Have you guys been obsessing over the Matched trilogy as much as we have lately? The books have been optioned by Disney to be made into movies and We got the chance to talk EXCLUSIVELY with the author, Ally Condie. Check out our Q&A below.
Matched is about a girl named Cassia who lives in a futuristic society where
the government chooses who you will marry. Cassia is totally happy when she is paired with her best friend Xander, until she sees a (handsome) stranger’s face flash across the screen! The stranger turns out to be a boy named Ky, and suddenly Cassia has to choose between two different boys and two different lives. The sequel, Crossed, is just as action-packed and full of young love. The last book of the trilogy, Reached, just hit shelves and we have some copies to give away to you guys!
We have prize packs that include all three books in the series! You should seriously check these out – Disney recently bought the rights to make a movie! Check out our exclusive Q&A with author Ally Condie below!
BOP&TB: What YA books influenced you the most as a writer and why?
ALLY: It’s really hard for me to separate myself as a writer and a reader. The books listed below (my top five favorites) are the ones that probably also influenced me the most as a writer, because, as a reader, I couldn’t put them down or get them out of my mind!
BOP&TB: What are your top five favorite YA books?
ALLY: Everything is Fine. by Ann Dee Ellis, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt, A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. This list is subject to change–I have a LOT of favorites–but these ones are some that I’ve read more than once. I don’t often re-read, so that tells me that I love a book when I want to go back to it.
BOP&TB: What inspired the Matched Trilogy? Can you tell us the story of the day you started writing it?
ALLY: My husband and I were having a conversation about marriage and dating. He pointed out that, in many countries, the government doesn’t have the power to define what marriage is the way the US government does. Instantly, my mind clicked–since our government has that power, what if there were a government that had all power over marriage/who you spent your life with? I knew immediately what I wanted the setting to look and feel like–kind of a prom-gone-wrong scenario. I think this came from chaperoning prom back when I was a high school teacher and seeing how important that one night felt to many students. I started writing the story right away after my husband and I finished talking. I give him full credit for the idea–that’s part of why Matched is dedicated to him!
BOP&TB: Did you ever picture famous faces when you were writing the characters? If so, which actors/actresses did you have in mind for key characters?
ALLY: I didn’t, actually. For me, the characters were very much themselves and not tied to any specific actors or actresses. But recently a lot of fans have been sending me pictures of Logan Lerman for Ky, and after seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I have to agree that he would be great. Of course, he could also be a fantastic Xander if he dyed his hair! 😉
BOP&TB: Tell us about the moment you heard the books had been optioned to be potentially made into movies! How did you react? Who was the first person you told?
ALLY: I was so excited! My agent happened to call when I was in the car with my husband and kids. I stayed in the car while everyone else went into the house so that I could finish the call in peace. I remember taking a few deep breaths before I got out and went to find my husband. He was the first person I told. Neither of us could believe it!
BOP&TB: Will you be very involved with the film adaptations?
ALLY: I have been able to speak with the screenwriters. Other than that, I don’t know! It’s a little bit out of my hands. But I think all the people involved will do a great job.
BOP&TB: What is the biggest change that happened between your first draft(s) and the published books?
ALLY: While the very last scene in Matched remained the same from beginning to end, the twenty or so pages leading up to that ending changed quite a bit over the course of the revisions. Something else that changed was Ky and Xander’s last names. Originally, they were reversed–Ky was named Ky Carrow and Xander was named Xander Markham–but then I decided to change them at the last minute. Sometimes when I’m speaking I still mix up the names because they were a different way for a long time!
BOP&TB: Do you have your next book planned already? Can you give readers any hints as to what it might be about?
ALLY: I do have another project in mind. I can’t say much about it at this point, but I think it’s okay to say that I’m very excited about it, and that the setting is different than that in the Matched Trilogy.
BOP&TB: Which character in Matched do you identify with most? Least?
ALLY: I identify quite a bit with the parents in MATCHED, who want to keep their children safe. My kids are little, and I know that I will always want to protect them, especially as they get older. I also realize that they have to make their own choices, as Cassia’s parents recognized near the end of Matched. I think I identify least with the main Official in Matched, the one who follows Cassia around and keeps meeting with her. To me, the story/person is always more interesting than the numbers. That’s just the way I’m wired.
BOP&TB: What color dress would you wear to your own matching ceremony? If you were suddenly dropped into the world of Matched, what one object would you choose as your artifact?
ALLY: My favorite color is blue, so I’d choose a blue dress–a light, bright blue, similar to the color used on the cover of Crossed. And if I could only choose one artifact to take with me, I’d take my wedding ring. It has a lot of personal meaning and my husband had to sacrifice a lot to buy it for me–we were in college and money was scarce. I don’t know what I’d do if someone tried to take it away from me!