Aug 20, 2010

Flashback - Suzanne Collins at TLA & 1st Giveaway!

Not many days go by that I don't think about the day I met Suzanne Collins. It is safe to say that she doesn't feel the same way about meeting me. I am one of millions of readers that have followed her every move over the years. I will boast and say that I read the OVERLANDER series as they came out way before HUNGER GAMES was released. *pat self on back*

I have a bad habit of subscribing to magazines that I have no time read, and in September of 2008 I was flipping through Entertainment Weekly. I noticed a book review by Stephen King. I saw Suzanne Collin's name on the book and was excited she had a new release. Of course the article is fantastic (it wouldn't be a full-page if it wasn't), but these lines caught my attention:

"The love triangle is fairly standard teen-read stuff; what 16-year-old girl wouldn't like to have two interesting guys to choose from? The rest of The Hunger Games, however, is a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense and may also generate a fair amount of controversy. I couldn't stop reading, and once I got over the main character's name (Gale calls her Catnip — ugh), I got to like her a lot. And although ''young adult novel'' is a dumbbell term I put right up there with ''jumbo shrimp'' and ''airline food'' in the oxymoron sweepstakes, how many novels so categorized feature one character stung to death by monster wasps and another more or less eaten alive by mutant werewolves?"

That was all I needed to hear - I was hell bent on getting a copy of the book. Luckily for me, I am a chronic volunteer at my daughter's school library. I checked out a brand spankin' new copy of the HUNGER GAMES and read it in one day. We all know the rest of the story; I fell in love (again) with Suzanne Collins and eventually, so did the rest of the world. So here I am this morning just 4 days away from the release of MOCKINGJAY, the final installment in the HUNGER GAMES trilogy, thinking about the glorious day when I met Suzanne. I don't care who dies, and I don't care who Katniss ends up with (Team Gale). I just NEED this book in my hands!!!

Suzanne Collins, April 16, 2010 - Texas Library Association annual conference - San Antonio, TX

I was lucky enough to secure a front row seat for Suzanne’s author panel. In order to achieve this feat, I arrived over an hour early to the ballroom. Not surprisingly, I was not the first to arrive and claim a seat (or 5). Although the room was huge, every seat was filled within the hour. Suzanne took the stage quietly, setting her notes on the podium. A swarm of people (librarians, moms, children of all ages - both male and female) came to the stage for a quick picture. Suzanne was kind enough to grab a copy of the hunger games and pose on bended knee. The flashes were reminiscent of a red carpet event in Hollywood. She posed for roughly ten minutes; pointing to her gold mockingjay necklace and asking quick questions. One lady asked, “Do you feel like a rock star?” Suzanne answered, “Yes!” She stayed in position until a representative asked that we take a seat so Suzanne could begin her presentation.

After a few kind words from a Texas Library Association Young Adult Roundtable committee member, Suzanne took the stage to hoots, hollers, and a huge round of applause. She was very humble, thanked her audience and began. Suzanne began with a slide show of her upbringing and her early career.
Suzanne began as a playwright then spent 19 years in children’s television. She has written for LITTLE BEAR, CLARISA EXPLAINS IT ALL, OSWALD, and THE MYSTERY FILES OF SHELBY WOO. During this time, she met James Proimos who basically talked her into trying her hand at writing books. Her first endeavor with publishing was THE OVERLAND CHRONICLES. This set of 5 books were always classified “first and foremost, a war story.” Themes deal with rescuing a POW, biological warfare, and finally the necessity of military intelligence of winning a war. At this point, Suzanne backtracks into her fascination with conflict and war.
Suzanne was a “military brat.” Her father was in the United States Air Force serving in Vietnam. At the age of twelve she realized that she thought of war more than the average teenage girl. For her 12th birthday, her family took her to the site of Napoleon’s defeat. She explains that it wasn’t the “true” site of his defeat, but chosen because of the massive hill. Today, a statue of a lion stands at the top of that hill. This hill is comprised entirely of soldier’s helmets and the surrounding soil. Suzanne goes on to share stories of her and her father’s talks of war. In 2003, just before our country entered war yet again, her father died. The first OVERLANDER book was published in the same year.
Years later, Suzanne was channel surging late at night. She was flipping back and forth between a reality television show where young people were completing for money and coverage of the war in Iraq. She explains, “…after a while, the lines began to blur.” This was the birth of THE HUNGER GAMES.
She laughingly said that in the beginning she thought of THE HUNGER GAMES as an. “….almost human cloning gone bad…”, and a comedy. The audience chuckled and she joined in. She goes on to explain that furthering the idea for THE HUNGER GAMES came in 3 parts; her father’s experience in the military, Greek mythology of Theseus, and Spartacus. Suzanne appreciated how ruthless the gladiators were. She explained that the OVERLANDER series covered Greek mythology so she turned to the gladiators. The ‘sport’ of watching men (usually slaves) compete for their life was fascinating.
Suzanne ended her discussion by reading the last few pages of CATCHING FIRE. The entire room was on the edge of her seat and perfectly silent. Most (not all believe it or not) knew how the story would end - in a “shameless cliffhanger”, but hearing Gale say, “There is no District 12” from THE Suzanne Collins was a dream come true.

Q and A: (paraphrasing)
I will preface by saying there was no moderator on the floor during this time. Almost all questions were asked by teenagers.

Where did you come up with the names for the characters in THE HUNGER GAMES series?
I wanted to pick traditional Roman names and add a little more to “jazz it up”. Rue is an acient flower that fit her agricultural district. Thresh was taken from the word threshing - a process before a harvest.

What was your favorite part to write in THE HUNGER GAMES?
Definitely the climax

What was your favorite book as a teenager?

If were a District, which one would we be in?
Definitely the Capitol! We know where our next meal is coming from and we are spoiled. We have free speech and much too privileged.

Where did you come up with the Mockingjay?
My dad used to whistle and birds would answer him back. I needed something the Capital forgot about and wasn’t paying attention to. (like Katniss)

Do you get recognized?
No, my children get recognized before me. People don’t come up to me at a cafĂ© and say anything. “And I’m ok with that!”

Have you considered writing a prequel to THE HUNGER GAMES?
“I haven’t ruled it out”, but I am busy with editing for Mockingjay. There are definitely no plans right now.

When will THE HUNGER GAMES movie come out?
I have seen a few scripts pass by my desk and it still needs a lot of work. If everything goes to plan, they could possibly start filming in by the end of the year OR “it could all fall apart tomorrow.”

Which book is your favorite book?
(speaking @ HG), I look at each book as a 1-act play that make 1 tale.

Entire EW article
Thanks to Stephanie Pellegrin who originally posted this on her blog when mine was dedicated for school work. ;)Go follow her now!


To celebrate my recent graduation from library school and the release of Mockingjay, I will be giving away a signed ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater that I scored at TLA. You didn't really think I was going to give away my coveted copy of Hunger Games did you? Okay...just checking.

*giveaway closed*


  1. Hi
    Please enter me if this is international.
    I am a follower.
    I recommend The House at Riverton by Kate morton.


  2. Hi!

    I am a follower!

    Happy Reading,
    Ashley's Bookshelf

  3. I'm follower number 11, my favourite number!

    Fiona Chan
    feeyonachan at gmail dot com
    Hmm.. Spare Change by Aubrey Mace


    thank you :D

  4. Love your layout, very pretty!

    Tyger Tyger is amazing, it comes out in november but as a reviewer you can check it out on netgalley first.

    Rhiannon Ryder

  5. Nightlife by Rob Thurman is a great book!
    And if you haven't read the Mediator series by Meg Cabot yet, you should check those out!

    Abby Kaugher

  6. The Shifter Series by Rachel Vincent and/or Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine.

    I too am international entry.

  7. I'm so glad i found you on facebook and Maggie's page - I need new books to read and you are a fountain of information there! This isn't very original but His Dark Arts Trilogy is one of my very faves, and A Wrinkle in Time is probably what started it all for me when I was a pre-teen...
    can't wait for Mockingjay (having a giveaway too if you're interested in art!)

  8. Im a follower

    as for a good book, Hhmm.. I love Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr or The Dark Guardians by Rachel Hawthorne.

  9. Great suggestions...there are some I haven't heard of: The House at Riverton and Spare Change. Thank you for those!

    Melissa Marr is coming to Austin (where I live) next month! Can't wait for that signing.

    @Adrienne...Dark Arts Trilogy by Kym Staiff? I hadn't read those. Thank you for the entries so far and help spread the word!

    Tomorrow is Mockingjay Day!!!


  10. Jessica
    briefbookreviews [at]


    and FBd:

    I just read The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan and just loved it. It is a sequel to the Demon's Lexicon. I can't stop thinking about it. Both books were unexpected and fantastic.

  11. Just started following -- I'd love to be entered in the giveaway! My recommendation has to be Soulless by Gail Carriger -- funny and delicious!

    thesibylqueen at

  12. April


    I would recommend the Iron Fey series and Demon's Lexicon series which are both way underrated.

  13. new follower here
    I am loving the Nightcreatures series by Lori Handeland

  14. I am following you and I tweeted the contest:

    I recommend Wake by Lisa McMann.

    Dana A.

  15. I recommend the Mortal Instruments series.


    Im a follower

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  16. I loved The Dead-Tossed waves by Carrie Ryan. It is the sequel to the book "The Forest of Hands and teeth." It talks about a post-apocalyptic world where zombies are everywhere.
    Tweet :
    I've followed you! : @kirstyreadmore

  17. I loved reading Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and The Chosen Ones by Carol Lynch Williams. You can read my reviews here:


    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  18. Follower :)

    I recommend... Hm, so many to chose from. The Iron King, by Julia Kagawa. Why? Because it's one of the
    more interesting books about fae that I've read.

    Kristina Barnes

  19. I'm going to recommend a series of books if that's okay. The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver-it has adventure, a lil romance, friendship and family. Ooh, and a wolf called Wolf. Exactly my type of book.

    Count me in if this is international please.


  20. Thanks again for the great recommendations. I am always curious to see what people have loved and I always need new book ideas.

    I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead Tossed Waves. Probably one of my fave's! I also loved the Wake series and the Mortal Instruments.

    Haven't read The Iron King...need to! Or any that @Kulsuma recommended. I'll have to check into that.

    Thank you for entering and help spread the word!


  21. I just became a follower and would recommend The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. I read it a couple of days ago and the ethical issues raised in it are going to resonate with you for awhile. I actually did a review for it on my blog (which I just started)and added your contest in the sidebar.

    Anyway, my email is

  22. I really like the Rangers Apprentice series.

    A book I have not seen much of but is one I will be reading with my children is called THE ALCHEMIST BY PAULO COELHO. Its a very inspiring book.

  23. PS
    I am a follower.

  24. I am a follower
    a book to recommend: I enjoyed the Mercy Thompson series and recently read an ARC of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer - it will for sure be a huge hit.

  25. Oh my gosh I am so jealous! Suzanne Collins is coming to Massachusetts at the end of the month, and I wouldn't miss going for anything.

    I'm a new follower!
    Name: Angela Z

    My book suggestion: The Maze Runner by James Dashner. If you went crazy over the Hunger Games, this is definitely the book for you!

    Thanks for the awesome contest!

  26. Hello!

    Am a new follower

    Book recommendations?, I would probably recommend the gallagher girls series by Ally Carter, mayb it's not exactly young adult, but it's still good. Also, heist society by ally carter and perhaps the mediator seires, by meg cabot. Oh, and firelight by sophie jordan. ! :DDD


    Very sry, I don't have a twitter, yet. :DDD

    Hoped U reach 50 followers soon! :DDD

  27. Hi,your 41st follower here :) in case it's international please count me in.

    My book recommendations are books from Julie Kagawa ( Iron King, Winter passage, Iron Daughter) and I also loved The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

    judittten at gmail dot com

  28. More great book recommendations! I've read everything by Ally Carter. I own Body Finder and it's on my TBR list. Same with Maze Runner. I won a Firelight by Sophie Jordan today and can't wait to read! Thanks again everyone!

  29. Christina

    And you should definitely read Lamant and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater too!

    Sea Change my Aimme Friedman and Wings(&Spells) by Aprilynne Pike are great too!

  30. I'm your newest follower. My book recommendation is Larklight by Philip Reeve.

    Please enter me only if this contest is international.

    Thank you!

    Giada M.

    fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

  31. Hi! You should read the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson; they're quick reads, but sooo good! Also, anything by Kelley Armstrong is a must.
    Thanks for the contest!

  32. P.S. I am a follower!(number 49! getting closer...)
    P.P.S. more suggestions: the rangers apprentice series by john flanagan and septimus heap by angie sage :)

  33. I'm a follower!

    Name: Brianna Bruce
    (I'm not comfortable leaving my email out publicly; is there any other way that I can give you my contact information? Thank you.)

    As for a book recommendation, I adore Beastly by Alex Flinn, an amazing twist on Beauty and the Beast. I'd also recommend Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon (which is so funny, it will make you laugh out loud) and Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (a sweet, bubbly mermaid fantasy). They are all relatively new YA reads, with the exception of Beastly. You've probably already heard of these, as I'm sure you are a voracious reader, but I thought I'd tell you about them anyway, just in case. : ) Thank you for the contest!

  34. Hiya, Jen, I believe I was #50, so let's go! LOL. Your blog looks FANTASTIC! I will check in often. Miss you in FloMo!


    I recommend "Sarah's Key," which I just finished recently. My son recommends (and I should have him follow your blog) the whole Hunger Games series, but I know you recommend that too! I'm going to give that a shot soon.

  35. Thank you for all of the entries! I have chosen a winner and will announce in the morning!

  36. (though I figure I'm too late :(, I still wanna say...)
    I absolutely adore Suzanne's writing. Her flair is beyond great!
    Now leaving a comment with my NAME, Jade Teo, and EMAIL,, and a BOOK RECOMMENDATION, Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (which is not Twilight :-p & going on the whole heroine theme)


  37. Saba Molai

    I would recommend reading The House of Night series by P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast