Feels great. It's something I never expected when I wrote The City of Ember. I'd always been a writer, and I'd had books published, but Ember was my first novel. I was delighted just to have it accepted by a publisher--in fact, by several publishers, who bid against each other for it. I did not have a clue that it would be the success that it's been.
How did you first come up with the whole story about The City of Ember?
I grew up in the 1950s, when many people were worried that there might be a nuclear war. Some of them were building bomb shelters in their back yards. I think this influenced my idea for Ember—a city built to protect the human race from a terrible threat. But I was also just interested in the idea of a city that had no light other than electricity. What would it be like to live in such darkness, and to know that light and food and supplies were all running out? And not to know about weather or trees or animals (except for a few rats and insects) or any other places? All this grabbed my imagination. And once I'd written The City of Ember, I hoped it would make people think about our world—about the sun and the moon, the forests and the ocean, the wind and the rain—and how precious it all is.
Is the movie of The City of Ember becoming how you pictured it to be while you wrote the book?
I've seen only a few scenes of the movie, but I know that the director's vision is different from mine. His is quite fascinating and weirdly beautiful--it's just not the same as what I saw in my mind as I was writing. That's all right. All readers see in their own way, and filmmakers especially have very distinct visual ideas.
What is something that you can tell us that not everyone knows about the movie? What about the books?
The movie's director, Gil Kenan, told me that in one scene they were going to show a wall with portraits of Ember's former mayors. He wanted a picture of me to include as one of them! I don't know if the picture of me as a mayor made it into the final film; it might have ended up on the cutting room floor. But just in case--look carefully when you see the movie and you might spot me.
As for the books--not everyone knows that I meant for the name Lina to be pronounced with a long i--Lie-na, not Lee-na. I put a clue about that in the book: Poppy calls her sister Wyna. I thought that would let people know how I meant the name to be said. But hardly anyone notices the clue. In the movie, Lina's name will be pronounced Lee-na. So I guess I have to give up on that one and let people say it however they want.
Are you planing on writing another series? If so what will it be about?
I don't know yet what I'll write next. I have the beginnings of an idea--but I don't think in terms of series. (I never planned for The City of Ember to be the first of a series.) I'll write what I'm interested in, and if it leads to a sequel, that's fine.
Is there anything you would like to tell your fans and readers?
It's wonderful to hear from my readers. I've heard from people of many different ages (from 7 to 80) and from many different countries (including Brazil, Japan, Ireland, the Philippines, and Yemen). I try to answer every single e-mail.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Look around at the world! Isn't it amazing? Be good to it!
Thank you Ms. DuPrau for letting me ask you some questions. I am very excited for the movie because I know it will be as great as the books.
For all of you wondering about how I felt about Ms. DuPrau's upcoming book, the fourth book in the City Ember, stop by the Book Review Maniac tomorrow.
Hear what others are saying about Ms. DuPrau's books and the new movie coming out:
01 Charger, the 160acrewoods, A Childhood of Dreams, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, All About Children’s Books, And Another Book Read, Becky’s Book Reviews, Book Review Maniac, Cafe of Dreams, Comox Valley Kids, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Buzz, Hyperbole, Looking Glass Reviews, Never Jam Today