Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships
far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile
delinquents--considered expendable by society--are being sent on a
dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second
chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission. Find out which when you readThe 100.
What was the inspiration behind The 100?
Kass Morgan: My editor, Joelle, had the idea for a title and thought it’d be fun to
develop a book about a hundred kids with dangerous secrets sent to recolonize a
nuclear war-ravaged Earth. I came on board early in the process and called on a
lot of my own interests, coloring the story with shades of everything from Lord
of the Flies to the Homecoming Saga, which was a major influence for me.
What was the most fun part about writing?
Kass Morgan: I enjoyed putting myself in the mindset of people who were seeing Earth for
the first time after spending their whole lives on a spaceship. It was
fascinating to think about the things we typically associate with
beauty—sunsets, trees, rivers etc.—and then imagine what it’d be like if
someone without our vocabulary had to describe them. Is a sunset intrinsically
beautiful? Or is it something we’ve only been programmed to think is beautiful?
Perhaps for someone who grew up among the stars, a mossy rock or even the body
of a dead animal would have more impact than streaks of color in the sky.
Did you discover any tricks or tools during the writing process?
Kass Morgan: The story is told from four different POVs, which can be a little tricky for
a writer, so I created four different playlists to help me get back into that
character’s headspace when it was time to switch to a new section. But in the
end, I found myself listening to the same few songs over and over again—tracks
that I used to skip over because they reminded me of past relationships. Those
songs turned out to be incredibly useful tools for tapping into memories of
heartache, which as everyone knows, is an essential part of writing YA.
I’m also an editor, and I’ve spent years listening to my mentor talk
about torturing characters—putting them in situations that evoke strong
emotions and force them to act. But now I think it’s just as crucial to torture
the writer! Listening to those songs proved so helpful that I decided to take
the process one step further: I found really emotional emails I wrote (and
received) at the end of an important relationship, which allowed me to recall
all the fascinating anguish of heartbreak and guilt.
I may not know firsthand what it’s like to set foot on earth
for the first time, but I can imagine what it’s like to be a strange, scary new
place with the person you believe poisoned the world you left behind.
How does it feel to have your book being turned into a TV show?
Kass Morgan: It’s awesomely surreal! I got to see the pilot, which was so exciting, I
could barely sit still. It was crazy to see characters I created on screen,
almost like turning on the TV and seeing last night’s dream being played out in
front of you. The writers and producers did a fantastic job adapting the story
for the different medium, and I can’t wait to see what fun ways they devise for
torturing the characters!
I was particularly excited when Henry Ian Cusick was cast as the Vice
Chancellor. I had a big crush on him during LOST, so the fact that he’s
involved in THE 100 sort of blows my mind. If I weren’t the consummate
professional, I might just tweak the plot to involve a shirtless scene or two .
The 100 is coming out in the middle of a big science fiction
moment, with movies like Elysium, After Earth, Star Trek etc. Do
you have any theories about why it’s become part of the cultural zeitgeist?
Kass Morgan:I think science fiction is the natural evolution of the
dystopian trend. Dystopian fiction and movies are a great way to examine our
anxieties about the state of the world, but to me, sci-fi is a vehicle for
exploring the solutions. In some ways, it feels more nuanced, more aware of the
grey areas between good and evil.
Did we catch a dig at vampire novels at one point in THE 100?
Kass Morgan: Definitely not a dig! I’m a big fan
of vampire novels; I think I wrote at least four essays on Dracula in college and grad school. Part of the fun of
sci-fi/post-apocalyptic fiction is imagining which elements of a culture will
withstand the collapse of civilization. Will our descendants be more interested
in our twitter addiction or vampire obsession? How will future generations of
school children analyze our peculiarities in their history homework?
How’s the sequel
Kass Morgan: I’ve having a ton of fun writing the second book, and just
spent a delightful weekend writing in the woods. It’s great for the forest
scenes, though less useful for the scenes on the ship. Maybe I should take my
laptop to the planetarium this weekend? I wonder if they have free wifi and Stumptown