Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with two best-selling authors, Margaret Stohl and Veronica Roth. When Veronica’s first book, Divergent, came out, she was overwhelmed by its success. Margaret took Veronica under her wing “like when a kindergartener has a sixth-grade buddy.” As their friendship evolved, the mentorship started going both ways, and they now consider themselves each other’s “mental-health sponsors.” They discuss how to find friendship that makes room for imperfection in a career that turns you into a brand.
Veronica Roth, 32, a writer of young-adult and adult books who lives in Chicago. She is the author of the Divergent series, the Carve the Mark series, and, most recently, Chosen Ones.
Margaret Stohl, 52, a writer of novels, comics, and video games who lives in Santa Monica, California. She is the author of the Icons series, Royce Rolls, Spider-Man Noir, and other Marvel comics, and a co-author, with Kami Garcia, of the Beautiful Creatures series.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julie Beck: I imagine that because of the nature of your work, you probably knew of each other before you knew each other. Did you have impressions of each other before you actually met?
Veronica Roth: I sold Divergent at a time when young-adult literature was growing at a fast pace, but it was still a small community. So when I entered the genre, I already knew of Margie and her co-author for Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia. But I knew of them as, These people are already famous. I was like, Maybe I’ll meet her someday.