Sabaa Tahir Book Discussion/Signing

(Originally posted on my tumblr)

So I thought I was enormously lucky to have SJ Maas come to my area in May and I didn’t think I would get another author again any time soon.


I freaked out a lot. Two authors in one year?? Seriously #blessed

Going to Sabaa’s signing was much better than going to Sarah’s in that this time, my friend (also a big fan of Sabaa’s) came with me and I didn’t have to endure the stress nausea and stress migraine that comes with driving alone on the freeway with a bunch of asshole drivers.


Seriously this was the cutest indie bookstore I’ve ever seen. They had broomsticks and a snitch hanging from the ceiling!


I really want to know if those are replicas of the brooms from the movies because they sure look like it


(Yeah terrible picture but not much I could do about it with the lighting and all)

Because I am a total sap, I got teary when Sabaa was announced and came onstage

Some tidbits:

– Helene is based on an FBI agent that Sabaa interviewed when she was a journalist. In writing Helene’s POV, she became a person – a warrior, but also a person who hurts

– Sabaa hates the term “strong female character” because, for her, strong is already inherent in being a woman

– She finds a way to bring up Harry Potter in every event (she was wearing a Ravenclaw t-shirt that night).

– She likes having lots of villains because it’s like life; her favorite villain to write was the Nightbringer

– She based the tribal city on her memories of Pakistan and her mother’s memories of Pakistan. Likewise the tribal language is based on Urdu

– She read books about prison architecture for Kauf. She joked that her research for Kauf is the kind of thing that puts you on FBI watchlists and so she went to the library because she didn’t want to keep doing it online; she kept getting weird ads for bail bonds

– She hopes readers will take away from her books that hope is stronger than fear and hate. She believes our capacity to hope is what makes us human

– What she needs for writing: chocolate (after writing something soul sucking, she will walk to the store to get chocolate and eat the whole bar) and music (she has specific playlists for characters and pairings)

– Her typical schedule: get up, screw around on the Internet, call family and friends who tell her, “go write your book Sabaa” (had to get an app to help her procrastination on A Torch Against the Night lol), and then sits down and writes. She does her best writing very late in the night

– She read A Monster Calls while flying across the country and cried four times

– Her use of music while writing came from the time in 7th grade when her father decided to get rid of their TV. He thought that she and her brothers weren’t doing very well on their school assignments – “very south Asian parent right there”

– The script is currently being written for Ember (by the same guy who did Narcos on Netflix), but Sabaa reminded us that film projects can stall or be scrapped at any time so who knows at this point

Like the SJM signing, the atmosphere was incredible (seriously, book nerds are the best) and Sabaa was engaging and charming. If you ever have a chance to go to one her events, do it!


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