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While Veronica Roth, the author of the Divergent series, was busy promoting the first film and the final book of the trilogy — Allegiant — over the past several months, she was also wrapping up a spin-off book called Four, which is made of seven stories told from the male protagonist’s viewpoint.
Roth originally began writing the first Divergent book from Four’s perspective, but then decided to write the series from the view of the female character, Tris (played by Shailene Woodley). After writing Allegiant from both points-of-view, Roth decided to write more stories based on Four’s experiences.
The new book, hitting stores on July 8, includes three pre-Divergent stories, one story that runs parallel with the events in Divergent, and three additional scenes from Divergent.
THR spoke with Roth, 25, about her new book, wrapping up the Divergent world and the upcoming second Summit film, Insurgent.
Where did the idea for this new book, Four, come from?
It was originally intended to be a couple e-books that would be released in the lead-up to the release of Allegiant. But the stories ended up being very long, and I think everyone involved felt they could be something more than a couple e-books.
Had you always planned for Allegiant to be from both perspectives?
No, I really wanted to whole series to be just in Tris’ voice, actually. But when I wrote Allegiant, everything had become so much more complicated than I anticipated, so I really needed an additional perspective to take readers into the parts of the world that Tris wasn’t going to go into. And then there was this great opportunity to show Tris and Four experiencing the same thing and having different reactions, or experiencing different things and reacting to each other.
Did feedback from Allegiant affect these stories since that was the first time that you debuted Four’s voice?
A little bit. I feel like some amount of criticism helps. A lot of people commented that Four’s voice wasn’t quite distinct enough from Tris. In my mind they felt very different, but on the page that might not come across. So I thought about that a little more. And it felt a little more like it was something for the reader’s than it had before. Whether people liked it or not, the ending of Allegiant affected them emotionally. And so to have something else in the series to show them a little more of a favorite character felt good to write.
Is Four the final Divergent story for you?
To me, it feels like a really good way of tying everything up. I’m excited to move on to something new, and work on something different. It’s not that the door is totally slammed shut on Divergent forever, I could never say that, but for me it’s time to try something new.
Insurgent is currently shooting, this time in Atlanta, which means you can’t drop by like you could with Divergent when it was shot in your hometown of Chicago.
No, I can’t which is a little sad. I just went [down to Atlanta] last week and it was still fun and a good atmosphere. But I am a little sad it’s not in Chicago.
I noticed that the scene where Edward gets stabbed in the eye was missing from the film version of Divergent.
I think they shot it, and then they showed me dailies from it — the stills of it — and it was truly horrifying. It was a lot worse on screen than on the page. So I was kind of glad that they cut it.
Are you going to make a cameo in Insurgent like you did in Divergent?
I don’t know. I might try to demote myself to an average, everyday extra because that was an incredibly stressful experience. [Laughs.] But we’ll see.
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