Her massive hit series was an immediate best-seller, selling its movie rights to Paramount Pictures before it was even published. Critics compare it to “The Hunger Games” and “Game Of Thrones” for young adult (and adult) readers.
In today’s discussion, Sabaa describes what it was like growing up in her family-run motel in the Mojave Desert, and how books played an important role in her childhood. We tap into Sabaa’s memories about family, her relationship with her parents, and how it has influenced her own values and standards of work ethic today.
In her episode, Sabaa shares how working as an editor in the international department at The Washington Post led her to writing fiction. We unpack her thought processes as a storyteller and why it’s crucial for Sabaa to portray realistic human behavior in her work. This episode is a must!
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In A Torch Against The Night, Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire. Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom. But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
- How working at The Washington Post as an editor inspired the idea for “An Ember in the Ashes” series
- Why it’s of the utmost importance for Sabaa to realistically portray human behavior in her work
- How shifting your mentality about writing from “hobby” to “work” will help you hone your craft
- Crafting a world that allows you to defy reality
- How having a writing mentor can help you the way its helped Sabaa
Learn More About Sabaa Tahir
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor at the Washington Post, where she covered the international desk and stories on child soldiers and other atrocities in Africa and the middle east. All of these experiences informed elements of her book. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
Sabaa’s Recommended Books & Resources:
Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi