I love the trilogy form. I like the idea that you can establish a character in book one. And then in the second part, you can take the characters down to their darkest point. And then in the third part, you have total freedom either to give them redemption - or just to kill them.
In 'The Darkest Minds,' Zu's trauma manifests in her choosing to remain silent. It's her one small way she can feel in control of her otherwise uncontrollable situation.
'The Darkest Minds' came from a period in my life where I felt my most powerless, when I was a teenager.
When I was trying to figure out how the government might go about creating the camps in 'The Darkest Minds,' I researched the Japanese internment camps here in the United States, specifically propaganda the government used, and how they capitalized on people's fears.
After I finished 'The Darkest Minds' series, I knew I wanted to take a risk and work on something completely different - lighter in tone, with a little bit more romance, and a completely different set of characters - that would also, um, finally justify my liberal arts degree.
The powers of the teenagers in 'The Darkest Minds' were always meant to represent that inherent drive that young people have to make change, and how the world pushes back against it.
Going to the darkest place you can to make yourself really upset and adding that with the physicality and running around, you can work yourself into hysteria that way.
Having great friends in New York is like having great friends on an expedition into Darkest Africa in the early 19th century. You need them. And you need sponsorship on a daily basis. I have a painter friend here who says, 'I need two compliments a day just to break even.' And we gave them to each other, and we got them - and honestly got them.
The book is called 'A House in the Sky' because during the very, very darkest times, that was how I survived. I had to find a safe place to go in my mind where there was no violence being done to my body and where I could reflect on the life I had lived and the life that I still wanted to live.
I must thank my good friend Nigel Brennan. His strength of character in the midst of extreme hardship inspired me during the darkest days. Despite our separation, he always managed to find small ways to remind me that there are gentlemen in the world, even when I was surrounded by just the opposite.