Interview with Author Tahereh Mafi

An Interview with Author Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi (Image Credit: Ransom Riggs)

She may only be 24 years old, but Tahereh Mafi has already become a force to be reckoned with in young adult fiction. Her debut novel, Shatter Me, is a unique blend of emotional turmoil, dystopia, romance, and super powers. Mafi pulls all these elements into one suspenseful package tied together by her unusual and captivating style of writing.

Unravel Me, the next book in the Shatter Me series, hits bookstore shelves and e-readers February 5th. A big thank you to Tahereh for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about the Shatter Me series.

The Daily Quirk: The use of words and punctuation in the Shatter Me series is rather unique. The physical words are written like they would actually appear in Juliette’s journal, complete with repetition, run-on sentences and unusual punctuation. Where did you get this idea and what strategies did you use to make it work within the context of the story without distracting from it?
Tahreh Mafi: I didn’t think about the prose as something separate and apart from the story; I didn’t really think about it at all. I just wanted the writing to reflect the mental state of the protagonist; I wanted it to become a visual representation of the inner turmoil this near-insane girl was experiencing. But as Juliette grows and becomes a stronger, more convicted character, the prose evolves as well — it stabilizes and takes on a more understated elegance. The writing becomes a reflection of her state of mind.

TDQ: Is there a specific scene in Unravel Me that you found especially enjoyable (or especially challenging) to write?
TM: Yes to all. Chapter 62.

TDQ: One interesting thing about Shatter Me is how well readers have responded to Warner, who is essentially the villain. He has a legion of adoring fans! Did you expect (or hope for) that kind of reaction? Did the fan reaction impact the way you approached his character in Unravel Me?
TM: It’s certainly been very interesting — and fascinating — but I’ve had plans for Warner from the beginning. I’m very excited to see how readers react to him in Unravel Me.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Image Credit: Tahereh Mafi)

TDQ: Speaking of Warner, you wrote a companion novella from Warner’s perspective, Destroy Me. Did you find it challenging to write in Warner’s voice as opposed to Juliette’s? Is there a chance we might get the perspective of some other characters (Adam, perhaps?) down the road?
TM: I loved it, actually. It was a really fun experiences to explore the inside of Warner’s head, especially as his voice is so distinct from Juliette’s; they have very different ways of looking at the world. And yes! There will — hopefully — be another novella, and another perspective to come. No details yet!

TDQ: What (if anything) can you tell us about the next book in the Shatter Me trilogy?
TM: Things go nuts.

TDQ:Do you have any other upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
TM: I wish I could! But there’s nothing I can say just yet, I’m afraid.

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Mallory Walker
I spend too much time reading and watching TV. Puppies, Diet Coke and the ’90s make me happy. I mean really, who doesn’t love the days of Marky Mark?
Check out more from Mallory Walker on TDQ…

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