Interview: Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn

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I’m so happy today. Guess why?
Yes, yes, I finally was able to post wonderfully interview with the author of the book, for which I’m prepared to kill (just kidding. Almost).

HERE WE GO!!!

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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on The Wrath and the Dawn? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

The Wrath and the Dawn was originally called One Thousand One, but my agent thought it sounded a bit too much like sci-fic novel. And as for funny stories, I think it’s impossible to write a book without having at least a few amusing incidents along the way! Probably some of the most memorable ones involve asking my husband and my in-laws to help me with some Persian translations. Let’s just say that the phrase “lost in translation” was absolutely applicable on more than one occasion.

2) What inspired you to write The Wrath and the Dawn?

I was actually inspired to write it by a tapestry hanging on the wall of my in-law’s home. At a distance, it looked like a hundred different vignettes strung together, but it was actually tales from A Thousand and One Nights.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book?

“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

It took me about four months to write The Wrath and the Dawn. For me, it’s usually easier to write the beginning of a novel.

5) What are your favorite books?

Oh, gosh, this is an almost impossible question for me! I love a lot of classics. Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, The Lord of the Rings, and A Moveable Feast come to mind. I’m also a big fan of anything by Isabelle Allende or Kahlil Gibran. For YA, I love Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy and Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. In truth, this list could go on forever.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Shahrzad? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

I don’t know that I’d write her a letter for reasons I can’t divulge at the moment 😉 But I do think letters are wonderful to give and receive!


Thank you so much, Renee! It was so fun! So glad I was able to chat with you 😉


About the author

Renee Ahdieh lives in North Carolina with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, Renee like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

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Interview: Moriah McStay, author of Everything That Makes You

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No, I don’t get tired to of posting interviews with the wonderful authors. Because their books really deserve your attention.

Today is the day of the book with the most amazing plot I’ve ever seen.

You’ll definitely realize that this is very interesting.

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

And you’ll definitely realize that this is very beautiful.

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So now I represent Moriah, the creator of this amazing book, to you.

1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on Everything That Makes You? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

The first title of the book was Progressions of Fate, which is SOO horrible. I never loved it and willingly accepted input from my agent and editor. We tried out several titles before my editor sent me an all-caps email, late one Friday night. It just said “EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU!!!” It’s a line from a later chapter of the book, and is featured prominently in one of Fiona’s later songs.

2) What inspired you to write Everything That Makes You?

I was in an accident when I was a young child that left me blind on one eye. Growing up, I often wondered how that accident affected the person I was. I remember having conversations like this with friends in college. Which major—and insignificant—events changed the trajectory of our lives? And, if we could go back and change it, would we? I ruminated on this concept for ages. I wrote two other manuscripts (which weren’t very good, honestly) before I felt ready to tackle the project.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

One line I love only makes sense in its particular scene. The line is “Not sure yet.” Since to explain the scene would be pretty spoilery, I’ll just say, it’s midway through the novel. Fiona’s at college, and she’s literally run into a boy who was outside her dorm room, listening to her play guitar. She was heading down to the cafeteria, and he tells her that’s where he was going, too. They have this awesome conversation and totally hit it off. The scene ends like this:

“So, I have a confession.”

Oh no. “What’s that?”

“I wasn’t going for coffee. I was heading for class.” He looked at his watch. “Which starts in five minutes.”

She laughed, feeling so, so fluttery. “You were being a stalker.”

The boy hung his head dramatically. “I know. Five minutes in and I’d already broken my first promise. It’s a bad start.”

“A bad start for what?”

He stood and began walking backward as Fiona stayed at the table. He backed nearly all the way to the automatic doors. They slid open, but he paused, those pretty green eyes still on Fiona. With a sly, uneven smile, he answered, “Not sure yet.”

It still makes me smile, no matter how many times I read it!

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

Like I said, I sat on the idea for ETMY for years and years and years. When I finally started writing, it took about a year before I was ready to submit to agents. For ETMY and my other projects, I’d say the ending is always easier. You can’t write a real, edited beginning without it!

5) If right now someone told you that he can perform any of your three wishes, what would you then wish for?

Whew. That’s a tough one. As a mom, I’d probably use the first wish on my kids. I’d ask for my daughters to have long, happy, healthy lives ahead of them.

World peace would be a good one for #2, no? And then, I’d like to be able to fly.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Fiona? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

An interesting question. As her writer, my instinct would be to get all lecture-y at her, and THAT wouldn’t work out well. As the book ends, she’s on her way to figuring herself out. I don’t think she would need—or particularly want–my input. I think I’d leave her be.


From my own I can only add that I really look forward to meeting Fiona.

If you want, you can contact her via

Website: moriahmcstay.com
E-mail: moriahmcstaywrites@gmail.com
Twitter: @moriahmcstay
Facebook: Moriah McStay

And add her debut book on Goodreads.

Interview: Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes

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Yes, you read this right. I present to your attention another interview with a wonderful author, whose book comes out in 2015. The book, which I’ve been waiting for a very long time. The book I’m not going to wait that long again, because it goes through the month. Book with beautiful, charming and ironic title MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES.

You’ll understand when you look at this summary.

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

 There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s  found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a   partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

And look at this cover.

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Hahaha, I was joking. This is not the final cover. I attach the final now and it is much more wonderful.

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Finally, you can enjoy this interview.

1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on My Heart & Other Black Holes? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

Sadly, I can’t think of many funny stories surrounding the writing process for MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES. It was written during a pretty dark period in my life–I was grieving the loss of a very close friend–and so I wasn’t in a very jovial mood. That said, the original title of the manuscript was much more emo-tastic and dramatic–THE HEAVINESS OF EMPTINESS–and I smile when I think about how I came up with the new title. I was sitting in my writing study, talking to my husband about how I was totally freaked out that I’d actually finished the book and that the only thing left to do was change the title because I wasn’t sure the original one was a very good fit for the overall tone of the book. I didn’t like that I was pretty sure my main character, Aysel, would hate the original title, citing that it was too dramatic and trying too hard to be literary and mysterious. So we brainstormed some ideas and jokingly I said: Aysel thinks she has a black hole of a heart, maybe I should just call it MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, and instantly we both sort of smiled and knew that would be the title.

2) What inspired you to write My Heart?

I mentioned above the loss of my close friend and working on this book was a big part of my grieving process. People grieve in different ways and for me, creating something, writing this story, was, in part, my way of grappling with those feelings of loss. I also think that for a while I’d had this story trapped inside me. I’d wanted to write an honest story about the demon of depression, exploring the way it can distort the sufferer’s reality. Most of all, I wanted to write a book that honored the importance of friendship and love (in all forms, self, family, friendship, romantic), and advocated for empathy and understanding.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

Oh, I don’t know if I have a favorite quote from my own book. It feels weird for me to choose one, so I’ll choose another quote that I absolutely love and will always love because my husband knew how much I loved this particular quote and used it when he proposed to me: “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”– The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I had that quote hanging in my college dorm room.

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

About four months of frenzied writing and then another month of intense editing. The ending was definitely the hardest part for me. I always find endings to be difficult, as both a reader and a writer.

5) What are your favorite books?

So many and too many to list, but I’ve named a few below in no particular order:

1. Weetzie Bat, Francesca Lia Block
2. Ariel, Sylvia Plath
3. The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson
4. Diving into the Wreck, Adrienne Rich
5. The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
6. The Professor’s Daughter, Emily Raboteau

And so, so, so many more!

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Aysel and Roman? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

I don’t know. This is sort of a difficult question to answer without spoiling the book, but I think I would just encourage Aysel to learn hard into self-love and self-acceptance and know that life is going to be full of ups and downs, but to trust in her ability to ride it out.


Thank you, Jasmine. I’m very flattered by the fact that I took an interview with you. You are an amazing person.

And I sincerely advise everyone to run to the nearest bookstore exactly one month later and buy this wonderful book written by Jasmine.

If you want, you can contact her via

Website: jasminewarga.com
E-mail: jasminewargabooks@gmail.com
Twitter: @jasminewarga
Tumblr: if the moon smiled

And add her debut book on Goodreads.

Interview: Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up

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Many times I wrote a blog posts about 2015 year, which will be very full of all sorts of new Young Adult books that are worth to paying attention.
In my plan is to try and do as much as possible this year to be a good book blogger.
So I asking about interviews with a remarkable debut authors. And I continue to be impressed by the fact that they agree.

Today I post an interview with the wonderful Francesca Zappia, whose debut book called Made You Up. I’m so glad that I had such an amazing opportunity, because this books sounds like a new and absolutely unique voice in YA literature.

However, you will understand when you look at this summary.

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

And yes, to top it all this book has such a wonderful cover.

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I’m already enjoying this book.

So here we go.

1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on Made You Up? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

I do remember writing the bulk of the story in middle and high school, and my friends would read it in this massive red binder they had to carry around with them all day–it was really funny watching them lug that around with all their schoolwork! But maybe the funniest story I have is actually about the titles–the original title was Ask Again Later, which we had to change because another HarperCollins book was coming out with that title before mine (by the awesome Liz Czukas). So we started about a month-long title hunt. We came up with a huge list, but no other titles really encompassed what the book was about and how it felt, and by the end I was so frustrated I probably looked like a cartoon character with my eyes popping out of my head and steam blowing from my ears. Luckily, my editor and agent are fantastic, intelligent people, and when I told them about Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl’s Love Song, they pulled “Made You Up” from there.

2) I really like your drawings! I would like to know from what age did you start to draw? And how long did you study for this result?

Thank you! I started drawing earlier than I started writing, I think…I began writing when I was eight, but I started drawing much earlier than that, probably when I was three or four. I mostly traced pictures, or tried to copy what I saw in books and on TV, but they weren’t very good (any three or four year old who can draw beautiful lineart is my hero!). It’s taken me a long time to get where I am now mostly because I’m lazy–just last month I FINALLY forced myself to learn proper human body proportions. I could be a lot better than I am now, but my problem is that when I need to get something out of my head, I write it down instead of drawing it. A lot more of my creativity and effort goes into bettering my writing than my drawing–unfortunately, because I have a lot of pretty stuff in my head that I’m just not good enough to draw or paint!

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

My favorite quote from MADE YOU UP is not too spoilery, I don’t think. So, throughout the whole book, Alex is trying to figure out which parts of her world are real and which aren’t, and near the end, Miles says to Alex, “If nothing’s real, then what does it matter? You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

It’s my favorite because I think it doesn’t just encompass my thoughts on the whole story well, but just human perception in general. You don’t have to have a mental illness to perceive the world differently than the person next to you–we all do it, all the time, every day. You’ll never see the world exactly the way someone else sees it (though you might be able to come close), so all we ever do is live in our own worlds. But even if no one else sees them the way we do, they’re real to us.

4) If right now someone told you that he can perform any of your three wishes, what would you then wish for?

Any three wishes? Hm…well, I would wish for an end to world hunger, but then we’d have massive overcrowding issues, so I guess I’ll use my first wish to wish for viable space travel so human kind can go explore the universe and find new places to live and explore.

For my second wish, I’ll wish that we don’t completely destroy/enslave/terrorize any planets and peoples we come across out there in space, and they don’t destroy/enslave/terrorize us. Because I really want to live on a cool, peaceful planet.

And for my third wish: teleportation powers. Just for me, because driving and flying and various other modes of transportation make me very nervous. Also: How cool would it be to teleport?! You’d never have to go outside in winter!

5) What are your favorite books?

My absolute favorite book of all time is The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. I read it in third grade the first time and it’s only gotten better over the years. Plus, it was originally published by Greenwillow Books, the same HarperCollins imprint that’s publishing MADE YOU UP! Small world, right? I love the entire Harry Potter series, too, because I learned how to write from reading those books, and they made me want to write. In a broader sense, I love Stephen King books, because even though they can drag sometimes, when you’re done you walk away thinking, Whoa… WHAT did I just read?

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Alex and Miles? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

Actually… I already did! Back in December of 2013, I wrote this letter to Alex and Miles for Casual Friday on the YA Misfits blog. The main point of the letter was my gratitude to them for existing, as strange as that sounds, because they’re the reason MADE YOU UP was written, and they’re the reason my agent and editor fell in love with the book. I talk about how much they’ve changed since I originally came up with them years and years ago, when I was eleven and I didn’t even know most of the basics of storytelling, and I talk about how much I hope readers love them the way I love them–as people with dreams and interests and flaws and goals in life.

I sincerely hope that after reading this interview, many will be interested in the book by Francesca, because it’s worth it.

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I want to thank Francesca many times. Thank you. Thank you.

If you want, you can contact her via

Website: francescazappia.com
E-mail: francescazappiabooks@gmail.com
Twitter: @ChessieZappia
Tumblr: The Lobster Tank
Goodreads: Francesca Zappia

And check out her DeviantArt page.

And add her debut book on Goodreads.

Interview: Lauren Gibaldi, author of The Night We Said Yes

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So, 2015 has begun.
All book bloggers, authors, librarians, publishers and other bookish people are mentally prepared, because this year is full of many new excellent books.
You can see my own list of these books here.

But today I want to talk about only one book.
And this book is The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi.

Just read this excellent summary:

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

And then look at this beautiful cover:

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And realize that this is exactly what you need in your life as I did.

So I went to ask Lauren Gibaldi to give me a short interview.
And she agreed.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Lauren Gibaldi, the author of the aforementioned book!

1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on The Night We Said Yes? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

When I just had the idea behind the book, I called it “That Night.” But as soon as I started writing, I knew that title didn’t fit. I changed it to “The Night We Said Yes” almost immediately, which is a line in the book. To my delight, everyone at HarperCollins liked it enough to keep it!

2) What inspired you to write TNWSY?

I love the idea that one night can change everything, so I wanted to write that. I wanted to show a really fun/memorable, but also a meaningful night. And then I wanted to show what happens after – the consequences and changes.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

Well, my favorite line is the last line, so I won’t share that. But my second favorite line is: “El, turn it up!” It’s the first line in chapter two. It’s really not an important or memorable line, but it was the very first sentence I wrote in the book, so to me, it means a lot.

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

28 days! Crazy, right? I wrote it as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so I had to finish it in one month. The beginning was much easier to write than the ending. I knew where I was starting…but not so sure where I was ending. But that also made the writing process fun.

5) Let’s talk about you. The description on your website says that you are working as an aerialist in a circus. And I am absolutely delighted by this. However, is it not too dangerous? How long did you study for this?

Yes! I was a circus aerialist while in college, about 10 years ago. My college had a circus, so of course I signed up. It was dangerous, yes (I have some permanent scars to prove it), but very much worth it. Nothing can compare to the feeling of flying through the air. Now I’m a librarian, which isn’t nearly as dangerous (but it’s still fun).

6) Happy New Year. For me, it’s true, because in this year many wonderful books come out. And what are your plans, wishes and joys regarding 2015 year?

Oh! I’m so nervous and excited for 2015. I can’t believe I can officially say my book will be released this year! My plans are to make the most of this year as possible. Make it memorable and fun. And hopefully not go too crazy.

As you can see, Lauren is a very nice person, and I was so happy to talk to her.

You can find her via

Website: laurengibaldi.com
E-mail: Lauren [dot] gibaldi [at] gmail [dot] com
Twitter: @laurengibaldi
Facebook: Lauren Gibaldi Author
Tumblr: Lauren the Librarian
Goodreads: Lauren Gibaldi

And add her debut book on Goodreads.