5 to 1 Blog Tour Interview w/ Holly Bodger
Today we are excited to share an interview with Holly Bodger, author of the wonderful 5 to 1. Scroll down for the chance to win a copy!
Was it hard to switch between Sudasa’s and Kiran’s voices? Did you set out to write in alternating verse and prose?
My early drafts of this book were only in Sudasa’s point of view (so verse only). When I decided to add Kiran’s point of view, I wrote that in a separate document and then inserted it into Sudasa’s book. Aside from when I needed to do a full read-through of the novel, I always edited each character’s point of view separately. I don’t think I could have stayed in voice otherwise. This is partially because of the verse and prose, but also because they are such different characters.
How did you incorporate elements of present-day Indian culture into your futuristic society?
The first thing I did was a ton of research on the reasons behind gender selection in this specific area. In India, these choices are made for many reasons. There are biases toward girls, but there are also religious reasons (i.e., customs performed at death) and financial reasons (both dowries and property inheritance laws). Once I understood these, I was able to decide which parts of the Indian culture the new country would disregard in an effort to fix the problem.
When it came to incorporating clothing, I mostly kept that the same. I did buy quite a few pieces of clothing, shoes, and jewelry from India so I could understand the feel. I still remember the day I bought this stack of bangles that I’d said Sudasa’s grandmother always wore. Had I not actually worn these around, I wouldn’t have understood how much they jingle around when you motion with your hands!
For food, I looked up specific recipes and analyzed ingredients and preparation instructions. This part got considerably more complicated when I decided to incorporate the idea that women would eat certain foods in order to try to get pregnant with a girl.
For everything else—weather, landscape, history . . . basically, the things that would not change—I did a lot of research, most of which involved books, the Internet, and a million emails to my friend Sonali.
In your book, the characters, both male and female, are in many ways slaves to their gender. Do you think our choices are limited by our gender today? Do you see a society like Koyanagar developing in the future?
I don’t think our choices are ever limited by our gender, but I do think they are limited by those labels we place on people, many of which are attached to gender. There are still people out there who tell boys not to cry or play with dolls or wear pink, and there are still people who tell girls not to be too tough or too aggressive. Society can tell people to ignore these gender-based rules, but if they’ve been ingrained in someone’s psyche, it is not an easy task.
Outside of Western society, I do believe a Koyanagar of sorts already exists (in the reverse, of course!). There are many countries around the world where women have no value. They aren’t allowed to speak for themselves or make decisions for themselves. They can be bought and sold, and if they become the victim of sexual assault, they can be legally murdered. In some ways, the reality of some parts of the world today is much worse than anything I created in Koyanagar.
Do you think you might continue Sudasa’s story in a sequel?
I would love to do this! I always imagined this to be a two-part story: one part with Kiran living in Sudasa’s world and one part with Sudasa living in Kiran’s. I’d also like to explore life for Sudasa’s grandmother when she was a teen in current day.
You’re a big proponent of diverse books, and 5 to 1 is a wonderful diverse read. What are some books you’ve loved that you would recommend to readers who enjoyed 5 to 1 and are looking for more diverse voices?
There are so many facets to diversity (and so many books I love in each), but I’ll focus on diverse cultures for this list:
Thanks so much for stopping by Holly!
ABOUT 5 TO 1:
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.
Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.
This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.
ABOUT HOLLY BODGER:
HOLLY BODGER has a BA in English Literature and has spent her entire career in publishing. She is an active member of RWA and is a 2013 Golden Heart finalist in the Young Adult category. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.
5 to 1 Blog tour Schedule:
REVIEW TOUR & GIVEAWAY:
5/4 – Addicted 2 Novels
5/5 – YA Bibliophile
5/6 – Good Books & Good Wine
5/7 – Fiction Fare
5/8 – The Quiet Concert
5/11 – WhoRUBlog
5/12 – The Book Cellar
5/13 – Swoony Boys Podcast
5/14 – Resch Reads & Reviews
5/15 – Chapter by Chapter
5/4 – Bookiemoji – Guest Post
5/5 – The Book Swarm – Character Dossier
5/6 – Alice Marvels – Q&A
5/7 – Two Chicks on Books – GP
5/8 – Reading W/ABC – Q&A
5/11 – Pivot Book Reviews – GP
5/12 – The Irish Banana Review – Author and Cover Designer Interview
5/13 – No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
5/14 – My Friends Are Fiction – GP
5/15 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Q&A
Enter to win a copy of 5 to 1! (US/CAN only please).