Tahereh Mafi: Shatter Me Q&A Part 1

I know Shatter Me author Tahereh Mafi just did a big fancy interview in Entertainment Weekly … but frankly, we think their questions are kind of boring.

So we asked our own. Today, we bring you part one of our four-part Q&A with Tahereh!

The idea of going through life without human touch is quite tragic. How did you come up with the concept for this aspect of SHATTER ME?

I didn’t, actually. I had no idea what the story was about when I first started writing it. I heard Juliette’s voice in my head one day, and all I really knew about her was that she was alone, afraid, and locked up for something she didn’t mean to do. She led the story and told me where to go; I uncovered her secrets as I wrote the book.

I really love the stylized writing technique used throughout SHATTER ME, in particular the way some words or phrases would be crossed out. What sort of effect do you hope this conveys to readers?

The strike-throughs are meant to express the turmoil and chaos in Juliette’s mind. She’s been isolated for so long and has nothing but a small notebook to write in; her thoughts are caught between the written and the spoken and she can’t really differentiate between the two, especially not in the beginning. She’s afraid to speak; afraid to admit things to herself; afraid to trust her own judgment. As the story progresses – and Juliette’s character grows stronger – the strike-throughs lessen, and her true voice takes shape.

There’s a lot of talk in SHATTER ME about things that went wrong in the world and lead to the situation in the book. What (if any) current issues helped shape/influence the direction of your dystopian world in SHATTER ME?

I tend to watch a lot of documentaries. One in particular was about a school of male fish that’d developed female eggs as a result of all the estrogen being flushed (and unfiltered) through the human body and into the rivers and oceans. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t stop wondering about how these perfectly normal fish were suddenly mutated by something we’d unconsciously pumped into their natural habitat. I couldn’t help but wonder how easily we’re affected by our surroundings and about how turbulent the weather and the state of our environment has become.

The world of SHATTER ME became a place for me to ask questions about what we’re doing to our planet and – worse case scenario, of course – where we might end up.

Thanks, Tahereh! Tune in tomorrow for part 2!

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