Now, on to the best part of Breathless Reads week—the interview!
For the contest, I’m running things just like last time. All you have to do comment here and you’ll be entered to win a signed, finished copy of Matched. On Sunday, after 8:00pm Eastern, I’ll draw two names—one from the comments on this post, and one from Wednesday’s post—and announce the winners next week. A quick reminder: if you don’t have a livejournal, be sure to include a name and your email address and also (don’t throw stuff at me!) the contest is US-only.
Today I’m interviewing Ally Condie, who is incredibly sweet, and gives thoughtful answers about poetry, writing routines, and . . . Ky.
1) The world in which Matched takes place is beautifully realized and quite chilling. Were there any philosophies or historical events that inspired the terrifyingly homogenous Society that Cassia lives in?
I don’t think the Society in Matched was influenced so much by philosophies or historical events as it was by personal experiences and questions, if that makes sense. The first part of the book that I wrote was the part with the Match Banquet. And then I thought, What kind of a world would have to exist in order for an event like this to take place? and built the world around the event. I did do a bit of research into things like game theory, the prisoner’s dilemma, fertility, etc.
2) Without being too spoilery, Cassia finds insight and inspiration in the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Do you have a favorite poet, and if you do, can you tell us a little bit about their work and why it speaks to you?
I have a lot of favorite poets (a list is in one of the answers below). But one poet who really speaks to me is Leslie Norris. He was writing and teaching at BYU while I was there and he had the most lovely way of speaking his poetry aloud. So musical. It was beautiful to read and beautiful to hear. I also loved teaching his short story Shaving back when I was teaching high school. Apparently I have a thing for Welsh poets. ;)
3) And because this interview would not be complete without my favorite nosy question, who would you say is your favorite character in the Matched universe?
I like Cassia the best, because I think she grows the most. (And that is a great nosy question!)
4) In a semi-related question, I love Ky. Wait, that’s not a question. May I please have Ky? Pretty please?
Yes! You may have Ky. But only if I get to find out what happens to Mackie! ;)
5) The reach of the Society is so great that it’s limited Cassia in many areas of her daily life, particularly when it comes to art and literature. We learn early on that only a hundred poems have been deemed important enough to be preserved. What are some of the hundred poems that don’t get a mention, but still made the cut in your head?
Well, my personal list would be very different from the Society’s list. Poems that would make the cut for me wouldn’t make the cut for the Society because they have really whitewashed and homogenized their culture and eliminated anything that might be seen as subversive. Some of my favorite poets are Rita Dove, Julia Alvarez, Leslie Norris, Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, and, of course…Dylan Thomas.
6) Writers can be a little picky about routine and writing environment. For instance, I don’t like to write without music and something hot to drink and some background noise and something to keep my hands warm and probably some other things I’m not thinking of. Do you have any preferred writing conditions or routines?
Yes, I do. I have a certain hoodie I like to wear (because my office is in the basement and it gets cold). I drink a LOT of water while I’m writing. I have post-its and a pen and a pinboard on hand for note-taking. And if I get stuck in my writing, I try to get outside for a run, even if the weather is bad. It almost always takes care of the problem.
Thanks for stopping by, Ally!
Thank you, Brenna! These were great questions. And I am anxiously awaiting your next book.