Kiera Cass talks latest YA novel, 'The Heir'
When Kiera Cass started her Selection series, it was just meant to be a trilogy. But the story about America Singer and Maxon Schreave had other plans. After book three, The One, came out last year, Cass’ editor asked the author to write a second epilogue to close up the story. And out of that, The Heir was born.
“It was accidental,” Cass says. “But I’m excited that I get to stay in the world a little bit longer. I don’t think I was quite ready to leave.” The Heir, out Tuesday, jumps forward in time and follows Eadlyn Schreave, the daughter of America and Maxon, as she (reluctantly) participates in her own Selection. Here, Cass talks about her latest release and revisiting the series with a fourth and fifth book, and then read on for an exclusive excerpt of The Heir.
EW: Will there be more books after The Heir?
KIERA CASS: Yes. I’m working on the second one right now, and I feel like everything will be pretty complete in two books.
Does the next book have a name?
It does not have a name. We’re fiddling around with a couple of things, but nothing official yet.
Other than the character shift, what’s the biggest difference between this book and the original three novels?
Personally, I hope that I’m a better writer at this point. I hope that if you go back and read The Selection, by the time that you get to The Heir that it reads better. But really the difference for me is being in America’s head versus being Eadlyn’s. They’re just different people. Eadlyn was raised to be a queen. She was raised to be a leader, and that has made her a very different person. She’s very sharp and sometimes hyper-critical of things. America was braver than she knew, and just didn’t know a lot about herself. Eadlyn thinks she knows everything about herself, but doesn’t. It’s interesting the way they express themselves.
How would you tease The Heir to someone who doesn’t know what the story is about?
It follows Eadlyn through her own Selection process, which is something that she never thought she would have, as opposed to Maxon who always knew this was going to be on the horizon for him. It’s one of those things when you go through any sort of challenge or any sort of season, it kind of sharpens you. I don’t think she thinks she needs any sharpening done. She thinks that she is independent and knows herself very well, but it’s really surprising what the boys bring out in her. And also [you get] to see all the old characters. Maxon and America are still around. All the buddies are still there, and that made me happy to check in later in life.
Was it strange to write about a Selection from the chooser’s perspective?
It is weird. When you were with America and you were with the group of Selected, I feel like you could see more of the process. And then for this, the guys are kind of off. They’re away. It’s just different. I’m curious to see how people will take that in. It was a bit more of a party in the first one because you got to hang out with everybody. And in this one, Eadlyn’s a bit more isolated so you don’t see quite as much. That’s been a challenge.
The Selection has passed through a few different hands trying to make the jump to the small or big screen. But the most recent update is that Warner Bros. won the film rights in April. How do you feel about the latest movie news?
I’m feeling really positive. Do I think it’ll make it to the end to the screen? It’s still kind of in a hard place to make that call. I’ve been told not to celebrate anything until you’re in the limo on the way to the premiere. Before that, anything could happen. But the team that I have this time around has been really great and very supportive. They’ve kept me much more informed, and I’ve gotten to see a few things, read a few things, and get some opinions back. I have been asked some really interesting questions about ways to switch things up. I’m really excited to see where it goes. And I’m hoping that it will get to the big screen. I feel like this would be a pretty good representation from what I’ve see so far. We’ll cross fingers, and see how it goes. But nothing is final at this moment.
Are you working on any other projects?
I’m working on the fifth book. HarperTeen has purchased the rights for The Siren, the book that I self-published before The Selection. So we’re reworking that. It was intimidating at first because it had been what it was for so long, but I am excited to take those characters and look at like, “Oh, if I had an editor and someone here to help me polish it, this is what it would look like.” So that’s been fun. And I am under contract for two books after this, but I don’t know what those are quite yet. [Laughs] So we’ll see where that goes.