Bestselling author Veronica Roth is having a good day. With today’s release of Allegiant she’s completed the Divergent trilogy and can sit back and relax as YA fans around the world delve into her latest work. In this HarperCollins interview she discusses the similarities between her teen fans and members of the Dauntless fraction.
Veronica Roth: I started writing every day in sixth grade, so I don’t really remember. I do remember being inspired by The Giver by Lois Lowry.
Zola: Who is your favorite antagonist?
VR: I usually like an antagonist who I identify with a little too much, so much that it becomes frightening. Despite that, though, I would have to say that my favorite antagonist has to be Voldemort in Harry Potter, because of how he’s developed—he appears to us at first as a kind of cackling villain and then over time he develops this complex backstory and we follow him through his descent into evil. I also love the way the magical system plays into his descent, too, how he and the dark magic kind of feed each other until he’s barely human anymore. It’s fantastic.
Zola: What kind advice do you have for young writers?
VR: Fall in love with writing! Fall in love with it so that you want to write all the time, so that you don’t let criticism shatter you because you just want to get better, so that you’re not afraid of failing because you know you’ll still want to write after you fail. There are so many obstacles to writing—insecurity, indecision, fear—and if you really love to do it you’ll overcome those obstacles over and over again. Also, try to think clearly, imagine clearly, because that means you’ll write clearly.
Zola: What was your inspiration behind the character of Tris? Why did you choose Tris to be in Dauntless?
VR: The whole world was really built around Dauntless—Dauntless was the first faction I came up with, and I built the whole system around them. So there was no other option, the main character was always going to join Dauntless. I wanted the person who saves the day to come from the faction of wild, crazy people who the rest of society disregards because of how reckless they are. It’s similar to adolescence—teenagers are constantly underestimated because they’re in this wild state of flux and seem to be driven by forces outside of their control, but there’s power there, and I loved exploring a story like that.
Tris came about from her voice, though. I just heard her voice in my mind, clear and straightforward and repetitive and almost harsh, and I built her character around it.
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.