Suzanne Collins started out in 1991 writing for children’s television shows. She worked on several Nickelodean shows including Emmy nominated “Clarissa Ezplains it All, and the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo”. She also co wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special “Santa Baby” and was the head writer for “Clifford’s Puppy Days”.
Suzanne’s first children’s books was “The Underland Chronicles” , a 5 part fantasy/war series which was a New York Times best seller.
The Hunger Games series became a huge best seller and has sold in 35 foreign languages in countries right around the world. For Suzanne the story explores the effects of war and violence on those who are coming of age.
She told Teenreads about her idea for The Hunger Games
“A significant influence would have to be the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur.”
And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.
In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression “Panem et Circenses” which translates into “Bread and Circuses.”
The audiences for both the Roman games and reality TV are almost characters in themselves. They can respond with great enthusiasm or play a role in your elimination. I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story”.
Suzanne now lives in Connecticut with her husband, their two children, and two adopted feral kittens.