We were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with AN EMBER IN THE ASHES author Sabaa Tahir at Yallwest to discuss a little about book three, A REAPER AT THE GATES.
A Reaper at the Gates, book three of Sabaa Tahir‘s An Ember in the Ashes series, is almost here, and we had an opportunity to speak to the author about the series. Don’t worry, though, we didn’t spoil it for those who still haven’t had a chance to read book two, A Torch Against the Night, but she does tease a few things that are to come.
How much time has taken place between books two and three?
No time. It gets into it right after. Well, that’s not exactly true. Maybe like… it’s sort of hard to explain just because there are multiple points of view. So, the first point of view actually does take place very, very, very shortly after the end of the second book. And the next point of view is a couple of months after that.
What was it like writing between 3 points of view and now 4 for Reaper?
Very similar to the past experience. It was just a matter of really trying to divide the voices in my head and find each individual story and make that shine and stand out on its own before I put them together. You have to make sure that each voice is very distinct.
We had some shocking reveals regarding relations between characters in A Torch Against the Night. Do we expect to see more surprises or reveals in A Reaper at the Gates?
Yeah, there’s definitely more reveals in book three. It’s not all necessarily about relations. It’s also sort of like historical events that have happened and what has lead some of the characters to this point.
What can you say about Harper and Helene’s relationship?
Harper and Helene have sort of learned to trust each other, and I think that that’s a really important thing for Helene to have, somebody who she can talk to and somebody who she can trust. Particularly at this moment in time where she’s building a wall around herself. She’s going to need somebody who she can put that wall down for, and I think that’s where Harper comes into play, as a friend.
What can you tease about the Nightbringer’s involvement in Reaper?
What I can say about the Nightbringer is that he is our big baddie, and he’s kinda been the puppetmaster since day one. He’s the first character I ever saw in my head from the series. And so, he’s a very integral part of the whole story and as the primary antagonist I think that- in Ember, they don’t yet know that’s who they’re supposed to fear, and he’s doing it on purpose. There’s a reason for that.
Are we going to get to know more about his history?
A little bit, yeah.
Are there any new characters you’re excited for us to meet in Reaper?
Yeah, so there’s a couple of characters in a different part of the world that I’m excited for people to meet. There’s one in particular who was really fun to write. And there’s mostly like set pieces and big scenes that I’m excited for people—that I can’t wait for people to read.
In book two, it already seems like it was everywhere. And now it’s going to be even bigger. Is that why you decided to write four books instead of three?
I had always known it was going to be four. I planned it as four books from the very beginning. The story wouldn’t really work in three books, so when Penguin initially bought the first book, and asked, ‘What’s your plan for the series,’ I had said ‘It would have to be four books. Would you guys be willing to do that?’ And they said, ‘Well, yeah. Let’s do the first book first.’
Attending events like this, what’s your favorite thing to do aside from meeting the fans?
Probably eat. Yeah, I’m really into eating. I really love to find the green room and eat all the food. That’s my favorite thing to do. Usually I don’t have any time, so I find the green room, stuff my face, and then move on to the next thing.
How has your writing developed since the first book?
I would say that I feel that it’s gotten much harder in some ways. I always want to be better, right? So, when you’re always trying to be better, you have to keep learning. So, you’re learning and you’re also writing and you’re also doing the business side of being an author. So, it’s a lot more work, but I think that my whole approach to writing is that I never ever want to be satisfied. I can write a book and say I’m proud of that book, but I never want to write a book and say that’s the best book I’ve ever written, until I’m like…95 and about to croak. And then I can be like, “That’s the best book I’ve ever written!” Dead! So, right now it’s about trying to up my game every single time. And that’s the hard part of writing.
I know this might be going too far ahead, but do you have any plans for after the series is done?
I do, but I can’t talk about it!
Of course you can’t.
So, there you have it. We can’t wait to read A Reaper at the Gates and find out what craziness Sabaa will bring into our lives, but be ready to post those crying gifs after you’re done, because we have a feeling we’re going to need it to express our feelings.
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