Ally Condie is the author of the fantastic new novel, Matched, which is our November Book of the Month! She was nice enough to take the time out for a Q&A in the lead up to the book’s release on Nov. 30th (Dec 2nd for Australia).
**Beware of some spoilers ahead**
Cassia’s world in the Society is so complex and fascinating – where did the idea for the story come from?
Matched was inspired by a few different events—specific ones, such as a conversation with my husband and a time we chaperoned a high school prom—and general ones, like falling in love and becoming a parent.
Matched raises a lot of questions about our own society, as well as, what it means to be happy and the value of freedom – are they issues you wanted to particularly highlight?
Yes! I think happiness and freedom are both things we all want in our own lives now. And sometimes it feels like happiness and freedom don’t go hand in hand. Freedom means tough choices, living with consequences. But is true happiness possible without also knowing hardship and despair? I don’t think so. I think you have to have both sides of the coin.
How much research did you have to do before starting this novel?
I didn’t do any research before starting the novel, but as it progressed, I did do a bit of research into optimal fertility ages (so I’d know when the Society would match people) and also into game theory, the prisoner’s dilemma, etc. My husband is an economist so things like game theory and algorithms come up at the dinner table all the time. He was a great resource, but of course any mistakes in the book are mine alone. J
I guess, as the writer, you get to chose which paintings/songs/poems etc get to be included in The Hundred – did you pick your favorites or did you opt for a list of the most popular of each?
I haven’t actually made lists of all the Hundreds. The only ones I “know” for certain are the ones that I’ve used in the book. And my list of favorites would look very different from the Society’s Hundreds. The Society would be very careful not to include anything subversive or inflammatory. The Society has also eliminated a lot of diversity and culture when they made their Hundreds, which is creepy.
Though Cassia seems quite decided in this book on who her Match is, will we see Xander try to make a comeback?
I don’t want to give too much away—but I will say that Xander is not giving up.
The film rights for Matched have been picked up by Disney – has there been any progress so far?
Not yet! Disney is still looking for a screenwriter. But I will be sure to post any updates I can on the blog.
I know I’m dying to find out what happens next (as I’m sure everyone else will be), what can we expect from the next book?
Let’s see…what am I allowed to tell you? 😉 Book 2 will have two narrators telling the story. And it will be the next part of Cassia’s journey, both physically and emotionally.
Any quirky writing rituals or habits? Where do you prefer to write? Cafe, at home…etc
I like to write at home in my basement “office,” and I also like to write at the public library. I drink a LOT of water while I’m writing and I like to wear a certain hoodie. And I don’t snack a lot while I’m writing, but if I need to stay awake, cinnamon bears usually do the trick.
What’s currently in your to-read pile?
Where She Went by Gayle Forman, Great House by Nicole Krauss, and The Beyonders by Brandon Mull. I can’t wait to read them all!