Swoontini Interview: TAHEREH MAFI

Hello swoonies!!

We have been so excited for our Swoony Interviews to start, because we have an astounding line up scheduled. Every week, right here! *dancing bears* And, to kick it off proper like, we have TAHEREH MAFI, author of SHATTER ME, joining us!

For the one lonely person out there who hasn’t yet met her online or in person, Tahereh is not only a stellar author and powerful wordsmith, she also happens to be one of the sweetest people we have ever met. Her support for other authors, for aspiring writers, and her connection to her readers had us wearing Team Tahereh FANGIRL t-shirts since day one.

Lo & C: Well, hello beautiful.  *bat bat* SHATTER ME was our first Swoony Rec, and to this day is still one of our go-to for action, swoons, Adam, kissing, and, oh, Adam.  What we really need to know: is Book 2 a kissing book?

Tahereh says:

Definitely yes.

Lo & C: BAHAHAHA, okay, we laughed for about a day when we saw that answer. (Let us not discuss the time that Lo’s boss told her she had Justin Bieber hair and meant it as a compliment.) (Let us also not discuss how Lo is strangely mesmerized by that gif.) [C: SQUEEEEE *rightclicksave*] So, moving on, the movie rights to SHATTER ME have been sold to Twentieth Century Fox. How insane was that day?
TM: It was pretty surreal. And it all happened before the book deal was even announced, so I had all these secrets that I could share with no one, and basically I was just dying a little more every day. Also I think I made a lot of love proclamations to Jodi or something idk idk.

Lo & C: When will we know if the movie is a go? [We need to know when we can start casting Adam, what with all of our influence]
TM: I promise, if I know anything at all re: film developments, you guys will be the first to know.

[Lo looks at C] I think she means us specifically, like she’ll call us first. *high fives* You have the most upbeat attitude and one of the best websites for writing advice, perspective, humor and encouragement. What are your favorite sites to go to when you need a little pick-me-up?
TM: Awww you are way too sweet. Seriously.
Andd.. as far as favorite funny sites? Hmmm.. I love The Oatmeal, Hyperbole and a Half, and Damn You Autocorrect, among others. I also spend a lot of time on Tumblr and Pinterest (this, in addition to the life I basically live on Twitter), and I find some of the most amazing images and/or animated .gifs. And then I laugh and laugh and laugh until my downstairs neighbors start banging on my floor with a broomstick.

Lo & C: Tell us about Teenage Tahereh. What made her swoon & girl-cheer, and what current books would she love?
TM: Oh man. Teenage Tahereh was pretty spectacularly angsty, believe it or not. I wrote bad poetry and made my own clothes and sketched and painted stuff and built things and read way too many books. But there was a serious shortage of YA while I was growing up, so I think teenage-me would be happy to read just about anything that wasn’t for class. Though I know I would’ve really loved to have had a book like the Hunger Games to devour back then.

Lo says: Seriously. I pretty much just had a ragged copy of Clan of the Cave Bear to get me through. What was your least favorite thing about being a teenager?
TM: The helplessness. I had no driver’s license, no car, no money of my own. I was bound by high school and parental rules and society’s suffocating guidelines for How To Be Successful In Life. And I think high school gave us all such a skewed, incorrect perspective on what life was really going to be like. Because life can get so much better after you graduate, and not enough teens are taught to hope for that.

Lo says: Okay, I am high fiving you so hard right now because, on top of a million other reasons (and not to be trite), if someone had just told me that my knees would not always be the widest part of my leg, I think I could have borne high school with much more grace. #awkward #notinacuteway. But yay! No longer in high school. What is your most favorite thing about being you, today?
TM: Well. I get to have cake for breakfast all the time.

Lo & C: CAKE AS A MEAL. You win! CONGRATULATIONS: You have a shopping spree in the World’s Most Amazing Tea Emporium. What’s the first thing you grab?
TM: I seriously got a little panicky just reading that question; like maybe I’m ready to shove people out of the way for some Oolong right now. Haha. Though I’d probably go for the tea sets first. I have all the standard stuff, and I recently bought a glass tea set that I use with these blooming white teas — the flower literally unfurls as it brews — but I really want a Japanese tea set. There are different types of Japanese tea (they have traditional teapots as well), but I want the one with the bamboo whisk and the Matcha bowl. Whisking tea is kind of hard, but it’s a lot of fun. And it tastes so good.

Lo & C: Any favorite or underappreciated books to recommend to the Swoontini readers?
TM: The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson. I don’t actually think this book is underappreciated — I’m happy to report that there are a lot of people crazy about it — but I don’t think enough readers know about it. I just love this book so much. It’s embarrassing how much.

Lo & C: YES. A HUNDRED TIMES YES. So, serious time: You have a superpower when it comes to finding the perfect gif for any situation. You can have entire conversations only in the language of giffese. What gif makes you laugh every single time you see it?
TM: Oh this is so tough to answer. There are so many perfect .gifs. But! As of this moment? I’d say this one:

Lo says: Okay, that is funny for about a thousand different reasons and I legitimately almost peed myself when that came up (my mom says that’s totally normal). Also, I don’t think I ever told you this but after the signing at your alma mater I had a dream that you and I had a tap-dance/comedy duo that we took on the road and achieved roaring success. BEST DREAM EVAR OR WHAT.
TM: That wasn’t a dream, Lo. I can’t believe you don’t remember.
Lo: ::shameface::

C says: And I don’t think I’ll ever live down that pic of me celebrating Shatter Me’s release at home while wearing Jack Skellington mouse ears and crepe paper. Which Lo shared with you at the book signing. Nothing embarrassing there…
TM: That was epically awesome. The image is forever burned into my retinas.

Questions from teen readers:

1. Do you get the idea for a story or a character first? TM: It really depends; sometimes I get inspired by things I see or hear and think they’d make for a really cool book. But Shatter Me was completely character-driven. It’s Juliette’s story. She walked into my head one day and I had no idea why; her world came together as I wrote.

2. Is it weird to have people ask for your autograph? TM: It’s really wonderful, but yeah, still so weird. The very first time I ever did a signing, I showed up with no pen and no idea how to sign my own name. I sometimes wonder if one day anyone will notice that the very first ARCs I ever signed have a different signature than the books I sign now.

3. When do we find out the title for Book 2? TM:Soon! I’ll be announcing info on my blog/twitter/FB/etc. as soon as I get the OK. [Lo update: Tahereh posted this vlog and announced that the title is UNRAVEL ME! The video is worth watching for her total cuteness]

4. Can you tell us anything about Warner? Is he really as bad as he seems or just misunderstood? TM:Ah, Warner. He is probably my favorite character to write. And while I really wish I could tell you All The Things — because seriously, it’s so hard to keep everything to myself sometimes — all I can say about him is this: stay tuned for Book 2!

5. Are you coming to Utah???? TM:Hopefully one day! That’s kind of up to Harper. Though I’m actually doing a bunch of Spring Tour stops — Vancouver, LA, Chicago, DC, NYC, Miami, Houston, Austin (and possibly some others) — so if you’re going to be in and/or around any of those cities, I’d love to say hi! All the details are on my website. 😀

Lo & C: Dear Tahereh: are you ok being our hero? Pick one __X_yes   ____no
TM: If hero duties come with free pie, then sign me up. Also you are adorable.

BUT SERIOUSLY – isn’t SHE?? We have so much Tahereh love here.

Truly an amazing person, that one. Leave her some love, would ya? And next week, on Valentine’s Day, we’ll be chatting up the adorable Claire Legrand who I’m pretty sure did the most epic book review ever last week.