The blog I wasn't cool enough to write. Kiley & Veronica Roth!

So you are probably wondering where Julie is, and you have reason to, she’s pretty awesome.  But don’t worry, she’ll be back soon.  In the meantime, Hi, I’m Kiley Roache, a high school sophomore and columnist for “The Doings” a suburban outlet of Sun Times Media.
 In my most recent column, I wrote about Veronica Roth and her amazing books Divergent and Insurgent, which Julie had originally told me to read. When I interviewed Ms. Roth, she shared some great writing advice.
 Sadly, I didn’t get to include most of it in my article.  In my opinion, what she said was infinitely helpful, and Julie was kind enough to let me guest blog, so I get to share it with you.
[Warning:  If you haven’t read Divergent by Veronica Roth, the following post may contain some spoilers.  Also, what are you doing, go read it now!]
 So if you’ve read Divergent and Insurgent, you are probably in love with Tobias.  This, I know, is a little scary since he is a fictional character and all.   The reason you felt this way is because Ms. Roth has created characters that truly seem like real people, including Tobias.  Roth said that with Tobias, “I always have a sense of what he’s doing when he’s not on the page…that helps a lot to make him feel like a real person in my mind.”  I think we could all use this advice since it’s so easy to focus on the main character, but when the reader becomes invested in the lives of many of the characters, that’s what makes a great novel. 
As for main characters, Roth stressed the importance of having them make mistakes.  She said “I think as an author it’s hard to do that because we kind of want to protect characters that we come to love, but it’s so important in making them seem like real people, because real people make mistakes all the time.”
 Ms. Roth also gave two key insights into creating the relationship between Tris and Tobias.  She said that she loves that Tobias believes in her strength, because, “So often, we see love stories about boys who want to protect girls, and he certainly wants to do that with her, but he also kind of trusts her to take care of herself and their mutual respect for each other really helps with the love story.”  She also remarked about the closeness between Tris and Tobias that comes from them exposing themselves to each other like they don’t to anybody else.  She said, “If you can develop closeness in the relationships between your characters that people can see on the page and not just hear about from one characters prospective, important.”
Finally, Ms. Roth taught me a very important lesson with the answer to a question about height.  I had noticed that while Ms. Roth is six feet tall, her protagonist, Tris, is quite short, so I asked her if making her short was a conscience decision.  She replied that it was, and she wanted Tris to be underestimated not only because of where she came from but also physically.  She said, “She doesn’t start off very strong, but she grows to be a stronger person both physically and mentally.  And I wanted that physical part of that journey to be really clear.  So I made her small.” 
I thought this was about the coolest answer ever.  I realized how remarkable it was that Ms. Roth had written a page-turner while still developing many layers to her work, and Tris’s simultaneous journeys was only one of many examples of this.  The complexity that Roth developed shows how possible it is for books to crossover from the required reading list to the best seller list.
 Thank you so much for taking time to read this, and if you didn’t like it, don’t worry, Julie will be back very soon.  I will leave you with Ms. Roth’s words on writing in general.
“Keep writing as much as you can and do not be so afraid to show your writing to other people, people that you trust.”

Quick note from Julie: Hey y'all! Just wanted to give a shout to Kiley and say a big fat THANK YOU! Isn't she awesome?? And pssst picture shows Veronica and Kiley at the signing! Kiley, can you come blog for me all the time? ;) No, but seriously.


  1. How exciting to meet Veronica Roth! It's so interesting to hear the author's thoughts on her characters. Thanks so much, Kiley, for sharing Veronica's fabulous advice. Great article! P.S. If it's scary to have a crush on a fictional character, then I've got a lot of problems.

  2. This is such an awesome post! Thank you, Kiley, for sharing this with us. You're so lucky to have been able to meet Veronica. I'm totes jealous. It's so much fun getting the insight on how someone creates their characters, especially a book we all know and love. I really enjoyed reading your interview. Good job!

  3. Kiley! Well done. Congratulations on such a cool interview. Glad you enjoy reading so much, too!

    Barbara E.

  4. Thank you, Kiley! This interview is amazing and I'm SO jealous that you met Veronica Roth!!!

    It is really interesting to hear from authors about the books that they've created. I love, love, LOVE Divergent and Insurgent!

  5. Great interview! Thanks for sharing these bits that didn't make it into the original article. I like the detail about Tris' height :)

  6. Thanks Kiley! I agree w/Julie, you should hijack the blog more often! ;)
    Seriously, what a great insight. I had no idea about the height issue, and how deliberate that was (but then I'm short, so I know we short people rock the house!). Thanks for sharing this wonderful interview with Ms. Roth with us!

  7. Hi Kiley!

    Great post. I loved the last quote. “Keep writing as much as you can and do not be so afraid to show your writing to other people, people that you trust.”

    Thanks for sharing your interview with us. I personally would have been waaaay to scared to approach an author I admired. Well done, brave girl.


  8. Great job Kiley! Can Julie post your final interview from your school paper too? :)

    I also loved that last quote!!

  9. Great interview!! Some really great stuff in here. I'm a huge fan of the Divergent series ;o)

  10. Hey Kiley! Great post! How exciting that you got to interview and meet Veronica Roth! I Love Tobias and Tris...Falling for fictional characters is how you keep life interesting, no? Thanks for sharing your interview...hope to see a copy from your school paper, too!