One of the best things about the Hunger Games fandom is all the great people we have met who love the Hunger Games as much as we do. Recently we had the opportunity to interview another terrific Hunger Games fan Lois Gresh,the author of The Hunger Games Companion : The Unauthorized Guide to the Series. We discussed her inspiration for the book, other books she has written, and current projects she is working on.
We enjoyed the opportunity to interview Lois and hope you enjoy her interview!
Most of our readers know you as the writer of the Unofficial Hunger Games Companion, but you have written a number of books. Can you tell us about some of your other work?
LOIS : First, thank you for inviting me to hggirlonfire.com. It’s nice to be here! I’ve written 28 books and close to 50 short stories. Half of my books are fiction. The other half are pop science books and companion guides.
In 2011, in addition to THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION, I was happy to see publication of my dark short story collection, ELDRITCH EVOLUTIONS. The stories span everything from hard science fiction to dark humor to fantasies to mysteries to outright horror. Some fall on the borderline that’s known as weird fiction, where I like to blend elements from the various genres.
I’m currently finishing a thriller called TERROR BY NUMBERS, which should be published very soon. My first novel was also a thriller, THE TERMINATION NODE.
As for the pop science books, some of the titles are THE SCIENCE OF SUPERHEROES, THE SCIENCE OF SUPERVILLAINS, and THE SCIENCE OF JAMES BOND.
And as for the companion guides, along with THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION, some of my other favorites are DRAGONBALL Z, THE SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, and of course, THE TWILIGHT COMPANION.
Regarding the companion books, do you become a fan of a book or series first, and then choose to write companion book? Or do you decide on the subject first, and then delve into the story?
LOIS : I’m typically a fan of the books or movies before I start writing a companion guide. Sometimes my editor asks if I’m interested in a particular series or film, and if so, I sign up to write a companion guide. Sometimes I suggest the ideas to my editor. It goes both ways. I’ve turned down opportunities to write companion guides about subjects that don’t interest me, so definitely, being a fan first is a big plus.
What about The Hunger Games made you want to write the Unofficial Companion?
LOIS : First and foremost, THE HUNGER GAMES gripped me from page one. Not only was the prose beautiful, the story literally shocked me. I was very moved by Katniss’ relationships with her mother and sister, by her commitment to feeding and taking care of them, even by Buttercup. I was curious about Gale right away, and moved by the story about Katniss’ father. Then there was that scene in which Katniss took Prim’s place in the reaping – oh my god, that was stunning. I stayed up all night to read the first book. I knew right away that I wanted to write THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION.
Is it harder to write a companion to someone else’s story or to write your own story?
LOIS: Both types of books interest me. Since I learned how to read as a little girl, I’ve been fascinated by both fiction and non-fiction. So thoughout my life, I’ve read constantly in a wide variety of subjects. When I sit down to research a companion guide, I have the joy of re-reading or browsing through 50 or more books, which I thoroughly love! I like sifting through ideas and facts, analyzing viewpoints, thinking about the structures of novels, the prose, the craft of writing, the characters, and so forth. I like learning about new subjects. And I really like dishing up speculations and discussions for other readers. I like entertaining readers.
As for fiction, writing a novel differs from writing a short story. Novels have complex layers, multiple main and secondary characters, sub-plots, varying paces. My short stories tend to be more experimental in structure and prose than the novels. Short and tight, they’re like bite-sized portions of fiction. The reader enters the world briefly. I think it’s harder to write a novel than a short story – simply due to the length and time required – but each form has its pros and cons, so I enjoy writing both.
My objectives are the same with fiction as with non-fiction: dishing up speculations and discussions for other readers, and most of all, entertaining readers.
What have been your favorite books or favorite genre of books?
Because I read constantly, this is a tough question. I’m fond of weird, genre-blurring fiction, anything dark, anything unusual. I think The Hunger Games sits on the boundary of science fiction and horror, for example, and it definitely qualifies as dark and unusual Young Adult fiction. I’m also fond of thrillers, anything from the original Ian Fleming James Bond novels to modern classics by Lisa Gardner, James Patterson, Joseph Finder, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, etc. I still love Anne Rice’s vampire series (and all vampire, mummy, werewolf, and zombie movies). William Gibson’s early cyberpunk drove me full-tilt into science fiction, and I’ve always preferred the dark edgy voices who came after him. China Mieville, who wrote Perdido Street Station, is one example. I still read HP Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes). I also read modern poetry and literary novels, tons of magazines and non-fiction books, and comic books. It depends on my mood. What I like most is finding a story or novel that surprises me. Anyway, thanks again for hosting me on hggirlonfire.com!
You can order The Hunger Games Companion : The Unauthorized Guide to the series HERE