Veronica Wolff on Cat Fights

In Veronica Wolff’s new book, Isle of Night, teenage Annelise is brought to an island to fight a group of women for the chance to become a watcher—a sort of vampire assistant. If she wins, it’s the ticket out of her terrible life. But if she loses? She dies. Creepy, right? Start reading on Figment here. And tune in below, as Veronica answers our sixth question about Isle of Night.


Why pitch Annelise against a group of women? Do you think it would have gone in a different direction, or have a different meaning, if she were going up against a mixed batch? 

*chuckling to self here* Okay, I see now how this totally seems like something that needs to be psychoanalyzed, but I promise you that’s not the case.

I had an idea in my head of a girls’ boarding school gone bad. Of young women digging deep, plunged into desperation, finding their strongest, truest selves. Would they help a friend, as we see with Drew and the girl who becomes her bestie on the island?

Facing other girls in a combat ring was a way to explore Drew’s personal journey in a very literal way. Fighting these pretty girls, we watch as she slowly triumphs over her negative self-image, mastering those gut feelings that she’s not attractive enough or strong enough.

And sure, gender issues do come up. (Like, no women in charge on this island? Whattup with that?!) But, to me, that’s the meaty stuff, creating a foundation of tension between the sexes that I will absolutely be exploring over subsequent books. For those of you who’ve read and gotten to know Drew, you’ll know, she’s not going to take this whole scene lying down.

The bottom line, though? I can go all English Teacher and discuss Themes and Morals. But at the end of the day, fighting against other women in a ring was simply a plot element that arose naturally out of this particular situation. Simply put, I believed that, if there were a world like this, this is how things would go down. And it won’t always be girl vs. girl, either. Believe me, it’s only a matter of time before Drew gets into it with a vampire. That’s what all this hardcore training is about, after all.

Want to read more from Veronica Wolff? Read her answers to our other questions!

Veronica Wolff on How to Name a Hot Dude
Veronica Wolff on Killer Islands and Seductive Vamps
Veronica Wolff on the Mysterious Appeal of the Vampire

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