Who is Suzanne Collins?
Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special,Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days,and a freelancer on Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.
Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find…? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/war series, The Underland Chronicles.
Her next series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, is an international bestseller.
At present, Suzanne is at work on a picture book with James Proimos.
She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.
Information found on: suzannecollinsbooks.com
Getting to know Suzanne Collins*
How did you come up with the idea for ‘The Hunger Games’?
I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in the very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.
What made you write about such a serious subject?
That was probably my dad’s influence. He was in the Air Force, a military specialist, a historian and a doctor of political science. When I was a kid he was gone for a year in Vietnam. It was very important to him that we understood about certain aspects of life. So, it wasn’t enough to visit a battlefield; we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences.
Was ‘The Hunger Games’ always planned as a Trilogy?
Not necessarily. But once I’d thought through to the end of the first book, I realized that there was no way that the story was concluded. Katniss does something that would never go unpunished in her world. There would definitely be repercussions. And so the question of whether or not to continue the series was answered for me.
Katniss and Gale know all about hunting, foraging, wildlife and survival techniques. What kinds of research did you do?
Some things I knew from listening to my dad talking about his childhood. For his family, hunting was not a sport but a way to put meat on the table. He also knew a certain amount about edible plants. He;d go into the woods and gather all these wild mushrooms and bring them home and sauté them. My mom wouldn’t let any of the rest of us go near them! But he’d eat them up and they never harmed him so I guess he knew which ones were safe, because wild mushrooms can be very deadly. I also read a big stack of wilderness survival guidebooks.
And here’s what I learned: you’ve got to be really good to survive out there for more than a few days…
*note: this interview was found in the back of The Hunger Games classic edition publish in the UK by Scholastic Ltd, 2011