'Divergent' author, Barrington native Veronica Roth to discuss new novel at C2E2

Most people would say that Veronica Roth did pretty well with her first series of novels.

After all, the “Divergent” trilogy - a young adult fantasy saga set in dystopian Chicago - was hugely popular, spawned blockbuster film adaptations and resulted in Roth being mentioned in the same breath as YA superstars Suzanne Collins (“The Hunger Games”) and J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter books).

Roth is proud of the “Divergent” books, but she's quick to point out that she made some mistakes while writing them.

“I got myself into trouble with things like structure and world-building,” Roth said. “I was a beginning writer. But I learned from the mistakes. I did a lot more planning when writing the new books, lingered over details for a longer time.”

"The Fates Divide" by Veronica Roth will be released on Tuesday, April 10.

Roth, a Barrington native, is a featured guest at the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, which runs Friday through Sunday, April 6-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago. She'll sign autographs, talk to fans and speak on panels, besides being a fan herself.

What Roth looks forward to most is introducing fans to “The Fates Divide,” her new novel. It's the second and final part of a sci-fi saga she launched last year with the book “Carve the Mark.” The new novel officially goes on sale April 10.

“I can't wait to talk about it,” she said. “I've done more with point of view in this novel, and I'm really happy with how this particular universe and the creatures that live in it come through in the book. I hope the fans love this world as much as I do!”

“The Fates Divide” and its predecessor, “Carve the Mark,” revolve around characters who belong to rival nations in a faraway galaxy. Together, the books reflect Roth's nearly lifelong passion for the kind of world-building found in classic, sweeping science-fiction like Frank Herbert's “Dune” and the “Star Wars” movies.

Fans at a previous year's C2E2 stream through displays, vendor booths and more during the three-day expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. Courtesy of C2E2

“I was in sixth grade when my dad told me I should read 'Dune,'” Roth said. “I might have been a little too young for it, but it opened my eyes to the power of that kind of fiction. I love imagined futures, and space, and weird technology. That kind of story can be a wonderful escape.”

Roth started writing as a child, but she began to take her hobby more seriously when a teacher at Barrington High School encouraged her to submit her stories to writing contests. Later, while studying at Northwestern University, she famously wrote the first draft of “Divergent” during her winter break.

Now an established literary star, Roth says she works hard to continue growing as a writer.

Fans dressed as Batman villains attend a previous Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), which returns to McCormick Place in Chicago April 6-8. Courtesy of C2E2

“I'm always writing, trying new techniques, working on fun projects,” she said. “I find that the work naturally propels me, pushes me to accomplish new things.”

Roth will attend C2E2 on Friday and Saturday, April 6-7. In addition to a special discussion of “The Fates Divide,” she will participate in panel discussions about the unique allure of the sci-fi/fantasy genre and the legacy of the Harry Potter books.

She hasn't appeared at many pop-culture conventions like C2E2, which she said are refreshingly different from some of the more traditionally “bookish” events she has been part of.

“Even some of the things I'm scheduled to do at the show are as much about being just a fan as they are about me being a writer,” she said. “I like that. And when I'm not 'working,' I know there will be lots of great people-watching to do there.”

Veronica Roth at C2E2

<b>What:</b> C2E2 is a three-day pop-culture convention featuring stars from television and movies, comic-book dealers, costume contests, gaming and more

<b>When:</b> Friday through Sunday, April 6-8. Veronica Roth is scheduled to appear Friday and Saturday.

<b>Where:</b> McCormick Place, South Building, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

<b>Tickets:</b> Price varies by day; preshow tickets start at $30.75. See

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