Q&A with Renee and Sabaa

So one of the best parts about the debut year has been meeting other writers, especially ones you click with. Renee Ahdieh, (THE WRATH AND THE DAWN Putnam/May) is one such writer and in the year that we’ve known each other we’ve gotten to be good friends. So here’s us having a grand old time asking each other questions we’ve gotten on Twitter and Tumblr  in an interview style via Skype. Enjoy!

Entertainment Weekly Hosts EMBER Book Trailer

The lovely peeps at EW.com are hosting a short interview and the first trailer for AN EMBER IN THE ASHES!!!

I was fortunate enough to go down to the sound stage in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and watch as part of the trailer was shot. I met the actors (a beautiful, talented bunch) and the makeup artist, saw the set, (including a huge, oppressive, black wall to represent Blackcliff Military Academy), and talked about the creative process with a group of bloggers and vloggers who also attended the shoot.

It’s incredible to me that days of work got boiled down to this short, powerful trailer—but I couldn’t be happier with the result. The book trailer addresses one of the questions central to AN EMBER IN THE ASHES: How far would you go—for family or freedom, for power or love?

The trailer touches on four different characaters. Laia, the frightened girl who must find the courage to save her family; Elias, the tormented soldier who wants desperately to be free from the tyranny he’s trained to enforce; the Commandant, a calculating and ruthless woman who will go to disturbing lengths for power; and Helene, Elias’s best friend and fellow soldier, who is torn between duty and love.

From the sets to the costumes to the makeup to the questions the trailer poses, I think everything about this is absolutely perfect. Here’s the link—I hope you enjoy the trailer! http://www.ew.com/article/2015/03/03/exclusive-see-trailer-sabaa-tahirs-ember-ashes

My List of Awesome

In lieu of a Top Ten List, I am doing a year-end List of 2015 Debut Awesomeness, (inspired by Kung Fu Panda.) The first part comprises the 2015 debuts I’ve read. There are a ton more that I haven’t read, but which will, of course, have their own brand of awesome.

Books I’ve read:

  1. Awesomely Matched Couple: Shazi and Khalid in THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh
  2. Awesome Friendship: Annamae and Sammy in UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee
  3. Most Mindblowingly Awesome Ending: CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert
  4. Awesomely Hot Healer. Also, Awesome Witches: THE WITCH HUNTER by Virginia Boecker
  5. Awesomely Empathetic Book: NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio
  6. Character Who Is So Awesome I Want Her to Be Real: Aysel from MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga
  7. Most Awesomely Jawdropping Moment: MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera
  8. Character Powers  So Awesome, All the World Should Covet Them: RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard
  9. Awesomely Hilarious: DENTON LITTLE’S DEATHDATE by Lance Rubin
  10. Most Awesome World Traveler: Avery from THE CONSPIRACY OF US by Maggie Hall
  11. Most Awesomely Badass Heroine: Mim from MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold
  12. Whimsically Awesome: THE WATER AND THE WILD by K.E. Ormsbee
  13. Awesome Epistolary Romance: SIMON AND THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli
  14. Awesomely Beautiful Performance Art: THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS by Anna Marie-McLemore
  15. Awesome End of the World Book: WE ALL LOOKED UP by Tommy Wallach
  16. Most Awesome Quest: LARK RISING by Sandra Waugh
  17. Awesomely Nail-Biting Book: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  18. Most Awesome Siblings: Tal and Wen in WANDERING WILD by Jessica Taylor
  19. Awesomest Ode to LA: DEAD TO ME by Mary McCoy
  20. Awesomest Otherworldly Twist: IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT by Jen Brooks
  21. Most Awesomely Tearjerking: THE HONEST TRUTH by Dan Gemeinhart
  22. Awesome Survival Story: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND by Kathryn Holmes

Books I haven’t read but that display their Awesome in other ways:

  1. Most Awesome Title: DR. CRITCHLORE’S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS by Sheila Grau
  2. Awesomely Terrifying Book: BLOOD & SALT by Kim Liggett
  3. Awesomely Scary Cover: SHUTTER by Courtney Alameda
  4. Most Awesome Cover/Title Combo: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon
  5. Awesome Mean Girls Potential: TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
  6. Most Awesome Book That I Currently Possess and Am About to Read: THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED by Kerry Kletter
  7. Most Awesome Diverse Heroine: BLACKBIRD FLY by Erin Entrada Kelly
  8. Middle Grade Book I Am Certain Will Be Insanely Awesome: MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES (99% TRUE!) by Alison DeCamp
  9. Book So Awesome That I’m Considering Bribing Author So I Can Have It: ZEROBOXER by Fonda Lee
  10. Most Awesome Potential for Dragons: THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by MELISSA GRAY
  11. Most Awesome Then-and-Now book: THE NIGHT WE SAID YES by Lauren Gibaldi
  12. Most Awesomely Evocative Title: Hoodoo by Ronald Smith
  13. Book With Awesome Playlist: TRACKED by Jenny Martin
  14. Book That Will Be Awesomely Tearjerking: THE LAST LEAVES FALLING by Sarah Benwell

Tons more awesome where that came from. Hold onto your hats people, b/c 2015 is clearly going to be a year of great books!




That time my dad was arrested for no reason

Hot sky, searing white. Low roofs and dead grass. The motel. My home.

A tenant gets belligerent and refuses to pay the rent, refuses to leave. My parents run the motel. They must evict her.

So my father calls the police. They will help.

The squad car arrives. Dad explains the situation.

Then, a mistake. A gesture seen as threatening? A misspoken word? The audacity of his brownness? We never really understood. Whatever it was, it flipped a switch. A second later:

My father’s head rammed into a wall.

A heavy arm locked around his throat.

My father…
shoved in a squad car
taken away.

I could say he didn’t do anything.
I could say he just wanted help.
I could say there was no reason. 

But what I should be able to say, the argument that should work, is: he is a human and he deserved to be treated like one.

My father is in his 70s now.

A long time ago, he had a stroke and forgot many things, like:
The names of objects.
Verdant swaths of his youth.
How to read.

But he remembers this.