The Elite, the sequel to Kiera Cass’ 2012 debut The Selection, hits shelves today. And fans of the series—myself included—couldn’t be happier. The trilogy follows 17-year-old America Singer as she enters the Selection, a lottery in which girls from all castes are chosen to compete for a chance to marry Prince Maxon. And while America finds herself unexpectedly falling for the prince, she can’t forget the boy she left behind, Aspen. In honor of The Elite‘s release, Cass answered some of our burning questions about the series. (Unfortunately, the author remained tight-lipped about the title for book 3, but she did confirm that she would reveal the name in conjunction with HarperTeen and Ustream later today.) Check it out after the jump, and get caught up on the series before The CW launches its TV adaptation.
What can you tease about The Elite?
I’ve been giving out some teases with HarperTeen, like America and Maxon spend the night together. And that we find out Marley’s secret and that has really bad consequences. I think that’s the biggest thing for me is Marley’s choices and Marley’s secret. That was hard to write. Right now I’m in the process of reading the third book out loud. When I read about Marley out loud, I just weep because I love her so much.
Have you known from the beginning who America would end up with?
When I sat down and wrote it out the first time, I did. I knew who she was supposed to be with. And as I got to the end of the first book, I realized I didn’t know America as well as I thought I did—a lot of things about her were different. So when I went back and rewrote it I realized she would pick someone different. So yes and no. Because the person that she ends up with changes. It is exactly who she would have picked, I just wasn’t paying attention.
Do you think it’s a choice that both Team Maxon and Team Aspen fans will enjoy?
I hope so. There’s still more to go, but I hope people are happy. I understand that not 100 percent of the people are going to be happy with who she chooses…. But I hope everybody’s happy because everybody does choose what’s best for them. We’ll see! It definitely makes me nervous.
Earlier this year you released The Prince, a novella told from Prince Maxon’s perspective. Are there more novellas in the works?
Right now, I think it’s just The Prince. I’d like to look at the possibilities more, but we’re still trying to get through the second book coming out, the third book being written, and getting to work on new post-Selection projects. So it’s kind of up in the air right now. I don’t think it’s completely off the table, but right now there are no plans.
This is probably like asking you to pick a favorite child, but which book do you like better: The Selection or The Elite?
Just because I was with the first book for so much longer, I think it probably feels a little bit more important to me. It’s really strange because the second book, The Elite, we gutted twice. The beginning and the end are pretty much the same as they’ve always been, but a very large portion of the middle has changed. So it feels a little strange to me still. I think things are in there that aren’t! [Laughs] It doesn’t feel quite as familiar to me. But I love it, though, and I love what it’s become.
What other projects are you working on?
I don’t have a name for it yet, but it’s a [young adult] story about a girl who’s in this academy where unwanted children go and are raised to be companions for other people. So the wealthy will purchase you, and you can be their BFF. If you have an insecure child, you can buy them a fat best friend. Or if you have a son who is an incredible athlete, you can buy him someone to train with who would never be allowed to compete against him because they’re like a second class. There’s a lot of restrictions in their lives, because their life is devoted to another person—they can’t have family of their own, relationships of their own, careers of their own. So it’s about this girl and her living for other people.