Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Giveaway of Many 4s!

It will probably not surprise you to know that 4 is a special number for me-- not only is it the name of Four, but it's also my favorite number, for whatever reason, just because it seems even in a way that other numbers are not. (I told you, it's weird inside this brain. Just roll with it.)

Therefore it is with 4-related delight that I announce that this is Divergent's 4th week on the NYT Children's Paperback Bestseller list! This week at #3!
Okay. So.

To celebrate week #4, I am going to give away some stuff.

And by "stuff," I really mean:


(yes, you heard me right) and

4 DIVERGENT Paperbacks

to a total of

4 Winners (who will get one of each book)

ending at exactly

4:44 P.M. 

on the

4th day of April,

which is the

4th month of the year.

And it will be international.

How's that for a celebration? 

All you have to do is respond to this post with the faction you would have been born into (that is, the one that most closely fits your upbringing) and the faction you would choose.'s fun. (Okay, if that doesn't sound fun, you can just respond to this post.) And then check back here in a week to see if you won!


Author Out. 

*To clarify, because some have asked: if you haven't read the book yet, but still want to enter, either just respond to the post in any way you choose, or look up the faction names and make your best guess! Either way is fine.

*Also, only one entry per person, pleeeease and thank you.

C2E2: A Brief Clarification

Oh, C2E2ers, I love your enthusiasm. Many of you have asked me if I'm attending or not, so I wanted to clarify: I was temporarily scheduled to attend your fine conference, and very excited to do so. However, we (me + the HC) discovered after the fact that there was a scheduling conflict with my RT Booklovers Convention commitments on the same day. Therefore I am sad to report I won't be able to be at C2E2 this year. (I will, however, be at RT!)

I'm sorry for the confusion! I hope I can meet you all at some other Chicago event in the near future. I will let you know if and when those occur!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

FAQs: Four and The Names We Choose

**Note: If you haven't read/finished Divergent, this post will spoil some things for you, so...don't read it!**


Will Four go by "Tobias" or "Four" in INSURGENT?

I thought I would address this more generally before the book comes out because I think the answer is interesting (and because I get asked this a couple times a week). Obviously I have a thing about names, or else "Beatrice" would not have become "Tris," and "Four" would have gone by "Tobias" in the beginning. I believe the names we choose on our own can be powerful, and they can embody a new identity for us.

When I was young my mother wanted to call me "Nikki" (a less popular short form of Veronica) and I absolutely refused to respond to it. The same thing happened when people tried to call me "Ronnie." I just wasn't having it. The nickname I chose was "V." I think it's because it sounded less cutesy or girly. What I chose for myself was something that fit with my personality-- I'm not exactly cutesy. (Though I am girlier now than I ever used to be-- maybe that's why I don't go by "V" as much anymore?)

Name changing is also interesting from a religion scholar perspective. In the Torah, when a biblical figure has an encounter with God, sometimes he or she is given a new name. Abram to Abraham, for example. Jacob to Israel. Sarai to Sarah. Same thing in the Christian Bible-- Saul becomes Paul, Simon becomes Peter. This usually signals the beginning of some kind of transformation, or indicates that a transformation has already taken place.

If you want a more current example, think "Mr. Anderson" versus "Neo," or "Augustus" versus "Gus" in The Fault In Our Stars (a little different, but interesting to consider, I think), or "Andrew" versus "Ender" in Ender's Game, or "Tom Riddle" versus "Voldemort," or "Anakin" versus "Darth Vader." (Wow, apparently I really AM attracted to this concept, because it's in all the things I like...)

It's like we have some kind of need, once we feel that we have changed, for people to call us something different. Is it for us, to suit the way we see ourselves? Or is it for them, to force them to think of us differently? Or a combination of both?

So now you might be thinking, whatever, I just think "Four" sounds hotter/cooler/like the lesser evil compared to "Tobias". Sadly, this is just how the inside of my brain is. Sometimes I get lost in here. Bear with me.

It's these musings about names that led to the Tobias/Four divide in the first place. Four views "Tobias" as the name of a helpless little boy, so he chooses "Four" as the name of his adult self in an attempt to leave the pain behind him. It signifies his strength rather than his weakness. But what he finds is that he can't ignore his past; it keeps creeping up on him, especially in his fear landscape. So in Divergent, he "gives" Tris his old identity-- he trusts her to know his vulnerable side, the side of the child and not the man. She recognizes the significance of this, which is why she starts to call him Tobias. It's the name he gave her, the one he trusted her with, and she begins to treasure it for that reason.

In Insurgent, this name issue becomes a bit more complicated, but for Tris it's the same. "Tobias" is the name she chooses for him, because it represents his secret self, the one he showed her and her alone. She calls him "Four" when she's with other people, to help him keep his secrets, but in her head, he's always Tobias.

Now, I like the name Tobias (I seem to be in the minority, but that's okay!), but I, like most of you, do prefer the name "Four," and honestly, I always intended for him to be called "Four" most of the time. So I tried really, really hard to make some kind of shift in Tris's mind so that it would make sense for her to call him Four in Insurgent. There are plenty of arguments for why she might do that, and I made all of them, I promise you. But what surprised me was that it never felt right; it didn't feel like what Tris would really do. So Tobias it is. She's very stubborn, you know.

So the short answer: in Insurgent, he's Tobias 95% of the time, because that's how Tris wanted it. You can feel free to keep calling him "Four," though-- I do!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Upcoming April Events (RT, TLA, Blue Willow Bookshop)

There are some events coming up, guys!

(Also, can I pause to say HOLYCRAP there's only one solid month and a half between you+me and Insurgent?)

Okay, now that the pause is over: next month I will be attending two conferences. The first is the RT Booklovers Convention in Rosemont, Illinois, on Teen Day, which is the 14th. If you're going to be there, let me know so I can keep an eye out!

The second is the TLA (Texas Library Association) conference in Houston from April 17-20th. Hope to see you Texan librarians there! (And non-Texans. And non-librarians!)

While I am in Houston I will be doing a signing at Blue Willow Books! On April 20th! At 7pm! Beeee there! Here is their website for more information:

And that is all for April.

Author out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Writer's Block, or Alternately, When Reading Is Hard

Writer's block. Does it exist? Or is it just a lazy writer's excuse for laziness? At first I thought so. Then I spent a week staring at a word document, typing in some words, deleting them, typing in some words, cursing the screen, and giving up to watch early Simpsons episodes.

Okay, maybe it's been more than a week. GET OFF MY BACK, DUDE.

Rather than bemoan my state to anyone who will listen, including my mom's dog--

Actually, wait, she won't listen. She just gives me this look:

Which means "what the hell are you talking about? And why aren't you feeding me or lavishing me with gifts?" (The dog has a major attitude problem.)

--ANYWAY. Rather than bemoan my state to anyone who will or will not listen, I have decided to design my own treatment plan. Just call me Dr. Veronica Roth, DDS. (No, I don't know what DDS means. I suspect it is related to dentistry.) Also call me Veronica Roth, WBS sufferer. (WBS = Writer's Block Syndrome.)

Basically, I've been thinking about my situation and I've noticed some things that might be perpetuating my WBS. Those things are:

A. Not reading.
B. Subconsciously adhering to unnecessary and imaginary rules about how to go about things. (IE: writing in order.)
C. Too much distance from original work.

I'm going to talk about the first problem a bit, because it's the most troubling to me. I'll probably explain the others later.

It may surprise you to know that I have real trouble convincing myself to read. (Surprise you, since writers are all about reading.) It's not because of genre snobbery (HEAVENS no) or because I'm so critical of books that I can't enjoy them anymore (certainly not), it's because I sort of dread the power they have over me. The Fault In Our Stars, for example, has been sitting on my desk for DAYS but I have not cracked it open. Is it because I'm not interested? No. Is it because I think it won't be worth the time? No. It's because I'm pretty sure it will crack me open in some way, and force me out of myself, and it's sort of hard for me to volunteer for that. 

One of the woeful aspects of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder: I haz it. I also haz bad and outdated Internet slang) is how it traps you inside yourself. Believe me, I don't want to be stuck in here. It's a very tense environment. There are a lot of rules and YOU BETTER NOT TRACK DIRT ON THIS CARPET, YOUNG LADY.

Yet somehow I've convinced myself that worrying is a form of control, and refusing to worry means giving up that control, so reading, which involves not worrying because I am in someone else's head, feels a lot like being out of control. I am aware that this is irrational. Believe it or not, my being aware of the irrational-ness doesn't help it to go away, though I reallyreallyreally wish it did.

And beyond that, I don't want to be cracked open because I'm worried about what will spill out. Another aspect of Anxiety Woes is that they make your mind into a corset for your emotions. When I loosen the threads of that corset, everything starts to spill out-- joy and excitement and love, on the plus side, and anger and sadness and frustration, on the minus. And a part of my mind--a very persuasive part--would rather have neither than both, because it's just easier that way.

Some people read to escape, but that doesn't work for me anymore, and that's why.

One thing I want to talk about is what this says about books. And that is that they're powerful, otherwise I wouldn't be avoiding them. And that even books that we so often dismiss as brain candy have this power-- I am even avoiding those.

That is why books are important-- because they force us out of ourselves and engage our sympathies and make us reflect on ourselves and the world in different ways, whether you're reading about a WW2 survivor or an adolescent vampire-unicorn.

 And maybe this is part of the writer's block: that I have taught myself to be afraid of reading, and a side effect might be that I have also taught myself to be afraid of writing, because it involves the same things: letting myself go, and relinquishing control, and opening myself up.

The Dauntless Manifesto (which aligns quite nicely with the Exposure Therapy Manifesto) says the only way to deal with fear is to run at it as fast as you can, so that's my plan. Me and my giant stack of unread books are going to tackle writer's block this week, and I'm going to tell you how it goes in the hope that it will either amuse or assist you in some way.

Even if your reaction is like this:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For Your Entertainment: The Choosing Ceremony

So, remember before the Divergent release when some of you discovered the faction aptitude test on the Divergent twitter page? Well, in order to provide more Divergenty things for you to do as you wait for Insurgent (if you desire such things), the lovely folks over at the HC created an app called "The Choosing Ceremony", in which you get to pick factions for A. celebrities and B. your friends/family/coworkers.

I mean, obviously you would never be in a position to do this in the world of Divergent because the choice of your faction is only yours, but hey: this is fun, man. Also, I KNOW you are dying to put the Biebs in Abnegation where he is not allowed to do those little dance moves. Don't lie!

Anyway, if you are interested, said app is here on the left sidebar: 

If not, there are only 60 days until Insurgent's release! Woo!


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