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Interview with Mahtab Rohan: Your Heart After Dark

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 canceled, 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.

Pre order your copy here!

This was one of my favorite reads of 2020 and I am so excited for its release! I will be posting my review soon, which will probably be me incoherently screaming about how good it was 😂..

Please introduce yourself and explain a little about your book

A: My name is Mahtab and I love eating fruit chaat and playing badminton. My debut novel YOUR HEART AFTER DARK follows desi Canadian teen Maria Chaudhry as she navigates grief and a dysfunctional family. Meanwhile, her crush is hiding that he’s a werewolf involved in the death of her friend.

What was your inspiration for this novel and what got you into writing?

A: The inspiration is something I don’t discuss, maybe because it’s too personal. I first got into writing by keeping journals. Then in grade 6 or 7, I got really sick and had to miss school for a few days. I was too ill to do anything but sit around, so I started writing fiction.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

A: I just hope people enjoy the story and that desi and/or Muslim kids finally see themselves reflected in the YA paranormal genre. YHAD reads a lot like a contemporary novel and it’s not heavy on the paranormal aspect, but that’s just another thing that sets it apart from the typical werewolf story. It explores the darker impact of the supernatural condition and how it slowly unravels a person’s life.

Will Benji be in any future book? (I realize this is probably be a spoiler, but I had to try)

A: LOL I don’t know! It’s possible. I haven’t finished outlining the companion series yet because I’m focusing on a different project (a YA fantasy inspired by Kashmir).

What are your favorite books?

A: My favorites lately have been EVEN THE DARKEST STARS and WE HUNT THE FLAME. Right now, I’m waiting for the release of WE FREE THE STARS and BEDTIME STORIES FOR THE END OF THE WORLD.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

A: If you’re serious about becoming an author, learn how to develop self-discipline and follow strict schedules. This is especially critical in the world of indie publishing, where you have to be your own manager.

How would the characters in Your Heart After Dark react to social distancing?

A: That’s an interesting question! I think the group of friends would still meet up constantly but try to maintain physical distance. Adrian would think his mushroom-induced apocalypse dreams are finally coming true; he’d be shaken for a while.

Your main character has a twitter account, what tweet would they send?

A: @Maria Anyone wanna trade some manga??

And lastly, because I have to know, who is your favorite Disney character?

A: I love Mulan. Her bravery and determination are really inspiring traits. I also really love Sebastian from The Little Mermaid and Raven Baxter from That’s So Raven.

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