Tahereh is a New York Times bestselling author whose first book, Shatter Me, launched her to fame – the rights to the series have been optioned to ABC Signature Studios. The “Shatter Me” series debuted in 2012, and Tahereh’s newest book, “Furthermore,” is releasing August 30, 2016. The California-based writer spoke to The Tempest about her work and inspiration.
The Tempest: Describe the ‘Shatter Me’ series. What was your inspiration for it? What were you trying to achieve with the series?
The entire series revolves around the evolution of a timid girl on her path to becoming a strong, independent young woman. Juliette, the main character, starts out as a kind of skittish, broken animal in “Shatter Me;” when we meet her she’s weak beyond words – on the brink of insanity – but as the series evolves, so too does she.
Her metamorphosis over the course of the three books teaches her to love herself with or without the validation of others. It is, at its core, a story about a girl trying to find herself in a world trying to tell her who to be.
What differentiates your upcoming work ‘Furthermore’ from ‘Shatter Me’? What’s changed in terms of your style and your experience writing?
My writing always depends on the voice of the protagonist; the minds of my main characters dictate the touch and feel of the prose. In this case, “Furthermore” is more of a modern fairytale; it’s a love letter to some of my favorite childhood stories: “Anne of Green Gables,” “Harry Potter,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Alice in Wonderland” – and it’s written in a more storybook fashion.
What are you reading right now?
The last thing I read was “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka.
What are you trying to achieve, generally speaking, with your work?
I want to write stories that speak to the complexity of humanity.
What’s your advice to young women of color looking to get into this field?
Your voice is critical – perhaps more critical than ever – and I hope you will never give up. Please don’t ever stop trying. We need you.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.