First Draft Episode #213: Renee Ahdieh
Renee Ahdieh, New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and the Dagger, the Flame in the Mist duology, talks about her latest series, which kicks off with The Beautiful, out October 8.
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Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
Renee says The Flame in the Mist contains nods to Disney’s Mulan and the classic marital arts film 47 Ronin
When it comes to pitching books by Sabaa Tahir (listen to her First Draft interview here), Traci Chee, or Sarah Nicole Lemon (listen to her First Draft interview here), Renee has you covered. Not so much, she says, when it comes to pitching her own books.
Though Renee loves physically strong female heroes like Katniss, from Susanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, she says the hero of the Flame in the Mist series has “strength of the heart.”
The Beautiful series is an homage to Anne Rice’s seminal Interview with the Vampire series (omigod don’t miss the movie version, optimistically titled Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt). She read The Queen of the Damned first. Renee loves Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, too.
Each book in The Beautiful’s four-part series will have a different main character, but they will all take place in the same world. Renee borrowed this narrative structure from the world of regency romance novels; in particular, Renee cites Sabrina Jeffries’ Hellions of Halstead Hall series as an inspiration. I came across this in getting recommendations from Bea and Leah Koch, who run The Ripped Bodice bookstore in Culver City, Calif. (listen to their First Draft interview here)!
Renee loves mysteries, like the TV series Columbo and Agatha Christie’s Poirot
In addition to Anne Rice’s many vampires novels and Twilight, Renee was also inspired by Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books (which were adapted into the True Blood HBO show) (and I recommended fellow YA author Morgan Matson watch the series - hear me and Morgan chat in her First Draft interviews here and here!).
Renee says almost every book series she loves is a version of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare or The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Duma, and she’s also obsessed with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Renee and I gush over Mirage by Somaiya Daud, but I have a bone to pick with her vis a vis robots
Google is funding efforts to delay or end death! Science is trying to restore activity to a deceased brain! Dogs and cats are being cloned (Barbara Streisand did it)! Life is wild!
Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of the Strange the Dreamer series and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, gave incredible worldbuilding advice on her episode of First Draft!
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