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Author Renee Ahdieh on the murderous, romantic world of “The Wrath & The Dawn”

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“The Wrath and the Dawn” is an exciting fantasy thriller (inspired by Arabian Nights stories) tells the story of the eighteen-year-old boy Caliph of Khorasan who marries a new bride each night only for her to be found dead by sunrise. Sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid hoping to avenge her best friend, one of the innocent girls he’s killed. Things get complicated as Shahrzad starts to fall in love with Khalid and that love story changes everything.

“It’s difficult to be different when you’re younger,” explains “The Wrath and The Dawn” author Renee Ahdieh in an interview with VOX during the recent AJC Decatur Book Festival.  “But it’s definitely something I appreciate now.” Renee Ahdieh is mixed race (she has a Scottish father and a Korean mother) and she’s familiar with how difficult it can be growing up influenced by so many cultures but now, she says, she embraces it.

Explains the author: “I’m naturally drawn to people who come from different backgrounds, and it’s absolutely influenced my work. I wanted to write the books I wanted to read. Growing up, there weren’t many books that reflected an array of cultures and different experiences so I wanted to fulfill that.”

“The Wrath and The Dawn” is a perfect mold of different folk tales and takes cultural influences from Central and South Asia, North Africa, and Persia. “The book is mostly influenced by Persian Culture as is most of the world and I had the chance to get in the kitchen with my Persian mother-in-law,” says Ahdieh. “When I began writing ‘Wrath,’  I spent a lot of time researching Persian cuisine which provided much of the inspiration for the food in the book. I knew I wanted those particular scenes to resonate with readers.”

Ahdieh’s husband is Persian and in “The Wrath and the Dawn,” readers see a lot of Persian customs and you notice a lot of Persian words which are defined in the glossary in the back of the book. The author also describes Persian cuisine and creates such a vivid image for readers you can almost taste the food.


For her novel, Renee Ahdieh says, “There are no heroes and no villains. They’re just different people who want different things. In a villain’s eyes, he’s the hero of his own story. I wanted the characters in ‘The Wrath and The Dawn’ to live in a world of grey where there weren’t good decisions or bad decisions. They were just decisions that eventually had consequences.”

Readers will likely be able to relate that theme to their everyday lives as most are probably prone to thinking of the world as a grey area, too. Everyone in the world is the way they are because of their circumstances and their environment.  People often change based on what they want and in the end, we all make choices that will impact the future.

Before she departed to meet fans at the Decatur Book Festival, Ahdieh dropped some major hints about what she is currently working on: “In the next book you can expect, more kissing, more swordfighting, more impossible choices, and there might even be a magic carpet ride.”

In other words, there’s a sequel! Go add the next book, “The Rose and the Dagger”( which comes out in 2016) to your wish list.

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