A few weeks ahead of today’s big reveal, we hopped on the phone with Veronica to talk about the end of her trilogy, the currently in-production “Divergent” and the “incredible” chemistry between leads Shailene Woodley and Theo James. Keep reading for our entire discussion!
Hollywood Crush: What does “Allegiant” mean in the context of this third and final novel?
Veronica Roth: It means “one who is loyal or faithful,” and I think it changes in the context of the novel depending on who you apply it to. That’s as specific as I can be.
Did you consider other “gent” words for the title?
We certainly considered some of the other words that were kind of more commonly guessed, but they just didn’t have the right impact, especially given the story that I was writing, didn’t fit quite as well. And I was really kind of pleased with the surprise of “Allegiant.” It rhymes phonetically. It doesn’t look like it rhymes as well.
Should fans expect any sort of major change of setting in “Allegiant”?
I’m not sure how much I can really tell you. I will say that there are certainly new places that are explored.
How much will we learn about the time before the faction society? Will there be any flashbacks?
I think you do learn a little bit about the past. I don’t really do flashbacks since it’s a very forward-moving story but definitely some clarification on some historical points.
Should fans prepare for a cliffhanger ending?
I definitely set it up to have a pretty solid resolution. No cliffhangers.
Authors are always mulling ideas for new novels. As you bring this trilogy to a close, are there any new stories pushing to the forefront that you’re eager to pursue?
I’m kind of playing with a couple of ideas. Obviously, I haven’t been able to commit to any of them. I’m not one of those people who can juggle multiple projects at once. I have to finish one and start another one. I love writing for teens. I love my teen readers and the genre of YA, so I am pretty sure I’m going to stick to that. Other than that, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do yet.
Do you think your next project will be more grounded in reality, or will it be along similar lines as “Divergent”?
I definitely have always been a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and you know, really reality-grounded ideas don’t come to me as often as fantastical ones. I think sci-fi/fantasy is a good bet. I’m still not really sure.
Obviously everyone’s very excited about the upcoming big-screen adaptation of “Divergent.” How would you characterize your involvement with the production so far?
I’ve definitely let the people who do this for their job do their job without being too involved. I really love writing, and things that take my time away from that, I don’t tend to volunteer for often. That said, I’ve been very well informed and the people who are working on the movie have been very welcoming and interested and accepting of my presence, and they made me a chair! I took a picture of it. Someday I will share.
Shailene Woodley, who was cast as Tris, doesn’t necessarily physically resemble the character you describe in your book, but do you think she captures the spirit of Tris?
I would definitely say she’s got the spirit of Tris down. I know she’s not a tiny blond girl, but man, she will make you think she is when you see her. She’s got Tris’ power and vulnerability at the same time, and when I was thinking of casting and stuff, that was the most important thing to me. That who was cast could capture this complicated, frustrating character, and I think she’s definitely done that and is doing that.
Did you get to see any of the audition tapes?
The one that I saw was the Theo James/Shailene Woodley screen test. It was amazing. The chemistry was incredible, and he did a great job with the kind of sensitive, strong Four character, and the two of them—it’s just going to be awesome.
Were you aware of Theo from “Downton Abbey”?
Yeah, I watch “Downton Abbey,” so I had seen that. And you know, he’s a memorable part of that show even if it was just one episode or two.
The Chicago in “Divergent” is a much different Chicago than the one that actually exists. How is your vision of the city being realized?
I think it was really important to Neil Burger, the director, to incorporate as much real Chicago as possible, and I’ve definitely seen that realized in what I’ve observed so far. It’s so important to me. I love Chicago, and I think it’s a beautiful city, and it’s so rich with interesting visuals and stuff, and I definitely think they’ve taken advantage.
“Divergent” is slated for a March 14, 2014 release, while “Allegiant” will be published October 22.
Are you itching for your copy of “Allegiant”? How would you like the series to conclude? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!