Veronica Roth reveals exclusive secrets about her new novel ‘Carve the Mark’!

If you think your Thursday night was pretty good, we dare say we’ve one upped you on this occasion. Three words: Carve. The. Mark.

We were super lucky and snapped up an invite to the super top secret preview of Veronica Roth’s latest novel. And good grief – it was incredible!

30117284If you haven’t already heard about it, ‘Carve The Mark’ is a dark and steely science-fiction/fantasy series that fans of ‘Divergent’ and Star Wars will absolutely love! It follows Akos and Cyra who strive to survive on a distant planet ruled by vengeance and and violence. Akos belongs to the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe while Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. When Akos and his brother are captured by the Thuvhe, their two worlds collide and they must decide to either help each other to survive or destroy one another. Sounds epic, right?

We were treated to a special chat with Veronica live from Chicago where she revealed some brilliant details about her inspiration behind ‘Carve the Mark’ and what it was like writing the follow up to the ‘Divergent’ series. There were also some pretty awesome cupcakes.

What was the experience of writing ‘Carve The Mark’ like? 

I wrote this in total secret, not even my publisher knew I was working on it. It was good to write in a totally pressure free environment. I felt the freedom to write the right story to follow ‘Divergent’. This wasn’t actually the first story I’ve written since the the end of the last series. I’ve written loads and shown them all to my agent. But we both agreed that it hasn’t ever felt right until this one.

This series is quite different to ‘Divergent’. The characters aren’t heroes out to save the world, they’re just trying to survive theirs. They’re out for themselves and the people they love – they’re Slytherins like that. In some respects it’s darker, but really the cornerstone of all my work is love and friendship and how those feelings drive our actions. 

Why space? What inspired you to write a sci-fi novel? 

You know, I was really inspired by the prologue to Star Trek. ‘Space. The final frontier…’ It felt like a place where anything could happen.  A total free for all, like the American Wild West! Also, spaceships… who wouldn’t want to write about those? Honestly, for this particular story, I tried  writing it as a straight fantasy, but it just didn’t ring true. Doing a mix of both sci-fi and fantasy felt right for this story, and when my agent read it we both went ‘Yes, this is it!’

I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi shows like ‘Firefly’ and movies like ‘Star Wars’. Those have definitely been big inspirations to me. Princess Leia is my absolute favourite character – she’s a total badass! Tough and gets the job done.

How did the success of the ‘Divergent’ series effect ‘Carve the Mark’? 

Because it was such a long series, I learned a lot just through the sheer quantity of words it required. I knew I had a lot to learn, having published ‘Divergent’ when I was 21. Since then, I think I’ve grown a lot as a writer. For the ‘Divergent’ series, I built the world as I went which honestly resulted in some pretty sticky situations later down the line. This time, I’ve mapped the whole world out in detail so that it feels deeper and more complete..

I learned a lot from Harry Potter too actually. When you enter that world, you get an immediate feeling of being somewhere wacky, whimsical and messy… in a good way. There’s an instant feeling that you’ve entered a real, inhabitable world as opposed to just the setting of a book. I wanted to capture that in the universe of ‘Carve The Mark’.

Also, some advice from my mother helped me not get too overwhelmed by the success of my first series or the world’s expectation. Growing up, she would always be super supportive of my achievements at school. If I ever did badly in a test, she would cheer me on anyway because she knew I was trying my best. That’s how I approached this new book, knowing that my best was good enough.

Veronica is so cool and lovely, we almost hugged the giant big screen she was talking to us on! After the Q&A , she read us an extract from the book. This was the first ever reading of the book anywhere and guys, we can tell you with total certainty that you’re going to love it! In the few pages she read to us, we could tell it’s heartfelt, dark and action packed. Everyone kept commenting on how much Veronica’s writing style has matured and if possible, gotten even better!

We caught up with some of the UK’s best vloggers including Casey Ann Books and Books & Quills to get some of their post-preview reactions:

So make sure to ‘mark’ your calendar – ‘Carve the Mark comes out 17th January 2017. You’re definitely going to want to pick this one up!


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