Interview with Lissa Price, author of Starters

Kat here! Today, we have with us, Lissa Price, the author of an exciting, newly-released series!


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined…

1. Hi Lissa! It’s so great to have you. So, tell us a little about your journey to publication.

After having endured the typical writer’s struggles in the past, this book was sort of charmed. I got my agent in a day. She took it out and started getting calls within eight hours. It sold in six days over a holiday weekend and is being published ten months later by Random House Children’s Books, Delacorte as well as in 21-plus countries. So if I have a dizzy, goofy grin like someone who just got off Rock N’ Roller-Coaster, you’ll understand.

2. HOLY CRAP! That is QUITE a charmed book indeed! Talk about amazing! There have to have been SOME rocky parts, though 😉 What was the biggest challenge in writing Starters?

Starters went pretty smoothly. Easier than any other manuscript. I worked on it, got feedback, went back to address the notes. I tend to write a lean first draft to see the arc of the story and the characters, and then enrich it on later passes. It’s kind of like a sketch that evolves into a finished drawing.

Something I can’t talk about, because it would give too much away, but there were some special challenges in the writing that readers will get after they’ve read it. Is that mysterious enough?

3. We totally understand. A writer’s gotta keep mum sometimes! But to clear up mysterious on other fronts, what’s a typical writing day for you?

I first answer email from NY—my lit agent, editor, publicist or one of the terrific team at my publishing house. It also could be my foreign agent or one of those publishers or their publicity departments. I also blog at League of Extraordinary Writers, as well as maintain my own site: And I tweet for myself and also for my fellow Apocalypsies who have a book release or some good news. I might also deal with interviews that my publicist has chosen. Last week I did a week of Random Buzzers Q and A.

After hours have evaporated with social media, I try to get some writing in before I exercise and eat lunch. I go back to writing, grab a quick dinner, then I’m writing until I go to bed late very late. This is if it’s not an intense publicity day. I had a TV crew shooting me the other week for two days. And I had one really long day of email and social media where I was up so late I ended the work night by answering email that had just come as morning began for my German publisher.

I’ve been under an intense schedule with an accelerated publishing frame, so I have been doing almost nothing but writing now, seven days a week.

4. Wow, that is quite the schedule! Let’s say you were transported into your book; which scene would you most want to reenact?

The horseback riding scene with Blake.

5. Sounds wonderful! Talking about wonderful things, mix me a literary cocktail! What elements would you include in your ideal book? (i.e. 2 parts fantasy, 1 shot romance, and a twist of mystery!)

First, get a cocktail shaker. Pour in 1 shot of a character caught in a fresh dilemma, add a shot of an intriguing love interest, a scoop of a unique villain, mix in some emotional depth and shake quickly. Make sure you’ve got contrasting flavors. Pour into a chilled martini glass and add a secret surprise twist on the rim.

6. Fantastic 😀 Okay, now, after a wild night at Pub(lishing) Crawl, what is your ideal place to recover (anywhere in the world!)?

Find me recovering on a deserted beach in New Zealand that takes 7 days to hike to (or 1 hour by helicopter). And boy, that sounds so good right now.

7. Tell me about it. Any chance us Pub Crawl girls can join you there? Okay, any final words of advice or inspiration?

Yes, three things: Remember to enjoy the process because every stage has its benefits. Be kind but also respectful to other writers. And never give up.

Thank you so much for having me!

Thank YOU for agreeing to do this interview with us, Lissa!

Starters is on sale now, and it sounds amazing, doesn’t it?? Lissa was awesome enough to donate some Starters swag for today’s giveaway. Here it is pictured below: 2 rubber bracelets and 3 signed bookmarks! (the postcard is already addressed to me ;P). The contest is open internationally, and FOUR winners will be drawn. Two will receive a signed bookmark and a rubber bracelet, one will receive a bookmark, and one will receive a copy of STARTERS. The people receiving swag will also receive said prizes in decorated envelopes, because I can’t be allowed near one with a pen without doodling all over it 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LISSA (pronounced LISS-sa) PRICE studied with Caroline Leavitt, Donald Maass and Janet Fitch, and read at the Iowa Summer Workshop. She has lived in Japan and India, but now resides in the Southern California foothills with her husband and the occasional deer. She’s a member of SCBWI, SFWA, ITW, as well as one of the Apocalypsies, a group of 2012 debut YA and MG authors. In 2012 she joined Beth Revis and the talented gang of five 2011 and five 2012 debut YA dystopian and science fiction authors at The League of Extraordinary Writers .


46 Responses to Interview with Lissa Price, author of Starters

  1. Hayley G Mar 15 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I like all dystopian novels- so long as there’s a romance involved 🙂

  2. Amie Mar 15 2012 at 6:57 am #

    TEN MONTHS?! Excuse me while I choke on my Pepsi! Wow. (And another part of my head is howling with laughter that I think that’s quick, but hey, welcome to publishing!)

    I can’t WAIT to get my hands on Starters. Fingers crossed the rest of its journey is as smooth (if busy) as it has been so far!

  3. Judit_K Mar 15 2012 at 7:18 am #

    I haven’t read much of this kind, so I can’t tell…

  4. Julie Mar 15 2012 at 7:19 am #

    STARTERS sounds so intriguing! Thanks for the interview, Lissa and Kat! (And I loved your “final words.”) 😉

  5. Cassie Mar 15 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Honestly, any dystopian is good for me–i’m willing to try it out. But an agent in a day, a book deal in a little over a week, and published in 10 months?! WOW! Talk about a ride. And Starters sounds absolutely AMAZING! Awesome interview.

  6. Lucy Mar 15 2012 at 7:40 am #

    It has to have a romance to it.. but I can survive either way

  7. katherine S Mar 15 2012 at 7:49 am #

    I’m currently reading Starters….its amazing! It has been a page turner from the beginning. I LOVE dystopian novels.

    Thanks for a great interview!

  8. Erin Bowman Mar 15 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Great interview, Kat. And STARTERS sounds right up my alley. *adds to TBR pile*

  9. Kayla B. Mar 15 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Great interview! I am floored that your road to publication was so short. I really have to read the book now. 🙂

    My favorite dystopian novels are the ones that explain why the corrupt government has been allowed to thrive. It is not enough to just know that it is there. I also want to know what caused the people to give up so much and/or allow horrible things to happen.

  10. Gwen Cole Mar 15 2012 at 8:54 am #

    I don’t think I really care what kind it is, as long as the characters are strong. But Sci-fi is always more interesting to me 😀

  11. Christina Kit. Mar 15 2012 at 10:02 am #

    I love dystopians where it’s not just a war that destroyed everything, there’s something scientific! Like Starters! Thanks for sharing your road to publication!

  12. Carl Mar 15 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Actually this book is very close to the kind I like best and I’m not just sucking up. The concept of young people becoming aware of their potential for good or evil is more of a contemporary topic than dystopian so this book seems like a good bridge between sub-genres, don’t you think?

  13. Lori M. Lee Mar 15 2012 at 11:24 am #

    This sounds exactly like the sort of dystopian novels I love best. A complex and twisty plot, a futuristic and unique society that revolves around a dependence on technology. Plus, that cover is creeptastic.

  14. Teri C Mar 15 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    I love dystopian novels like starters in that there is a constant questioning on what is going on. Not all of the citizens are disillusioned, and there is a struggle to survive.

  15. Kaya H Mar 15 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I really enjoy the dystopians in a future somewhat like ours but collapsed where the characters are fighting against authority and struggling to survive but take care of what/who they are fighting for. the hope in the dark.

  16. Tezza Mar 15 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I honestly enjoy all kinds of dystopian novels. I have become a recent fan of dystopia since lately there are some great novels I have read. Most of all I love the ones that have a romance intrigue in them. But I do prefer post apocalyptic kind of scenarios because if anything, I like to know the different kinds of after maths there could be awaiting in the near future. I like to be prepared mentally at least. If it happens BAM! oh I read that in a book – I’m good to go! lol
    Thank you for hosting this giveaway!!

    • Tezza Mar 15 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      my entry name btw is SpadesHigh Reads =)

  17. Krystel Mar 15 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Starters sound really interesting, and I have definitely added it to my tbr list. And I must say its AMAZING to get published in 10 months. So, congrats on that! Thank you for the interview as well as the giveaway!

  18. Lexie B. Mar 15 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I love it when an author can come up with an idea that’s incredibly fresh and excitingly different despite the rush of dystopians to the market in the past few years, and I love one that can still manage to incorporate the original intentions of dystopia: to make some sort of comment on society. Some dystopians are more fun than anything, and I love them, but the ones that make me think, that make me wonder if, hey, this could be us someday, those are the ones that stick with me.

  19. Emily Mar 15 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I pretty much love all dystopian novels. I prefer YA ones, with romance and that are really gritty.

  20. ephrielle Mar 15 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    This book is everywhere. I know I certainly wouldn’t want to be the heroine.

  21. ephrielle Mar 15 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Kind of dystopian? I like them all since they are so scary.

  22. Becca H Mar 15 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    My favorite kind are the kind that has equal parts romance and action.

  23. Vivien Mar 15 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I love the uber gritty dystopian novels. The darker the better. I think that’s what makes a dystopian novel. Something that is very similar to our own world. This makes it realistic. I love this genre. Not too many novels have disappointed me.

  24. Jasmine Stairs Mar 15 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    I enjoy dystopian novels which explore relationships other than the romantic. I mean, I like romance, but goodness knows I am going to the line for my little siblings, or for my parents. And there I’ve just talking myself into reading Starters. Well done, me. 😀

  25. Erica Mar 15 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I love dystopians of all kinds! My favorite one right now is “The Windup Girl” by Paulo Bacigalupi. So great!

  26. trayche Mar 16 2012 at 10:34 am #

    I don’t know. Something like the Hunger Games, with a lot of action and stuff

  27. Soumi Roy Mar 16 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    I love dystopian novel which include some forbidden love , mesmerizing action against the torture and cruel rulers. A book that will have both male and female lead strong and capable of standing against the wrong, a plot full of surprises and twists just like Starters.

  28. Brandi Ziegler Mar 17 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    Loved the cover and interview so much that I instantly downloaded STARTERS onto my Nook. 100 pages in and loving it! fThanks, Kat!

  29. ShaynaGier Mar 18 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    I absolutely must get ahold of this book!

  30. Jaime Lester Mar 19 2012 at 4:08 am #

    Anything similar to Divergent and The Hunger Games. Factions and famine and kick butt hero’s or heroine’s. I also just read Article 5 and that one was also really a great dystopian. I guess I like them all! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Jaime Lester-

  31. Priya Mar 19 2012 at 5:55 am #

    I’m not much of a dystopian reader but i’m mostly attracted to one with any increased or improved human ability or something related with more of inner emotions (i’m particularly interested in What’s Left of Me).
    I’m pretty much ready for controversial ones as well.

  32. Ashley Maker Mar 19 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I haven’t read a lot of dystopians, though I have a few on my reading wish list. I really liked The Hunger Games though. For me, it kind of set the standard 🙂

  33. Teresa Mar 19 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    My favorite dystopians (and the ones I think about writing) are basically extrapolations of real-life things. Things that tie in to life as we know it, and then this world is created with strings to how it used to be. (If that makes sense.)

  34. kati Mar 19 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    This sounds really good. *_*

  35. Diana Mar 19 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I love dystopian novels like Hunger Games. They present a world that is almost like ours, but has changed in a way that could really happen to us, too.
    It’s great to see all these ideas about what the new world looks like and how people try to survive it.

  36. Best Tan Mar 20 2012 at 6:28 am #

    I’m interested in dystopian novels, though I haven’t read many! I’ve read one classic (1984) and some YA dystopians like The Hunger Games, Incarnate and Under the Never Sky. I haven’t read many dystopian books at all to know which kind I like best! Right now, I guess it’s YA dystopians!

  37. Llehn Mar 20 2012 at 10:04 am #

    So long as they are thought provoking.

  38. Megan Conway Mar 20 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Ones where it’s our world but in the future and with a twist to it. For example, with The Hunger Games the technology is extremely advanced from what it is now, and in Article 5 the Bill of Rights is replaced with something that is completely ridiculous. I also like a little bit of romance, but not too much. Again, two examples would be The Hunger Games and Article 5. There is a romance going on, but it’s not the focal point of the story, it’s just a side story. The main focus is on over throwing the government.

  39. Crystal G Mar 20 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    i like dystopian novels that makes me think about what is going on as go through the novel

  40. Judy Mar 20 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    I like dystopians that are more like thrillers. I don’t like fake dystopians where everybody lives in a sheltered space and nothing bad ever happens!

  41. Aimee Cook Mar 21 2012 at 1:05 am #

    I like dystopian books that are kind of sci-fi and make you think about the future 🙂

  42. Sara (The Hiding Spo Mar 21 2012 at 10:59 am #

    So far, my favorite dystopian novels are those that have to do with the spread of disease or other medical things like that. Though, honestly, I haven’t read any dystopian novels that I didn’t like, so…

  43. Anna Dase Mar 21 2012 at 11:26 am #

    I just recently started reading Dystopian and I loved the Hunger Games Trilogy and Divergent.

  44. Jasmine Rose Mar 21 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I like dark, gritty, emotional dystopians best.

  45. Hannah F-S Mar 22 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I like all sorts of dystopian novels. With romance or without. War, plague, something entirely different. I haven’t read one I didn’t like.

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