The time there was talk of killing a man

Posted March 14, 2018 by Stacee in Signings / 4 Comments

I saw the Tahereh Mafi event announced one night when I was at Mysterious Galaxy for a different event. The staff had just printed the tickets and we all pre-ordered our books.

We got down to the store early, as usual. The store had something different set up for the audience. To try and avoid spoilers, readers were asked to submit questions and they would be chosen and answered.

Marie and Tahereh got to the store at 6:45 or so. I ended up grabbing them and taking them to the back room. After saying hi and grabbing waters for them, I made my way back to my seat.

The ladies came out just after 7 and Marie introduced Tahereh and talked about the Shatter Me series and how Tahereh had grown in her writing.

M: What brought you back?

T: That’s a fair question. Ignite Me came out in 2014? It’s quite a bit of a break. When I finished writing it, I felt really definitively that the story was done. I think it was that I was done with it artistically. I wrote middle grade for a couple of years.

M: Which are amazing.

T: I love you. Those were a lot of fun, different POV and magical realism. I had fully moved on. At some point, I had a conversation with someone and they asked about one of my characters name and I couldn’t remember. I felt like it was something that people were still buying and I’m still promoting, so I should know.

I reread them in a whirlwind 12 hours and I really enjoyed them. And when I finished, I knew it could go on. Juliette’s story wasn’t done. It felt right.

I have two books coming out this year and the second is a contemporary novel. I’m not going to say too much about it, but I will say it’s the most autobiographical thing I’ve ever written.

M: Juliette’s voice is very intense. Was it challenging to get back to it when this book feels so different?

T: We see her turmoil again. As she evolves, the writing will relapse with her. It was easy to get back into. It was almost like I hit pause on a movie I was watching.

M: So, it was always meant to happen.

T: Yeah, sort of.

M: Restore me is two POVs. How is it different to write Warner?

T: It was great. A lot of people thought I was going to kill of a character. I don’t know why you guys are so cynical. I wrote it specifically in Warner’s POV to expand Juliette’s world. Juliette has been in isolation and Warner has seen things.

M: Do you have a favorite character?

T: My favorite side character who feels like a main character is Kenji. I have so much fun writing him. He reminds me of myself and my brothers. He feels very real to me. There are things he’s said that I’ve lifted right from my brothers.

I enjoy all of them. There’s a lot of me in Warner. Mostly his clothes. I like to imagine that he has a tailor. That everything is made for him. I guess that’s my dream.

M: They wear some slick things.

T: Wait. You’re just going to talk about me the whole time? Let’s talk about you. I just finished Warcross 2 and it’s so good. I’m such a Marie Lu fangirl.

Warcross is so cinamatic. How was that for you?

M: It was a lot of wish fulfillment. I think having a glass jet would be cool. It was a lot of drawing on travels my husband and I have been on. I love anime and Japanese culture and I wanted to put that in.

Now we’re going to get back to talking about you, sneaky lady.

T: You’re so talented.

M: We just love each other so much.

Your middle grade books are so lush. How was it getting into middle grade?

T: It was fun. I thought it was YA, but my editor told me it was MG. It’s inspired by Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland and some of my favorite books. This is just a love letter to them.

M: It’s cool that you’re able to do both. Do you prefer one or the other?

T: The hardest thing about writing Restore Me was that I was pregnant. You lose like 30% of your brain cells because you’re growing your kid’s brain and you just sit there like a potato. But the kid was worth it.

It was fun to write Restore Me. Being able to dive into Warner’s mind made it easy to break into the world in a way I couldn’t before.

M: I know there’s not much you can say, but what can you tell us?

T: This is a new trilogy, so there’s a lot more to come.

M: And that’s pretty much it.

T: Stuff happens.

M: Hang onto your chairs.

{This started a tangent about Marie looking at Tahereh’s books for inspiration about writing romance.}

T: If you had to choose between killing a character and making them kiss, which would you choose?

M: Ummmm

T: Both at the same time?

M: It took me hours to write four lines of romantic dialogue. What do people say? I like you. I like you too. No one wants to read that.

T: And she’s married!

Marie then started pulling questions out of the cauldron.

What’s going on with the tv show?

T: I don’t know. The executive producer guy who I loved got a really good job somewhere else. So we’re at an impasse.

M: Where do you get your inspiration from? Also I love Warner, he’s my number one sexy book boyfriend.

T: Ooh, I like that. Do they mean inspiration for Warner?

M: It doesn’t say.

T: He feels like a real person to me, so all of his decisions and actions are because of that. That’s a weird answer. I don’t know any young dictators or anything.

M: Did you have any say in the covers?

T: Yes and no. There’s not a lot I can say here. The first cover is inspired by an image by Cheri Davenport, but it’s a bit scary. My publisher wanted to use that and I asked them to make it prettier and not quite staring right into your soul. We do talk about the color and the eyelashes. Right now we’re finalizing the cover for the next book.

M: Which character would you like to date and who would you want as your BFF?

T: I’m married and I like my husband. Love him actually, so I would chose him over a fictional character. For BFF I would chose Kenji.

M: What’s the most drastic thing you’ve had to do for a deadline?

T: Umm.

M: Kill a man.

T: I don’t have an interesting answer to this. I’ve never missed a deadline. Well, I don’t sleep, but that goes without saying. Give up on food and water? I don’t return my mom’s phone calls. She just keeps calling. What about you?

M: Maybe lied about going to an event? Did you have a muse for Warner?

T: I had Warner before I met my husband, otherwise…

M: Why do you chose the settings that you do?

T: I usually say that I create the characters first and the setting builds up around them. The characters always have the voice first. I couldn’t get the voice of this young girl out of my head. I could see her so clearly and I started asking questions. The world becomes sharper as you eliminate choices.

M: What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

T: Just one thing? Hmmm. There’s so many things. I guess it’s most important — in any industry, not just publishing — that people want to work with people they like. So don’t be a not nice person. It’s the most important thing in everything you do.

There’s this saying about being a triangle. Being very good at your job, be a very good person, and meet all your deadlines. You have to be two of those things at all times. Obviously be all three, but if you can’t, it’s most important to be nice. You want to surround yourself with nice people who you can trust.

{There was a bit of gushing between the ladies about each other. And Tahereh said something about how lovely Marie is, even if she killed a man.}

From there the signing started. There was one person in front of us and I saw they had Gemina for Marie. I quickly asked for our copies and we were able to have her sign them.

When I got to Marie, said hi and that it was nice to see her. Tahereh said she could take my books to sign, so I passed her one of them. Then I stepped over to Tahereh.

I asked if everything was going well, she said yes. I thanked her for coming and said it was nice to see her and she said same because she likes seeing friendly faces in the crowd.

From there, we made the rounds of saying our goodbyes and giving hugs and I’m editing this while hubs drives me home.

As always, I can’t recommend seeing Marie and Tahereh if you can. Especially together. I haven’t read Restore Me yet, but I’m excited to see where it goes.

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4 responses to “The time there was talk of killing a man

    • Stacee

      Marie is definitely one of my favorite authors to hear talk and Tahereh is so much fun.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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