Saturday 2 July 2011

Interview with Renee Ahdieh (Author of Fanfare)

Ambur: Hey Renee! Thanks for stopping by! :)
Renee: Thanks so much for having me!

Why don’t you tell us all a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m a bit of a mess right now! Trying to share my debut novel with anyone even remotely interested can be a bit chaotic, but I love it! Normally, I’m a pretty average, book-loving, twenty-something woman. I mostly love to read fiction, but I will read the occasional true crime novel, when the spirit moves me. I live in North Carolina with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. Outside of reading and writing, I love to cook and travel. I’m a right-brained person, and I spend entirely too much time indulging the creative side of my psyche! My life is filled with friends, family, food, and fiction, and I feel so grateful for it all.

And now that we know more about you, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your new book, Fanfare?
It’s first and foremost a love story. When I began writing it, I knew I wanted to do something that resembled a modernization of Jane Austen – a story focused on characterization and grounded in witty dialogue. Creating a main character with a diverse background was also incredibly important to me. I know that this kind of love story has definitely been “done” before, but Cris’ attitude and perspective are unique, and the story contains a lot of inspiration from pop culture. I think it’s the type of book that a mother can read with her teenaged daughter, and I love that.

Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write Fanfare?
I love this question! I’ve taken many facets of the story from my life and the experiences of my closest friends and family. Alas, I do not know any famous actors, but I was incredibly intrigued by the cult-following of current heartthrobs like Justin Bieber and Robert Pattinson. You can absolutely see the influence of the latter in the character of Tom. It made me think about the fact that so many people would love the chance to date someone famous, but I don’t know if they’ve actually thought about the practicality of such a situation. As you can see in FANFARE, it’s definitely not as wonderful as it sounds!

Have you always wanted to be an author or was it something that you didn’t realize you loved until you started doing it?
I always loved to write, but I don’t think I realized that I was meant to do it until I began seriously writing. I lost myself in it, and I never felt as though it was work or tedious. I feel so lucky and grateful for the opportunity to make a career out of it.

What advice do you have for other aspiring authors out there?
If you love something with pure conviction, it should not matter if anyone else likes it. Critics are everywhere. An artist is unique.

I read on your blog that you’ve written Fanfiction, did you find writing Fanfic to be a helpful experience when it came to writing your original work? Was it pretty much just practice, or were the two processes completely different?
I’d say the processes were very different, but writing fanfiction was excellent practice for me. I don’t think I had the confidence necessary to complete an original work, but writing fanfic helped me organize myself and create a system that made it much easier to write my own work.

I also just have to comment and say, that I’m a big fan of Fanfiction myself, and I even went and read your story, An Untitled Continuation of the Twilight Saga, after I read about it on your blog. That Fanfic was rather intricate, and I imagine it involved a lot of research. So I was wondering how did researching for Fanfare differ from researching for the Fanfic you wrote?
Well, my fanfiction was in the paranormal genre, so it was really fun doing the research about vampires, werewolves, etc. With the paranormal genre, you’re not confined to reality, and that can be a blessing and curse. In FANFARE, there are many references to different cultures and different locations. The research was a bit more technical and it had to be accurate.

Music and the phenomenon of celebrities both played huge roles in Fanfare. During your writing process, did you use music and celebrities for inspiration? Do you have any playlists or songs that you’d love to share?
Music is a huge part of my writing process. I wrote FANFARE almost exclusively to the album The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky. If you’ve never checked them out, you are missing out! Of course, my main character’s love interest was inspired largely by Robert Pattinson, but mostly just on the surface, as I don’t know him at all and could never presume to create a personality from a few pictures and interviews. Right now, the book I’m currently working on is about a pop star, and I’m taking a lot of inspiration from Britney Spears and her contemporaries.

You’ve told me you’re a Glee fan, so I thought now would be the time to ask you a couple of Glee-related questions. So...who’s your favourite Glee character, and if you could only listen to one song that has been performed on the show for the rest of all time, which one would it be?
My favorite Glee character? Oh, no! I think I love Sue the most just because she is so loveably horrible. Her one-liners just kill me. My favorite song on Glee would probably be a tie for Defying Gravity and the Poker Face duet. I just loved those so much.

Any other comments that you’d like to share, Renee?
If you enjoy reading about celebrities and you’re a sap for a good love story with humor, depth, and great characters, you would really love FANFARE! ;-)

Thank you so much for doing this interview Renee! It’s been great having you here! :D
Thank YOU, Ambur! You’ve been amazing!


Renee is awesome! I've had the pleasure of talking to her several times, and she's just fantastic! :D 
If you want to know more about her, or about her book, FANFARE, I've provided you with several links to check out. :D

Where you can find Renee

More about FANFARE and where you can get your copy


Happy Reading!!!

♪♫ Ambur

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