Soon after we finished Pandemonium, we had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Lauren Oliver, the brilliant author behind the Delirium trilogy! Besides being an amazing writer, it turns out that Lauren is also a super sweet (though we’re sure you already could have guessed that!)
You chose to structure Pandemonium much differently than the chapter-by-chapter set-up of Delirium. What brought that about?
I think I was just confronting a very broken Lena at the end of Delirium—and I needed, for my own sanity, to project forward, to know that she would turn out to be okay. So I began writing about her future self, and then I just continued alternating back and forth.
Were there any certain governments or organizations in history that inspired the political themes Pandemonium takes on?
This year was a landmark year for public unrest. In America, I was inspired by the Occupy movements, and I was deeply inspired by the so-called Arab Spring, and the demonstrations of a furious public in the streets of various repressive and fundamentalist regimes. All that was a big influence, yes.
You’ve introduced us to several members of the resistance, a few of which have amazing backstories. Did you invent backstories for all the characters? Will we hear more of them in the future?
I do have a sense of the backstories of the characters in the Wilds, yes—I find it helps to know more about your characters than you can put on the page. And we do learn more about certain members of the resistance in Requiem, although unfortunately, there simply isn’t room to speak about everyone.
We’ve heard lots of fans say that while Delirium is about love, Pandemonium is about anger and resentment. Would you agree?
Oh, wow! I hadn’t heard that. Pandemonium is a much more explosive book, it’s true. It deals with a lot of things—grief, anger, prejudice, and also, perhaps, healing.
You are the master of heartbreaking cliffhangers! Do you feel a bit bad leaving fans on the edge of their seats for roughly a year at a time or do you think it adds to the overall story?
The book had to end that way—I’d always intended for it to end that way. I feel badly that people must wait a year—I initially wrote “Hana” partly to appease fans who wanted more of the world, of the characters—and I can imagine that I might attempt a similar e-novella to keep readers appeased. But I do think hungering for a book is never a bad thing, as painful as it might seem!
Now that we know Lena’s mother is alive and part of the resistance, can we expect for her to play a bigger role in Lena’s life?
No comment! But I’d be surprised if we have seen the last of her.
Did you anticipate uneasiness from readers with the introduction of Julian and the love triangle element?
Oh, yes, certainly. But it bothers me when people refer to it as a “love triangle.” I’d prefer that people wait until the third book to see the way that things shake out!
We are both elated and crushed by the return of Alex, given the circumstances. Is it safe to say that he’s changed just as much as Lena, if not more?
Oh, absolutely. He has had some dark, dark times.
In Pandemonium, Lena is stuck in between who she was and who she will become. Can we expect a more defined woman in Requiem?
That is a beautiful way of phrasing it. And yes, in Requiem, I think that we (and she!) learns exactly who she will be.