a theater camp, and went to Coastal Carolina University in the spring majoring in Musical Theatre.
Why YA? What are some of the challenges of writing for this age group?
I write YA because I’m young at heart. Part of me still feels seventeen. I’m loyal, a bit obsessive, and everything feels epic to me most of the time. I don’t know, that just feels real to me. And if there are any challenges for writing YA, I haven’t hit them yet! So far, it’s been a blast.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Kiera. I’m a wife and mommy. I like cake and wrecked a car when I was three.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC, but I went to college at Radford University in VA. My hubby went to Virginia Tech, and he had me imported to Blacksburg right out of school.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh gosh, I don’t know. But I have to give a huge thanks to Melissa Marr for her support. It’s incredible to me when the people you fangirl over think your book is good!
You read a lot of YA fiction. Please name a few of your favorite books and tell us why they inspire you.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a favorite of mine. I would love to write something that lovely and sad.
Congratulations! What were your feelings when your first found out about Selection being picked up by the WB network.
It was overwhelming at the time, and it still is. The publishing world is so slow, so once everything was rolling with the pilot, it just blew me away with how quick it was. I’m so hoping that it goes to air, just so we can all see the hard work the writers, director, and actors put in.
The story of Selection takes thirty-five girls and is given a chance of a lifetime to compete for Prince Maxon. What gave you the idea?
Esther and Cinderella. I just wondered if Esther ever cared about someone before she was shipped off to the palace, especially since she was never coming back, even if she lost. And Cinderella never asked for a prince, she asked for a night off. Was she happy with her prince? I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl who came from a humble background and would get the attention of a prince, but she would already be in love and not want him.
Did you learn anything from writing America Singer and what was it?
I learned a lot about listening to my characters. I self-published a book before The Selection called The Siren. The heroine of that story, Kahlen, was eager to tell me everything, and it made writing so easy! So when I sat down to write America’s story, I just assumed everything coming to the page was fine with her. Not so much. I ended up rewriting most of the story because I’d gotten America wrong. Now I take my time with her, because she’s a little shy.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The Selection is the first in a trilogy, and I’m working away on the next two books now. I do have a project in mind for once America is done sharing everything, but I can’t really talk about it yet.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Connecting with readers. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’ve made something that makes other people happy or have inspired others to start writing themselves. I love that!
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I’m a terrible liar. I avoid it at all costs.
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
It’s so lame, but my wallet, keys, phone, and lip balm.
Where can readers stalk you?
Always new stuff on one of those places!
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
The Selection by Kiera Cass is an engrossing fairytale story with a reality TV feel to it. Reality TV always has a solid grip on television viewers and this book carried similar affects to book readers. It is the story of thirty-five girls who compete against each other for the grand prize to escape their less than ordinary life into a world of glitz, glamour, fame, and live in the Palace. And let’s not forget they are also competing for the heart of the handsome Prince Maxon. However, for America Singer, The Selection means she would be hurting her secret love, Aspen, who is a class below her. She’s in a vicious contest for a crown she doesn’t even want. When she meets Prince Maxon, she slowly begins to question and doubt what she has always thought her life would be and the could-be-future ahead of her may be better.
Kiera’s character development is truly amazing. The characters, especially America, are simply marvelous. The name America may come off as uncertain but it suited the character very well. While trying to figure out what she wants, she remains strong and stays true to herself. She stood her ground firmly and didn’t budge for what people expected her to be. Prince Maxon is purely adorable. His best qualities are his honesty, caring, being straightforward, and the fact he genuinely loves America for who she is. Aspen is likable from the very beginning. His feelings for America are very real and authentic.
The way Kiera submerges her readers into the story and making them care for the characters is truly wonderful. The character interactions are fully engaging and entertaining. The very interesting love triangle that materializes stays clear of being a cliché. Kiera is an entertaining storyteller of this light-hearted fairytale-like book. The writing style is rich and vivid. When Kiera describes the Palace, it genuinely feels like you are in it. The ending’s cliffhanger is one for the ages and will have readers waiting in vain for the next book in this series.
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