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Interview with Kiera Cass, author of <em>The Selection</em>
Today Kiera Cass joins us, to talk about her upcoming YA debut, The Selection (which is simply enchanting, if I do say so myself!).
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.
1. OK. Let's get this show on the road. Everyone's wondering: When you started writing The Selection, did the characters or plot come to you first?
The characters come first for me almost all the time. The inspiration behind The Selection was thinking about the what ifs of other stories, mainly Esther and Cinderella. I wondered if Esther happened to like the boy next door before she got shipped off to a palace to become the wife of a king. What if she had to slowly let that love die? And Cinderella never asked for a prince, she asked for a night off. What if that person and that job were way too much for her? For some reason, those two things meshed in my head, and I knew I wanted to write about a girl who was poor and would catch the attention of a prince, but she wouldn’t want him because she was already in love. It took a while to figure out where this would all take place, and that was the main hiccup. I knew the people long before I knew anything else.
2. Love how that "what if" scenario was the spark for your protagonist! So what about your journey to publication? Care to share some details?
Well, lots of people know that The Selection isn’t my first book. In 2009, I self-published a book called The Siren. I spent about 6 months querying it, getting rejected by over 70 or 80 agents and small publishers in the process. But I had fans, so I decided to put it out for them on my own. And I’m really glad I did, it was a great learning experience.
The Selection was the next idea of a couple running through my mind, and it just happened to be the first one that demanded I finish it. The others are still waiting. It was a completely different story this time around. I sent out about 13 queries in under 2 months and had 2 agents interested! Lucky me! I went with Elana Roth at Red Tree Literary, and she got me a fantastic home with Erica Sussman over at HarperTeen.
And now I can tell you that the book might be moving past the page and heading to the small screen as well. The CW is shooting a pilot, and it seems like I hear new news about it every day. Not sure if or when it will actually make it to TV, but it’s an exciting journey all the same.
3. We saw that news about the CW! We're keeping our fingers crossed for you! But first—Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss?
Oh my gosh, I SO want to tell you this. My main character America has a boyfriend named Aspen, and the prince she ends up meeting is Maxon. There is one of them that has a slightly tighter hold on my heart...But I’ll never tell!
4. Ah! Way to leave us hanging. *pouts* So what’s your next writing project?
Currently, I’m in the middle of another round of edits for Book 2 in The Selection Trilogy, and I’m working on a rough draft of Book 3. I have a secret project on my heart for when this is over, but I’m pretty sure I’m sworn to secrecy on that one.
5. Secret project? How exciting. So when you're not working on the trilogy (or secret projects), what are you reading?
Just today I picked up Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral. Looking forward to diving into that one.
6. Uh-oh! Pub Brawl!!!!! What weapon are you wielding?
A cupcake. That I would probably end up eating myself.
7. We can get on board with cupcakes. Yum. Speaking of yummy, got any good (preferably literary) pick up lines?
I’m a sucker for a good lame pickup line! My favorites are the Harry Potter ones like “You don’t have to say Lumos to turn me on” or “Are you using a Confundus Charm or are you just naturally mind blowing?” ...stuff like that.
I would definitely swoon at either of those pickup lines. Or probably any Harry Potter pickup line, if we are being honest.
In honor of The Selection's upcoming release, Kiera was kind enough to offer up some swag: buttons and signed bookmarks! We're also throwing in one finished copy of the novel, but it doesn't release until April 24th, so be prepared for a short wait if you're the lucky winner!
To enter to win a finished copy of The Selection, plus some swag, just leave a comment telling us if you'd ever consider participating in a Bachelor-esque competition! Then fill out the handy form below. We'll announce a winner next week, but please note: this giveaway is US only.
KIERA CASS is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, VA with her family. The Selection is her debut YA novel, though she self-published a paranormal novel, The Siren, in 2009. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes.