Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games
twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive,
she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants
revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss.
And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one
else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not
the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling
final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger
Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books
of the year.
A Q&A with Suzanne Collins, Author of Mockingjay (The Final Book
of The Hunger Games)
Q: You have said from the start that The Hunger Games story was
intended as a trilogy. Did it actually end the way you planned it
from the beginning?
A: Very much so. While I didn't know every detail, of course,
the arc of the story from gladiator game, to revolution, to war,
to the eventual outcome remained constant throughout the writing
Q: We understand you worked on the initial screenplay for a film
to be based on The Hunger Games. What is the biggest difference
between writing a novel and writing a screenplay?
A: There were several significant differences. Time, for
starters. When you're adapting a novel into a two-hour movie you
can't take everything with you. The story has to be condensed to
fit the new form. Then there's the question of how best to take a
book told in the first person and present tense and transform it
into a satisfying dramatic experience. In the novel, you never
leave Katniss for a second and are privy to all of her thoughts
so you need a way to dramatize her inner world and to make it
possible for other characters to exist outside of her company.
Finally, there's the challenge of how to present the violence
while still maintaining a PG-13 rating so that your core audience
can view it. A lot of things are acceptable on a page that
wouldn't be on a screen. But how certain moments are depicted
will ultimately be in the director's hands.
Q: Are you able to consider future projects while working on The
Hunger Games, or are you immersed in the world you are currently
creating so fully that it is too difficult to think about new
A: I have a few seeds of ideas floating around in my head
but--given that much of my focus is still on The Hunger Games--it
will probably be awhile before one fully emerges and I can begin
to develop it.
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: If you were forced to compete in the Hunger Games, what do
you think your special skill would be?
A: Hiding. I'd be scaling those trees like Katniss and Rue.
Since I was trained in sword-fighting, I guess my best hope would
be to get hold of a rapier if there was one available. But the
truth is I'd probably get about a four in Training.
Q: What do you hope readers will come away with when they read
The Hunger Games trilogy?
A: Questions about how elements of the books might be relevant
in their own lives. And, if they're disturbing, what they might
do about them.
Q: What were some of your favorite novels when you were a teen?
A: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Boris by Jaapter Haar
Germinal by Emile Zola
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
(Photo © Cap Pryor)