Please give a warm welcome to author Lissa Price whose book Starters, a sci-fi thriller for young-adults, hits bookstores and libraries this month! Starters is the first in a duology of books (the second is Enders, due out December 12th), and it has a rip-roaring pace full of twists and turns galore. We met with Lissa after a shared event she had with fellow debut author Marissa Meyer (Cinder), and it was very clear what a huge fan of YA literature she is!

If you’re new to Starters, be sure to check out our review. Also check out John Scalzi’s blog where Lissa writes about how she got the idea for the series. Here’s a teaser:

My Big Idea was that in the future, desperate teens would rent out their bodies to rich seniors who could then enjoy being young again. It came to me in Costco, a few years ago. Trying to get a flu shot.

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Thanks so much for meeting with us! I’d just like to say that I really enjoyed Starters, and the way you set the pace was fantastic. You talked about some of the inspiration for Starters coming from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Did you have other literary inspirations?

I’m glad you asked that – Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron. I love that book! I am probably more passionate about that than the other two, partly because a lot of people haven’t read it and don’t know about it (even though it’s being developed into a film by Hugh Jackman’s company). I think she came up with such an amazing world. [Fisher] managed to get part of the old world in there but make everything new. I love different levels of reality–that’s my thing (MementoInceptionThe Matrix)–so, I love Incarceron.

If you had to break Callie down into a few sentences, how would you describe her?

I would say she’s tough, she never gives up, and when faced with adversity, she’s going to use her brain and pull through.

Why did you choose her as your protagonist, and what makes her so special?

Her name was inspired by The Hunger Games and Uglies [Tally + Katniss = Callie]. I’m a big believer that, when your life looks horrible and bad, you are the person who’s going to turn that around, and you will, you really will. I’m a big believer in the philosophy that you pick yourself up and you move on. Callie embodies that for me, that however tough her life is, she’s looking for answers and she’s going to survive.

What was your favorite character to write (besides Callie)?

The Old Man. Because he’s so interesting! I feel like he’s somebody that I’ve met–because that’s how your characters kind of come to you–and oh my gosh, he’s got that face with the changing mask… I think he’s very tricky.

What books would you recommend to reluctant readers and/or readers who enjoyed Starters?

I definitely recommend Marie Lu’s Legend, Beth Revis’ series [Across the Universe], and Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher.

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A heaping bunch of thanks to Lissa Price for spending her precious tour time with us! We enjoyed interviewing her–and hearing her and Marissa Meyer at the event–and can’t wait to read Enders when it comes out in December. All the best!

Images from Our Time in Juvie and www.publishingcrawl.com