Megan, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love THE CAGE--or visa versa?
My publisher calls the book "The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series." And I think that holds true! I adore the works of James Dashner and Scott Westerfeld, and I also think THE CAGE would appeal to fans of SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi.
What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?
There is a scene in THE CAGE that was very difficult to write emotionally. All of the captives react differently to the Cage. Some love the easy lifestyle their captors provide them and don't mind being observed, but others are determined to get home. One of the boys, Lucky, was taken by their alien captors as an ideal example of a strong moral sense. But as the book progresses, the Cage twists his morality, and he makes some bad choices that show just how dangerous humans can be.
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
I wrote three full manuscripts before my first book, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, sold. And I also had started or outlined about twenty more. I've never thought about going back and trying to get the trunked ones published because I think they just aren't strong enough. And that's true now. I have four published novels, and I still come up with ideas that just aren't winners. You can't be afraid to let go of an idea and move on to something stronger.
What do you hope readers will take away from THE CAGE?
Even though THE CAGE is about a human zoo, I'm really not trying to make any comment on the ethics of zoos. I think that when zoos are run well, they can be great tools for education and conservation. When they aren't run well, it's heartbreaking. What was more important to me with this book was rather to show human culture from an outsider's perspective. As their alien captors observe the kids, the kids make some startling observations themselves of what it means to be human.
ABOUT THE BOOKThe Cage by Megan Shepherd
Balzer + Bray
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy.
When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.
Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.
As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?
Purchase The Cage at Amazon
Purchase The Cage at IndieBound
View The Cage on Goodreads
ABOUT THE AUTHORMegan Shepherd was "born" into the book world, growing up in her parents' independent bookstore in Western North Carolina. She is the author of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2013), and THE CAGE trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2015). When Megan is not writing, she can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. She is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.
What did you think of our interview with Megan Shepherd, author of THE CAGE? Let us know in the comments!
Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin