Monday, June 10, 2019

Interview with Taran Matharu for The Chosen

The Chosen (Contender #1)

by Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series. 

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

Can you briefly describe THE CHOSEN and its main characters? 

The Chosen tells the story of a group of modern-day American teenagers who find themselves transported through time and space to another realm. In this new world, they discover people, objects, artefacts and creatures from Earth’s history scattered through prehistoric jungles, and must scavenge an existence in this dangerous new world. But even as they get their bearings, they are forced to take part in a brutal tournament by mysterious overlords, fighting for their very survival. But what entities have brought them there, and for what sinister purpose? The only way to find out is to play the game. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

Cade Carter is sent to a court mandated boarding school as punishment after being wrongly accused of theft. Dejected and reduced to a shadow of his former self, Cade is at his lowest point when he finds both he and his classmates transported to this new world. 

Cade is resourceful, with a keen, curious mind that helps him stay alive in this new world. But he soon learns that merely surviving is not enough. He must earn the respect of his peers and lead them to victory. To do so, he will have to find the courage within himself to fight not only for his own life, but those of others. 

It is Cade’s internal journey that made me fall in love with his character. He transforms from merely a survivor looking out for his own interests to someone far more heroic. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

The Chosen is my love letter to Earth’s history. 

I grew up watching historical films, from Gladiator to Braveheart to The Last Samurai, not to mention the prehistoric saga of the Jurassic franchise. My favourite books were those that touched on our past—from War Horse to The Eagle of the Ninth. But I could never settle on one favourite time period. I wanted to write about them all. The Chosen has allowed me to do just that. 

History has always fascinated me, both what we do know and also what we don’t. From entire armies that marched to unknown fates, ancient cities once discovered and then lost to the mists of time, or treasure-laden ships that vanished without a trace, there are many mysteries and disappearances throughout our past. 

In The Chosen, these mysteries are answered. What if these disappeared groups and objects were taken to another realm, traveling across time and space? What if someone was taking these people? 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

Definitely “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

That’s a difficult question! By the time a film might get made, usually the actors you’ve dreamed of have out-aged their role, so I try not to get attached. 

On top of that, the main character, Cade, is mixed race Indian and Caucasian, and there aren’t that many young actors out there with that racial background. I do imagine him to look a little like a young Avan Jogia. 

The main female character, Amber, is a British School Girl from the 1980s. She is half Chinese and half Caucasian. I imagine her looking a little like a young Kristin Kruek. 

Summer is coming and we love to go out and enjoy the sun. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

Since the setting is in a hot, exotic jungle, I think a picnic in the park might be a great place to go. As for a drink, perhaps something similarly tropical, like a fruit punch! 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THE CHOSEN? 

Absolutely. Blue Light by Gary Paulsen has a similar premise and is an absolutely fantastic read. It came out in 1999 and was one of my favourite books growing up. 

What’s next for you? 

The sequel to The Chosen, tentatively titled The Arena (Contender #2), is coming in 2020. I’m almost done and I can’t wait to hear what people think!

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013. 

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

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