Hello my booksicles!
I’m very excited to be sharing the rapid fire interview I did with Mahtab Rohan about her debut novel: Your Heart After Dark. I am very excited to read this paranormal contemporary with Muslim rep (!!!) and I am very grateful for the time Mahtab took to answer my questions!
Here’s a bit about the book [add it on Goodreads]:
Maria Chaudhry’s personal demons trap her in a downward spiral, but the beast lurking in Ehmet’s blood can do a lot worse than that.
After a year of living in a prissy suburb, Maria Chaudhry is back downtown. Back to what she never wanted to leave. But she can’t really enjoy it since neither the living nor the dead will leave her in peace.
JC’s death still keeps her up at night and Ehmet’s sudden ambivalence isn’t helping. Maybe she had read his signals wrong and Ehmet was never in love with her like she thought. Or maybe his love is tangled with secrets too dark to speak aloud, secrets about JC’s death and the unpredictable beast in Ehmet’s blood.
When an upcoming hiking trip is cancelled, there’s no pretty path left towards the truth. A growing spiral of deceit threatens to tear Maria and Ehmet apart forever, but the beast lurking within Ehmet can do a lot worse than that.
Mahtab Rohan’s debut YA novel delivers a paranormal tale of crumbling friendships, malevolent secrets, and the struggle to have hope in the face of uncertainty.
Pitch Your Heart After Dark in one sentence:
A desi Muslim teen deals with dysfunctional family & her crush hiding that he’s a werewolf involved in her friend’s death.
Describe yourself in 5 words:
President: Secretly-Hates-Weddings Association
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m an ex-planster turned full-time plotter.
A fun fact about one of the characters in Your Heart After Dark:
Ehmet is a significant character in a related urban fantasy I’ll be working on soon.
What was the biggest change from the first to the last draft?
The POV changing from third to first person. Yes, I rewrote THE ENTIRE thing.
Why did you choose to write in the supernatural genre?
I didn’t choose the supernatural– the supernatural chose me. Really though, I can’t write pure contemporary. I’m not sure why. I have a hard time reading purely contemporary books, too.
What inspired you the most to write Your Heart After Dark?
Lingering teenage angst. [big mood]
Your favourite books as a child:
Franklin, Clifford The Big Red Dog, The Cloud Book, books on endangered & unique species.
As a kid, I loved those book order forms we got in school. I don’t think there was anyone else in my class who was as obsessed with them as me, even though I rarely got to actually order anything.
Your favourite book of 2020:
I can’t say! 2020 isn’t over yet!
Your most anticipated release of 2021:
WE FREE THE STARS by Hafsah Faizal. Someone please cryofreeze me.
[I’m excited for this one too!]
The author that most inspires you:
I find Hafsah Faizal inspiring because she’s basically the most visible type of Muslim woman there is and she’s not sorry for it. Every time I see her on a graphic for a convention or workshop, I just think about how powerful the image is.
Your favourite word:
Majawar (roughly translates to “religious mendicant”).
What is your favourite quote from Your Heart After Dark?
“There’s no easy way to stop loving someone.”
Do you have a tip for overcoming writer’s block?
If I have writer’s block, I take time away from writing and do some reading, or I work on a different writing project. I always have books and sources of inspiration I can go to if I need a quick pick-me-up.
If my writer’s block gets real bad, I recite a prayer that Moses said when God asked him to approach Pharaoh.
[I love this answer so much!]
Describe the Kashmir-inspired YA fantasy you’re currently writing in one sentence:
Aided by a mountain-dweller who hates royalty, undercover rani Neelum journeys through a treacherous mountain to find a cure for her dying cousin.
[This sounds like the book of my dreams- I can’t wait]
About the author:
Mahtab Rohan is a Canadian writer of South Asian & Himalayan descent. Rohan was born in Ontario and currently resides in the relentlessly cold Canadian Prairies. When she’s not writing stories that keep her up at night, she’s busy perfecting her square rotis and tutoring English.
Thank you again to Mahtab Rohan for taking the time to answer my questions!