Lauren De Stefano: Wither Q&A Part 1

Today, we are thrilled to present to you part 1 of our 3-part exclusive interview with Wither author Lauren DeStefano!

What’s the story behind the story? What was your inspiration/creative spark for WITHER?

If I knew, I’d bottle it and take a swig every time I was hurting for writing mojo. All I know for certain is that I had the flu, my agent told me to write something out of my comfort zone, and I thought it would be a short story; some combination of those things birthed this story.

WITHER includes a lot of unsavory elements — polygamy, kidnapping, forced marriages, teen pregnancies, etc. What was the most difficult subject to write about?

None of those things, actually. The hardest part was getting started. The hardest part for me is always the beginning, when I don’t know who my characters are yet, or if the story will even be one worth telling.

There are a lot of disturbing elements to the dystopian world you’ve created. But what’s the most frightening aspect to YOU, and why?

The idea of a promised death date is pretty terrifying, but if I remove myself from the story, there’s not much solace in the uncertainty of when death will come, either.

One more question about those extremely adult situations in WITHER … what do you hope readers will take away from those scenarios?

What readers take away from that is entirely up to them.

What kind of research did you do for WITHER?

This story really combined a lot of elements that have interested me for years: polygamy, genetics, and a lot of “what ifs,” so I would say the research was years of following those subject matters. It never felt like a chore.

We know you can’t give TOO much away, BUT … what can we expect in book 2 & 3? What’s ahead for Rhine, Gabriel, Linden, et. al.?

It’s not over yet for any of them. That’s about all I can say.

Will we ever meet Rowan in person? Will we get to find out what he’s been up to since Rhine went missing?

The Rhine and Rowan arc will be given the most fitting and just conclusion I can imagine.

What’s the story behind the June Beans? Is there more to them than meets the eye? Or am I reading into that too much? Are they just candy?

No comment.

*In which Novel Novice stares back slack-jawed, wide-eyed and struck silent for several long moments in response to that “no comment” … *

On a related note … is there anything in the real world that you can point to and say, “That’s about as close to a June Bean as you’ll get”?

They look like a cough drop, but they taste like an over-sweetened Jolly Rancher.

As a reader, our feelings toward Linden keep vacillating. Is he ultimately a good guy or a bad guy? (too spoilery?)

I’d have to counter that question with a question: What makes a person bad or good? I think this is something readers will have to decide.

In the book, Linden’s estate is supposedly located in Florida. But there seems to be a significant amount of snowfall. So what gives? Is this the result of some vast environmental change in your future world? Or is it that they’re not actually in Florida? (Or am I getting paranoid about this and jumping to conclusions??)

They are in Florida. From Rhine’s (as yet) limited understanding, significant changes and deterioration in the landscape have affected the climate.

Many thanks to Lauren and Simon & Schuster. Tune in tomorrow for part 2!

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