We are so excited to bring you this exclusive Q&A with author Anna Todd! Anna’s new novel, The Falling, is available now.
What were some things that inspired THE FALLING?
The Falling was definitely inspired by events in my life. Not word for word by any means, but I was married to a soldier for fifteen years and grew up in an Army family. My grandpa and uncle both retired from the service. I was married at eighteen and lived at an Army post, meeting a lot of young wives and being married to someone who deployed three times before the age of twenty-three was a lot. We often say things like “thank you for your service” to soldiers who return home, but we don’t actually take the time to think about what they’ve gone through. We don’t vote for them to have better pay or less deployments. The frustration I built over a decade and a half is what inspired me to write this series.
What inspires you as a writer, in general?
I’m quite literally inspired by everything around me. Whether it’s a woman sitting alone at a coffee shop humming a song or a couple yelling at each other in a car passing by me. I can find inspiration in a film, a series, a song, a dream, a shower thought…My brain never turns off, so I am inspired by life in general.
Your protagonist Karina has a knack for fixing things. Can you speak to the themes of repair and recovery in your book?
This theme is something I carry over from my own life. I didn’t notice I did it until this series, but I’m an absolute “fixer” and am always trying to help people, even to my own detriment. With Karina, she is doing everything with the best of intentions, but her life isn’t exactly figured out and she should put herself before others sometimes, but she doesn’t, and it hurts her along the way. I’m fascinated by recovery and repair of people and relationships in general, so I think I’ll keep coming back to this theme in all of my works.
What draws you to the romance genre?
As a reader, I’m just completely enthralled with reading and mentally living in love stories. There’s something about romance that just speaks to me. As a writer, I’m fascinated by the way human behavior can be so altered by falling in love with someone. Love truly makes people do “crazy” things and I love exploring the psyche of what happens when someone falls in love. On top of that, I just love to be entertained while reading and writing, so I’m a sucker for love stories. Who doesn’t want to fall in love a hundred times a year? 😛
Your book deals with complicated family dynamics. How is writing familial relationships similar to, and different from, writing romantic relationships?
They’re very different, but the same! I really enjoy writing complicated family dynamics and do this in all of my books. I usually write dysfunctional families because of my own upbringing, and in my opinion, a big part of who I am comes from the conditions that I was raised in. Familial love is much more complicated to me because there is a lack of choice when it comes to unconditionally loving your family members. There’s an obligation there that’s projected onto us and it feels very different to me than falling in love with someone romantically. The stakes are usually higher, even if they don’t feel as intense, for me, there’s a lot of trauma, conditioning, and healing when it comes to familial love.
What is your writing process like?
Whew, where to begin? haha. I would love to say that I have this really stable, professional process for each novel and project I’m working on, but I absolutely don’t! Sometimes I start right in the middle of the story, sometimes it’s a certain scene that pops into my mind and I write around that. It’s never the same and even though I wish I was the kind of writer who can sit down at the same time each day and write a certain number of words, I’m just not. I will say that the only part of my “process” that’s the same each time is an enormous amount of coffee and a lot of hours of Spotify.
What do you hope readers take away from THE FALLING?
As a writer, I can’t decide what the reader takes away, even though we all wish we could. Haha. But hopefully, readers will be entertained at the least and fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other.
You are a master of writing character growth and change. What advice do you have for writers trying to hone this skill?
Thank you!! It’s my favorite subject haha. I would advise people to study people around them or even characters in films, the kind of choices they make, the way they interact under pressure. I also think “what would I be like if this thing happened to me?” or “How could this change a person if they go through xx?” But please remember characters aren’t always supposed to be perfectly functioning humans haha so leave a lot of room for flaws and growth! Don’t be afraid to have “unlikeable” characters.
What are your favorite things about being a writer?
I’m really lucky to be able to do what I love for a living. It’s such a rare thing that I will never take for granted and I wake up every day wondering how this happened to be my life. I love being able to connect with people from all over the world with a shared love of words, even if the book wasn’t written by me. I love to see and read the reactions when something I wrote resonates with a reader. I love being able to meet authors that I admire. I could keep going for days!
What are you reading?
Right now, I’m reading Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare and just finished In Chaos We Reign by Amo Jones. The two of them are among my favorite living authors and I devour their books every time they release one!
The Falling by Anna Todd, out now!
A new love story from Anna Todd begins with THE FALLING, the first novel in a new trilogy (Brightest Stars) from the #1 internationally best-selling author of the AFTER series.
Twenty-year old Karina is proud of the independent life she is trying to create for herself in Ft. Benning, Georgia. A dutiful officer’s daughter, supportive sister to a troubled twin brother, and caring friend to her roommate, Elodie, she always puts the needs of others ahead of her own, and prides herself on being a fixer of broken things―whether it’s the house she’s just bought or the fragmented family she works hard to keep intact.
Like anyone who has grown up around an army base, Karina also knows the background noise that follows men and women home from war. And when she meets Kael, a handsome soldier on the cusp of discharge, she’s immediately intrigued by his brooding presence and enigmatic silence. As their uncertain and unexpected friendship starts to turn into something more, Karina tries to piece together Kael’s story: he is emotionally closed off, recovering from wounds and other trauma in the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. In her practice as a physical therapist, Karina has a strong desire to help him heal, and though it challenges her many insecurities and anxieties, she has an equally strong desire to trust him. But that trust is fragile, like the preciousness of a soldier’s life. It can be gone in an instant. Ultimately facing a crossroads, their relationship will be tested by the one thing that Karina cannot accept, forgive, or understand.
Anna Todd’s Brightest Stars trilogy continues with THE BURNING and THE INFINITE LIGHT OF DUST, coming soon.
About the Author:
Anna Todd (writer/producer/influencer) is the New York Times best-selling author of the After Series and The Falling. Always an avid reader, Todd began writing stories on her phone through Wattpad with After becoming its most-read series with over two billion reads. The print edition of After was published in 2014. It has since been released in over thirty-five languages and has sold more than twelve million copies worldwide―becoming a #1 bestseller in several countries. She has served as a producer and screenwriter on the film adaptations of After and After We Collided. A native of Ohio, Anna and her family live in Los Angeles.
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