Series: Wasteland #3
Published by HarperTeen on 3-24-2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
The Emmy Award-nominated and Edgar Award-winning duo of Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan deliver a heart-pounding finale to the postapocalyptic teen world of the Wasteland, filled with dramatic twists and turns. Bestselling author of Criminal, Karin Slaughter, called Wasteland "a Lord of the Flies for future generations. An irresistible page-turner."
No one dares to leave the District—the towering structure of glass and steel that is their protection against the unruly bands of Outsiders that roam Mundreel and the deadly rain that carries the disease that kills all over the age of nineteen.
This skyscraper stands amid the urban devastation, the city rumored to have once been called "Montreal." Esther and her allies have created a haven on the rooftop, a garden that flourishes, and a home for her new baby, hidden from all but the very few who know her secret. But as Gideon's power grows and factions form, the ultimate darkness is born from greed, and Esther must find a way to save the citizens from themselves.
Interview With Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
SUSAN: I don’t know why, but the most fun characters to write are always the bad guys. And while I can’t speak for Laurence, I know I had the most fun with Saith, one of the two bad guys in Guardians. She’s only nine years old, and is tiny, pretty, and sweet-seeming; absolutely no one takes her seriously at first. But she’s also incredibly smart, manipulative, and a very shrewd judge of power. Once she sets out to take over the District with Gideon, she goes to such extremes to make sure no one stands in her way, even he’s freaked out by her ruthlessness. In fact, her lust for power is so immense, it eventually tips her over the edge; she becomes almost insane in her belief that she really is a god. But even though her behavior is monstrous, we made sure to give her a sympathetic and human side, as well; it’s much more interesting to flesh out your villains that way.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
LAURENCE: We would always outline. And then outline the outlines. And then outline the second outlines. After that, we would divvy up the chapters and each would write separately. Then we would rewrite each other’s stuff. In the end, we’d sit side by side and go through it together. But we had to be flexible enough to admit what wasn’t working. For instance, not to give anything away, but we had originally envisioned Eli to be a plausible romantic figure for Esther (or at least I did, Susan not so much). But Esther basically told us she didn’t like him in the way, so we rewrote it to make him a darker figure.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
SUSAN: My mother always gave us lots of books when we were little. I adored reading from a very early age and as soon as I figured out that people actually wrote the stories that I loved, I knew that was what I wanted to do, as well. I remember folding over pieces of paper, scribbling on them, and then calling them “books” when I was maybe three or four years old. As I grew older, I also fell madly in love with television and theatre, and that’s why I’ve written in those fields, as well. But other than a brief period in 4th grade when I wanted to be a part-time archaeologist, part-time veterinarian, and another time in college when I wanted to act, I knew I was going to be a writer.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
SUSAN: Well, I had lots of beginnings, which don’t really count. I loved coming up with titles, and so sometimes I’d just do a cover page with a title and illustration and leave it at that. But the first real story I ever finished was “Ghost Cat”, which I wrote in maybe 6th grade. I found it a few years ago and re-read it; it starts with a little girl whose cat is put to sleep, but she finds another cat who may or may not be that cat’s spirit. It wasn’t badly written, although it was incredibly morbid and kind of weird. Which I guess summed me up at that age. Or if you want to be blunt, at my current age, as well.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
LAURENCE: What I tell myself is: do something every day, so you feel encouraged and have some momentum. Set a reasonable goal for the day, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. By the end of a certain period of time, you’ll have a first draft, and you can go on from there. For me, doing it incrementally is less daunting. But I don’t allow myself to be lazy and not accomplish anything, either. In other words, be a tough but lovable taskmaster to yourself, as opposed to a brutal, annoying or lazy one.