Suzanne Collins began her career in 1991 writing for children’s television shows. She worked on several Nickelodean shows including Emmy nominated “Clarissa Ezplains it All, and the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo”. She also co wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special “Santa Baby” and was the head writer for “Clifford’s Puppy Days”.
Suzanne’s first foray into writing children’s books resulted in “The Underland Chronicles” , a 5 part fantasy/war series which was a New York Times best seller.
In the hit Hunger Games series, which has been sold in 35 foreign language editions, and whose rights are being made into a movie, Suzanne Collins is noted for continuing to explore the effects of war and violence on youth who are coming of age.
In an interview with Teenreads.com, Suzanne describes her idea for the Hunger Games :
“A significant influence would have to be the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur.”
Even as a kid, I could appreciate how ruthless this was. Crete was sending a very clear message:
“Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.”
And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.
In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression “Panem et Circenses” which translates into “Bread and Circuses.”
The audiences for both the Roman games and reality TV are almost characters in themselves. They can respond with great enthusiasm or play a role in your elimination. 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 this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story”.
Suzanne currently lives in Connecticut with her family.