Victoria Aveyard, the author of King’s Cage, the third installment in the bestselling Red Queen series shares some of her pop culture favorites, from her love of Princess Leia and Hermione Granger to why Fox’s Pitch needs to get renewed.
Favorite book as a child
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It was my first foray into fantasy. I’m also totally a child of Harry Potter. I was nine when I first started reading the books, and I was 17 when the last one came out. I got to grow up with Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
The book that cemented you as a writer
Lord of the Rings. That really set me on the path of not only do I love telling stories, but I want to tell stories like this. I wasn’t a big movie fan, and then Lord of the Rings showed me what it was that I was latching onto in my favorite books and movies, and it was definitely world building. That’s always been my favorite part of writing now.
A book, movie or TV show that you have read or watched over and over again
When Star Wars is on, I can’t change the channel. I’ve got to let it run its course.
A classic you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read
My roommate is a gigantic Pride and Prejudice fan, like book, movie, the whole nine, and I’ve never read it, and she always just gives me such side eye, and I totally deserve it. I’m a huge fan of the movie, though.
A book you consider grossly overrated
Probably any book that Donald Trump has written.
The last book that made you laugh out loud and the last book that made you cry
Definitely Mindy Kaling’s last book. I absolutely love her show and the way she lives her life. [As for] books that made me cry, I don’t cry that often. I got very emotional [when] reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. That follows a bunch of different families through World War I, and there was a moment where, in the middle of a telegram, someone tells someone else that Germany invaded Belgium an hour ago. The weight of that moment was very emotional for me.
A fictional character that is your hero
Princess Leia was my first and favorite feminine hero. I first saw Star Wars when I was maybe three or four, and you’re introduced to this short girl in a white dress who’s standing up to the scariest looking guy you’ve ever seen in your life, and just giving it right back to him. Of course, I’m very, very sad over Carrie Fisher and her mother[‘s deaths]. Then, I grew up with Hermione Granger as well. I was a girl who was a know-it-all with bad hair who got told by teachers to put her hand down, and knowing that Hermione was the same, and eventually saves the day for everybody, was really nice.
Which actor would you want to play you in a movie
I have been told that I peripherally resemble Hayley Atwell, which is very, very flattering. I love her as an actress, and she’s a really great feminist icon. Then in terms of just personality and life, I love Mindy Kaling.
The TV show do you think doesn’t get its due
Pitch on Fox is easily one of my favorite shows and definitely needs to get renewed. I will lead the protest if it is not. That show is so good, and a really great show for women, and especially young girls to watch.
The last TV series you binged
The Crown. Although I didn’t really binge it in the usual way because The Crown is so slow, but in a very relaxing, calming and really cerebral way. So I would watch two episodes at a time and then leave it. Before that, like everyone else on the planet, I watched Stranger Things in three days.
A song you can listen to on repeat for 24 hours
I did this for part of writing King’s Cage. When I was really in a crunch, I listened to Hamilton, something like 70 times in a row, and I actually got to the point where I could make it just loop the part where they were like, “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” It was a very good motivator.
The first album you bought with your own money
The first Evanescence album. It’s called Fallen. I was and still am a huge Evanescence fan.
Favorite song, album, or artist to play while you write
The greatest hits of Fleetwood Mac. Those are very good to write to because you can trance out to them, and then I don’t know any woman on Earth who isn’t inspired by Stevie Nicks.
Your dream dinner party guest list — living or dead
Definitely invite Mindy Kaling, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth the first and second. I would love to chat with both of them. Michelle Obama, because everyone on Earth is at this point like, “I would love to be friends with Michelle Obama.”
The fictional place you’ve dreamed of moving to
The Shire. I would make an excellent hobbit. They have a pretty good life going on [where] they live in this medieval, chaotic, scary world, but they have glass, and a postal system. They’re very technologically advanced for Middle Earth, which people seem to overlook.
The fictional character’s powers you would want to have
Time travel. So I would want to be Hiro from Heroes.
The fictional dystopia you think you could live in
By definition, none of them are places I want to live in that much. [But] I guess The Matrix is technically a dystopia, and I would not mind being one of the pod people. Just let me live my normal life in my computer simulation.
What fictional characters would you want on your side in a zombie apocalypse
Magneto, because being able to control metal in a zombie apocalypse would be offensively and defensively very handy. Of course, I’d need to guarantee that he’s not going to kill me or turn on me. I would definitely want Darth Vader on my side. [And] Furiosa. She’d definitely whip me into shape.