Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview with Renee Ahdieh

Hi Renee, Welcome to Anna's Book Blog! I'm glad to have you here. To start off can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
I am definitely a right-brained person.  I adore creative outlets, and most of my hobbies/obsessions are centered on it: reading, painting, cooking, traveling, dancing . . . just to name a few.  Music is a huge passion for me.  I’m equally at home listening to Janos Starker playing Dvorak and the latest endeavor of Konvict Muzik.  My mother is South Korean, and I married a Persian, so understanding and experiencing many different cultures has been an integral part of my life.  As can be expected, books have been a part of my family for as long as I can remember.  When I was a young girl, Alcott’s Little Women was a personal favorite, and I still read it every year at Christmas.  On the flip side, I suck at math, and I will only run if someone is chasing me.  Lists are meant to be lost.  Yoga is my idea of exercise, and I exercise so that I can eat!  I live in North Carolina, and I’m a dreaded twenty-something.  I swear we’re not that bad, and we only bite if it looks tasty.

Fanfare is your newest release, can you tell us a little about it?
Would it be too trite if I say it’s a labor of love?  Eh, I’ll go with it.  I think that any time you pour your creative soul into something, it becomes extremely personal.  For me, Fanfare was written to be a “cozy” . . . this is the kind of book I love to grab and sit with on a rainy, quiet day.  No interruptions.  No brainpower necessary.  Just fun and satisfying.  If a book can make me laugh, cry, sigh, and squeal, I think it’s had a successful run.  This was my goal with Fanfare.  I wanted to bring to life a modern Jane Austen tale – something a mother could read with her teenage daughter and not feel as though she had infringed onto her world or vice versa.  It was also extremely important for me to write something with a diverse cast of characters.  My heroine is Latina, and I would love to see more books with characters that reflect the beautiful heterogeneity of our world.  Of course, I also stole inspiration from the world of celebrity.  I especially noticed the huge cult following of stars like Robert Pattinson.  It made me wonder what it would actually be like to date someone famous.  As you can see in Fanfare, it’s not always a picnic!!

What is your writing day like?
I think it’s very important to be intentional with your surroundings.  Writing for me is 80% in my mind and 20% on my computer.  I need to be in a place where I can fully indulge myself in introspection.  It’s beautiful when you can be lost in your imagination.  When a scene or a story forms in my mind, I write the rough sketch down immediately.  I also find myself asking how a particular character would react to a given situation.  Learning about your characters and making them more than actors in a tale is an integral part in furthering along the creative process.  Plus, it makes them that much more real.  Having the support of people around me is huge.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without that.  On a good day, I can write 3,000 to 5,000 words, but this is mostly because I allowed myself the time to imagine my story for days beforehand.  Loose outlines work well for me, and I never let three days go by without writing SOMETHING.  I also love to have people read and offer feedback.  The picture I painted may be crystal clear in my head, but a good writer is able to articulate a similar image in everyone’s head, and I need others to make certain that I’ve successfully done that.  Self-reliance is important, but I do not let it outweigh the need to challenge myself to grow as a writer.

When you’re not writing, what kind of books do you like to read?
Eek!  I depends on the day, the time of year, and what I’m in the mood for.  Obviously, I mostly read fiction.  I love almost every genre of fiction.  Right now, I’ve thoroughly hopped aboard the paranormal train.  I can’t get enough of it.  I tore through Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and I just bought my Kindle copy of Charlaine Harris’ newest Southern Vampire Mystery (TEAM ERIC, all the way).  That being said, I also enjoy the occasional legal thriller and true crime story.  Psychological portraits have always intrigued me.  I just read all of Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.  He’s a heckuva storyteller.  Classics are huge for me, too.  Shakespeare, Austen, Hawthorne, etc.  Gone With the Wind is a personal favorite.  If it has a strong female character, I’m bound to read it!

What are 3 things that are "must haves" for you when you sit down to write a book?
My computer.  My copy of Explosions in the Sky’s The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place (it’s a CD of my favorite band).  Peace of mind.

Since becoming published, what has been your favorite part of the process?
Connecting with readers!  I LOVE talking to people about my book, and it is the most amazing thing to hear that someone loved what I wrote.  When I started receiving emails that people had stayed up all night to finish Fanfare, it literally made me skip around the next day with indissoluble glee.  I think that to a writer, there is no greater gift than the knowledge that the story you wrote with the characters you gave life to were beloved to someone else, even if for only a moment.

What inspired you the most when writing Fanfare?
My friends and my family . . . my husband was a huge inspiration for developing the character Tom.  Real life inspiration rings true to me on the pages of books.  Yes, I realize my husband is not a movie star, but he’s the rock star in my life, so that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Did you have any input when it came to designing the cover?
Yes, but the concept was wholly my publisher’s work.  I think it turned out amazing!  My favorite parts are the camera flashes and the cherry blossoms.

What is up next for you? Is Fanfare the beginning of a series?
More writing!  I have several different things I’m working on now, and I can’t wait to see what is finished next.  I hope to be doing a lot to promote Fanfare, and we are looking to set up a few blog tours and bookstore signings, so I’d love to meet anyone at your nearest Barnes and Noble!  Fanfare is not the beginning of a series, but it is definitely the beginning of making a career out of a passion, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity.
By Renee Ahdieh

Coming May 31, 2011

Cris Pereira hates starring in a cautionary tale. Alas, her recent heartbreak relegates her to this unbecoming fate. The only good thing about being dumped a foot from the altar is the newest layer to her punchy sarcasm. All she wants is a do-over, but this is not your average fairy tale, and wishes don't come true in the real world. One Sunday afternoon, she meets a movie star. Tom Abramson is intelligent, charming, and impetuous. In other words, he plays the role a bit too well. She isn’t falling for it. She knows better. 

All British men are not descendants of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and movie stars are genetic mutations gone awry: X-Men with statistical disadvantages and emotional handicaps. Keep your knight in shining armor. A modern girl can rescue herself, thank you very much. After all, dreams are for the foolhardy, nightmares are just a part of life, and . . . this is not your average fairy tale.

Where to Buy:
Amazon [Kindle] | Barnes & Noble [Pbk] | Barnes & Noble [Nook]
*Amazon doesn't have a link up for the pbk yet, but I'm sure they'll eventually have it available.

To learn more you can visit Renee at her blog: Writeous Indignance.


  1. Fantastic Interview. Renee is definitely a writer I can't get enough of!

  2. Im excited to get my copy on the 31st! I'm sure its going to be great.



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