Suzanne Collins can’t quite accept all the attention she’s received this year surrounding the publication of “Mockingjay,” the final book of her highly successful futuristic trilogy “Hunger Games” that debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list with 450,000 copies sold. “It’s been a little overwhelming,” she says.

Since the series’ first book, “The Hunger Games,” was targeted to the young adult market in 2008, Collins has garnered millions of cross-over fans around the world.

Earlier this year, Collins was cited by Time magazine as one of “the world’s most influential people.” “Walking that red carpet was surreal,” says the soft-spoken author. “I thought I might bring in some people that gravitate to dystopian stories but I never expected to have such a diverse readership.”

The East Coast-based Collins says she “held off” from the Hollywood interest in the series because, “I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of doing a book and a screen adaptation at the same time.” But 18 months ago, when Collins felt ready, she signed a deal with Lionsgate. Nina Jacobson’s Color Force is producing. “They have been highly respectful of the material and always include me in creative decisions.” Collins did “a couple of passes on the screenplay” before handing it off to screenwriter Billy Ray for the final version.

Collins, who worked briefly as an actor and toiled as a writer in children’s television for Nickelodeon and WB before penning her first five-part fantasy/war series, “Underland Chronicles,” says her first love is writing books. “Every book is like a three-act play to me: the mid-story reversal, the conflict, the climax,” says Collins. “I always know my endings before I begin. But if a door opens along the way, I’ll go through it.”