Continuing on in our DIVERGENT lovefest, today we have a very sexy guest in our midst. A wonderful woman who helps bring amazing books to our needy hands as part of her job. I'd like to present to you: Molly O'Neill! She's Veronica Roth's editor and has been so kind to share some behind the scenes info about Divergent. Read on, it's fascinating!
What was yours/Harper Collins first reaction when you read the manuscript? Did you sense something 'big'?
By the time I was getting off the subway forty minutes later, I had cancelled my dinner plans because I knew I had to keep reading—I could tell that the manuscript was something special. I finished DIVERGENT at about 3:30 a.m. and stumbled into work the next morning and started babbling in a slightly incoherent and sleep-deprived way to my boss about a girl called Tris, and factions and choices and Chicago, and a mysterious boy called Four. Luckily, my boss, Katherine Tegen, recognized that an editor doesn’t have that kind of impassioned reaction to a book very often, but when she does, it means something. (And publishing may be the only job in the world where “I was up too late reading” is sometimes considered a valid excuse for coming into work late!) And once Katherine read the manuscript, she wholeheartedly agreed that Veronica was an incredible writer and that we had to publish her books!
What was the publication process like? Did you have to fight hard alongside other publishers to secure rights?
The agent told us that there were many other editors and publishing houses who also wanted to publish DIVERGENT, but everyone at HarperCollins really rallied around this book. Veronica’s agent sent me the manuscript on a Thursday night, and we closed the deal the following Monday. It was tremendously exciting for everyone involved (well, except for the other editors/publishing houses, I suppose), and a little over a year later, we’re incredibly honored to be introducing DIVERGENT, and Veronica Roth, to the world. As an editor, I feel really lucky to be working with an author like Veronica—someone who is so talented and so dedicated to the craft of writing, and also just a pretty amazing human being overall—and I hope we get to work together on many more books to come!
The cover art is incredibly well fitting for the novel, can you give us a little insight how the design process went?
If you had to choose a faction, which would would it be?
I’ve had this conversation with pretty much every person I know who’s read the book thus far, and I never get tired of it! I’d say that I was probably born Abnegation, but I’d have chosen Candor.
Thank you SO much for your time, Molly! We really appreciate you sharing these insights.
Tomorrow on my blog: Divergent forces us to face our fears!