Suzanne Collins: Facts and Trivia

Here are some facts about the author of The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins.

Suzanne Collins comes from a military family. Her father served in Vietnam when she was a child and he went on to make lieutenant colonel, her grandfather was gassed in World War I and her uncle was injured in World War II.

She lives with her family in Connecticut.

She is married to an actor called Cap Pryor, and they have two children.

Collins completed a MFA in dramatic writing at New York University.

She worked for Nickleodeon on several shows, including: Clarissa Explains It All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power is the name of the picture book she wrote in 2007.

She was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of 2010

Underland Chronicles

From 2003 to 2007 Suzanne Collins wrote the five books which form the Underland Chronicles:

  • Gregor the Overlander
  • Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
  • Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
  • Gregor and the Marks of Secret
  • Gregor and the Code of Claw

Suzanne Collins was 38 when she started to write Gregor the Overlander.

As a result of her screenwriting background, she finds dialogue easier to write than descriptive passages.

Her father consulted with her on the military strategy and alliances in the books.

The Hunger Games

The three books which make up The Hunger Games trilogy are:

  • The Hunger Games
  • Catching Fire
  • Mockingjay

The Hunger Games was pitched to publishers as a trilogy and the main story arc (gladiator game – revolution – war) was planned from the beginning.

The Hunger Games is partly influenced by the Theseus and the Minotaur story, and by the historical figure of Spartacus.

As part of her research Collins read numerous books on wilderness survival and books about Roman gladiators, such as: The Life of Crassus by Plutarch.

When writing The Hunger Games Collins knew from the beginning that she was going to have to kill characters. She says this is a horrible thing to have to do and she hates writing death scenes.

Writing and Reading

Although Suzanne Collins does plan her stories before she starts the first draft, she leaves space and room for her characters to develop. She has said that she is willing to adapt her plan during the writing process.

She usually writes for between three and five hours a day, stopping work in the early afternoon.

When she was a teenager her favourite novels were:

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  • 1984 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
  • Germinal by Emile Zola
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

She has also spoken about how much she admires The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Further reading:

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chobosky

Publication Date: 1999

Why did I choose to read this book?

This has been on my to-be-read pile for ages. I can’t even remember when I bought it.

After reading Hangover Square and having started to re-read A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin, I was looking for something a bit less demanding. The Perks of Being a Wallflower seemed to fit the bill.

Summary

From the blurb of the Pocket Books paperback:

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years, yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what life looks like from the dance floor.

Review

I enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Although I’m nearly old enough to be his father, I really identified with Charlie and his struggles to understand the world around him. His relationship with his best friends, Sam and Patrick, a really important element of the storyline, was dealt with very well by Stephen Chbosky -it was both touching and believable.

I’ve read quite a few coming of age novels. Whilst reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower I was reminded of Naive.Super by Erland Loe, Train Man by Hitori Nakano, and, of course, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The Perks of Being a Wallflower wasn’t as good as these other titles, but it held up surprisingly well.

One of the things that I liked most about The Perks of Being a Wallflower was that it referenced other books. Throughout the story, Charlie’s English teacher, Bill, gives him books to read, such as: To Kill a Mockingbird, On The Road and Naked Lunch. Twelve classic books are mentioned in total, and these become Charlie’s favourite books. At some point I’d love to read all of these books. Most would be re-reads for me, but some of the titles (Walden, for instance), I’ve never read before. Perhaps I’ll run it as a reading challenge on The Book Base.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is being made into a film (due to be released in 2012). Emma Watson, Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, will play the part of Sam, and Charlie is to be played by Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson). Luckily, the film is being directed by the book’s author, Stephen Chbosky, so the source material shouldn’t be tampered with too much. However, as is the case with most book to screen adaptations, it’s probably a good idea to read the book first.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not the best coming of age story I’ve ever read, but it is both poignant and well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I regret leaving it on my to-be-read pile for so long.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Book Blogger Q&A: Lalaine’s Fiction Book Reviews

Laine from Lalaine’s Fiction Book Reviews kindly agreed to answer some questions for The Book Base about her favourite books, her reading habits and her experiences of book blogging.

How long have you been a book blogger?

I’ve only been a book blogger since February 2011.

Approximately, how many books do you read every year?

90 to 150

What were your favourite books or stories as a child?

I remember loving Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr. I have just recently started this series and I’m so addicted to it now.

If you had to pick one, what’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?

The Darkest Powers series (Kelley Armstrong). I actually have a lot in mind, but these books shook my world.

Who are your three favourite authors?

J.K. Rowling, Kelley Armstrong and Cassandra Clare.

Which book has had the greatest impact on your life?

The Harry Potter series

Which book are you most eagerly anticipating?

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

What advice would you give to new book bloggers?

My advice would be to just love what you’re doing. It’s always important that you have passion in everything that you do. I love books and that’s why I made a blog to share it with my readers.

Which other book blogs do you recommend?

I recommend Locket Stories and Imperial Beach Teen blog.

Many thanks to Laine for taking the time to contribute to The Book Base. Make sure you visit her site.

Check out other interviews in the Book Blogger Q&As series.