Author Crush Friday with Renee Ahdieh
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Renee Ahdieh, NY Times bestselling author of Flame in the Mist (May 16, 2017; G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers). Thank you for talking to us today, Renee! We’re honored! We love that you collect recipes and secrets! We’ll need to pick your brain for more specifics next time! 🙂
GLITTER: How would you describe Flame in the Mist to a new reader?
RENEE: I’d describe it as being inspired by Tamora Pierce’s The Song of the Lioness series and the legend of the 47 Rōnin, with definite nods to Mulan! It’s the story of Mariko—a girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to infiltrate a band of ninja after she’s nearly assassinated on her way to the imperial city.
GLITTER: How much research went into writing Flame in the Mist?
RENEE: Research is one of my favorite things to do when writing a book. I spend a lot of time developing weaponry and food. I like having hands-on experience in both categories. But immersing myself in a culture and doing whatever I can to make my work as respectful as possible are absolutely the foundations of any research I conduct.
GLITTER: Is it true that you love writing the anti-heroes?
RENEE: Who told you that? Was it Khalid?! Hahaha! I do love writing anti-heroes, but I think what I love even more is exploring moral complexity in any of my characters. When characters are faced with impossible decisions and not all is as it seems . . . those are the personality types I most enjoy working with in a story.
GLITTER: How do you find the emotional truths in your writing?
RENEE: What a great question! I try to boil down any scene I write to its basic emotional essence. For me, that often comes down to love or fear, which I believe to be among the primary motivating factors for most decision making. Once I distill the basic emotion, I then work to craft reasons that would resonate with a reader. Of course—thankfully—not all of us understand how our mind might work in a life or death situation, but I do think we can understand on an emotional level how a character would feel when he or she or they is afraid.
GLITTER: Does Flame in the Mist appeal to everyone?
RENEE: I’d like to think so! I know I’m incredibly biased, haha, but in my mind, it has something for every kind of reader—action, romance, intrigue, setting, horror, twists—but I primarily look to write the kind of story I would most like to read myself. I was a reader before I was ever a writer, and if I’m not in love with my work, it’s difficult for me to convince someone else to pick it up!
GLITTER: Will we see your books on the big screen soon?
RENEE: I really hope so!
GLITTER: How important are diverse books right now?
RENEE: I think diverse books are always important. There are so many amazing writers who have been doing this for years without the recognition they deserve. I’m very pleased that diverse books are being given more acknowledgment in recent years, but I long for the day when this is a non-issue: when everything we as artists create reflect the beautifully diverse society in which we live.
GLITTER: Do you have anything that you love to collect?
RENEE: Recipes, shoes, and secrets 😉
GLITTER: What are you the most passionate about?
RENEE: Emotional connections made through shared experiences.
GLITTER: What is the longest a fan has ever waited at a tour event to meet you?
RENEE: Gosh, I’m not sure! I know some fans lined up three hours in advance just this past week. And I’m so humbled when I learn a reader drove hours to attend an event. That’s simply incredible.
GLITTER: What are you working on right now?
RENEE: I’m working on the sequel to FLAME IN THE MIST!