Where I relive the experience and share all the feels before, during and after meeting these fantastic authors WHO ARE BASICALLY LIFE.
How and where should I start?
Okay. So please expect that this going to be a long post.
I was so honored and lucky and grateful for being invited by JB from National Book Store to be a part of Tahereh Mafi's Blogger Forum before her book signing last March 2. Imagine how I screamed my lungs out when I saw the email invitation! And the best thing? I know most of the bloggers joining! So I went there an hour before the forum (I woke up terribly late and was panicking the entire time) and met up with my lovely co-bloggers. We were all fan girling and gushing and smiling like crazy when Tahereh arrived!
So what happened during the forum, you ask. We almost like interviewed Tahereh and if you haven't met her in person, be jealous now because she is so darn pretty, awesome, sweet and hilarious! I was able to record the interview on my phone except for the first question. I missed Louisse's question because I was panicking and don't really even know to navigate my phone yet. I transcribed the entire thing which seriously took hours but I am so okay with it. I loved listening to Tahereh's voice and her funny antics!
Note: I tried to transcribe the EXACT recorded conversation and just removed the fillers. I am sorry I couldn't post the exact recording file at the moment. I am figuring out how to convert it and I was really noisy at the back ground so its kind of embarrassing.
Geraldine: I'd like to ask which guy do you like most, is it Adam, Warner or Kenji and will this affect Juliette's decision?
TM: I definitely think my personal opinion's affects what is gonna happen in this book. But I think they'd have too, in some ways because I understand these characters in a way that is slightly uncomfortable to be honest, because they are not real and yet they feel very very real to me. But Kenji is very much inspired by my brothers. His character is the amalgamation of my older brothers, his personality. If you guys read Unravel Me? There's like a line in the beginning of Unravel Me where Kenji is talking to Juliette and Juliette is like "lower your voice" and he's like "no", she's like "why not" and he says "because if I lower my voice I wont be able to hear myself speak and that's my favorite part". And that is a conversation I had with my brother where he finished saying that and I was like "hold on" and I pulled out my phone and I just wrote it down and I was like "I'm sorry that is going in a book". So its really really fun to write Kenji. Its like I'm talking to my brother and I think for that reason, it would be really uncomfortable for me to feel something romantic for Kenji. But other than that, as far like the Team Adam or Warner, I asked my Mom. I was like "Are you Team Adam or are you Team Warner?" and she said "I'm Team Handsome!". So I'm going to stay with that answer.
Dea: How do the fan's opinions affect the course of the series?
TM: Its been really enlightening actually because I finished writing the second book before the first book was even out. Actually, I finished like finalized edits, you know the big final edits on the second book just as the first book was being published. Its like the same day actually, I was so stressed out. I knew what was gonna happen in Unravel Me but no one else did and to hear people and readers be really excited about Warner just from reading Shatter Me was really kind of strange because he's an extremely disturbing character in the first book and he does like these really horrible, horrifying things and people are like "ohh warner" and I was like "haaaaa whyyyy". You know its a little weird but I was like but its okay coz I kind of.. you know there so much more to him and I like that, I like that readers were able to see that there are multiple layers to Warner so that was really exciting. But I think that did push me to wanting to write a novella from his point of view. My publishers wanted me to write, for those of you who dont know, there's Destroy Me that comes out between Shatter me and Unravel Me and that's all from Warner's point of view. So my publishers wanted me to write an e-novella that would be released between the first and the second book but they'd originally suggested a prequel which is something that I thought would be really boring and irrelevant to the story. And hearing from people so much about Warner made me want to write something from his point of view. I thought it would help to have something from his perspective. So it definite has an impact on me.
Clarissa: Will you write another dystopian series like Shatter Me or are you planning on diverting to other genres say, contemporary YA?
TM: I love contemporary but I dont think I could ever write it. It's extremely difficult I think. I wouldn't really know how to write a relatable contemporary novel because I feel like my teenage years were not very.. contemporary relatable.. Wait! I dont know to explain it, like Anna and the French Kiss, I dont know if you guys are familiar with it? I love it, its one of my favorite contemporary novels. It's so sweet and so like your heart is like a gooey chocolate cookie after you finish reading it. Its really great and I just dont think I could ever write a contemporary novel like that so I just read them mostly. But I think I will awalys write something that has paranormal fantastical element to it and thats what I'm looking forward to writing after Shatter Me. Something like that.
Maryann: First of all you're so beautiful. You look like a model. Question is, does Juliette attributes or characteristics reflect you in the book?
TM: Thank you. Is that a statement? because she's kind of crazy. Juliette, first of all you're very sweet. That's a very sweet thing to say. But I think Juliette is like the kind of teenager I wish could have been. I really wanted to write about someone who had undergone extreme difficulty and came out of it with compassion and great sense of dignity and empathy for others and because that's I think is real strength, I wanted to write something about great inner strength, someone who is more than just like physically strong and could like shoot people and kill them and be like "yey, im tough" because I just feel like that's not enough, that's not gonna sustain you as a human being and this series is so much about her growth as an individual over the course of the 3 books. By the third book, she's almost unrecognizable, she's so different from skinnish animal, crazy, character than she is in the first book and she really comes into her own and finds her voice and I just really admire her, I wanted to write about someone I admire so its very flattering to me that you would think I share any attributes with her. But I think as a seventeen year-old I wasnt.. I was a very angry teenager, you know it was very like emo-angsty and I think I would have liked to be more like juliette.
Chyna: Hi Tahereh. If you weren't an author right now, what would you have become?
TM: That's a good question. A lot of things, I wanted to be a lot of things. When I was like 5, I wanted to be a chemist. And then I just can't take like how much Math is in Chemistry and I was like "forget that". But I was really a precautious child. But I think I would have loved to be a fashion designer.
Host (Chad): Well, you look very fashionable today.
TM: Thank you! You guys are nice! I think I'm gonna stay here.
Alyana: So why did you pick a villain to be one of Juliette's love interest and who among the two would you prefer if you were her?
TM: I can't answer that question! I don't actually believe he's a villain. I think the villain is a.. yeah, spoiler alert.. I think the villain is really somebody else that you'd meet in the second book. And so for me, I think I've always been extremely fascinated by human being's capacity for immense goodness and to just like abject terror and terribleness, like I mean we can be so good and we can be so bad, we have the capacity for such extremes. And that's always fascinated me because its like in one person, all human beings and they have the ability to be that way and I wanted to study someone whose sort of squirting the line between both, flirting with the line between good and evil. I don't think anything is ever black and white. I think people are so many shade of gray, am really gonna regret saying that! shades of pink! shades of warner! aaah, This is going downhill. But I think people are just so much more multi-faceted than they appear. They're so much more than what meets the eye. So anyway, yeah, I don't think he's a villain and I can't answer the question about who she or who I think.. read the third book!
Tiff: If you really had to choose a scene in your book to relive, because I remember you answered that in your video but I think it was a jokey type of answer, so which one would you choose? Either as an invisible Watcher, or an Outsider or as a character yourself?
TM: In all, in both Shatter Me and Destroy Me and Unravel Me, like any.. yeah I did answer this question in an interview but I was like "Its a dystopian novel, everything is horrible, I don't wanna relive any of those moments". But I would not mind, probably wouldn't wanna be a fly on the wall in the middle of Chapter 62, that would be really uncomfortable and kind of gross. I dont know! I feel like the good parts are like really like fun but I also feel weird because.. that just makes me feel kind of inappropriate. I dont know, this is a tough question! I.. what about you? What would you like to... (Tiff: I dont think my answer is...) That's okay, what happens at the blogger meeting stay at blogger meeting I guess.. Wait, what? (Tiff: I don't think you would want to hear my answer).. I do! now I really wanna hear the answer.. Just say it, out loud.. say it.. Vampire...Would you wanna be Juliette or Warner? (Tiff: definitely not warner).. Ahhh that's a good answer!
Me: Hi.. I would wanna ask about the covers.. Why the sudden change and whats the relevance of the eye to the story?
TM: The cover changes are all my publisher. The original cover of Shatter Me was a girl in a white dress, shouldered like a Kardashian. I'd like to tell a story, I got an email once from a reader who is like "I wasnt gonna read your book because I thought it was about, like a fashion model and then I read it, and I was so glad I did because I had nothing to do with being a fashion model or something", I was like, "that didnt work". That actually added itself as a reason why we changed the cover. My publisher was so excited about the original cover, they thought it was really pretty, like bam blam or something which doesn't really suited dystopian novel which they thought would be an engaging cover and I think they realized it didn't really suit the story. This eye..is.. iconic.. yeah, sorry about that.. It's really metaphorical, it's highly metaphorical in the way that the book is extremely metaphorical, Juliette's head is like kinda crazy, she thinks in really extreme ways and (this is Ransom Riggs by the way) and so you know, like on the Shatter Me cover, like the branches are sort of bare and there's like a little water fall, her tears.. and then Unravel Me everything sort of freezes over and the water fall becomes like an icicle, like the branches sort of freeze, it's like its progression of what's happening, the story, wha'ts happening in her head, how she's sort of evolving as a person and things are dying, regrowing, so it's highly, highly metahorical, and its really creepy in a way that I kind of like so..
Host (Chad): So how will the current eye look like? for the third book?
TM: I can't tell you! I've seen it though. Its pretty!
Me: You're so gorgeous, oh my god. Are you wearing the Shatter Me shoes?
TM: I am not wearing the Shatter Me shoes!
Me: Thank you!
TM: Thank you, you're so sweet. I know you from Twitter! Nice to meet you!
I've limited the Blogger Forum questions because if I didn't, this would be longer than I wanted it to. As I've mentioned earlier, Tahereh Mafi is so sweet, cool, awesome and hilarious. I laughed all throughout the forum and I feel so privileged being a part of this event. Here are some pictures at the forum and you're right, Ransom Riggs was there, too!
She also recognized us from Twitter, highlighting Louise, Kai and me! Again, here are some pics from the Forum! Aside from Louisse and Maricar who actually stayed for the signing, most of us still went at the signing venue but just stayed for a few minutes because most of the interview questions were asked during the forum and man, the place was jammed! And we had our lovely time with Tahereh and Ransom! She even had our Unravel Me copies defaced!
|Just a glimpse at the signing event after the Blogger Forum!|
|Dani, Leslie, Dianne, Kai, Alyana, Tiff, Chyna, Kai and Lyra and other bloggers at the Forum.|
|My defaced Unravel Me and Signed Shatter Me. I also had my ARC of Unravel Me signed!|
|Me and Tahereh like close friends! :))|
How many time can I say that I feel so honored and privileged being invited in this event! It was indeed my first blogger conference and I guess, aside from getting ARCs, this is one of the so many perks of being a book blogger! I have never fangirled in my life as I did when I met Tahereh and Ransom and trust me, I will treasure it in my heart for the rest of my life.
Am just leaving links here for the pictures taken during the event: