Bookwatch: Renee Ahdieh discusses ‘The Rose & The Dagger’

At last year’s Bookmark Festival in Winston-Salem, young women lined up around the corner to have Young Adult author Renee Adhieh sign their copy of “The Rose & The Dagger” and her earlier book, “The Wrath and the Dawn.”

Both books are based on an ancient Persian tale in “The Arabian Nights” in which the beautiful Scheherazade volunteers to marry a murderous king who each night marries a woman and then has her killed the next morning. As Adhieh explains on North Carolina Bookwatch, “Scheherazade marries this king and, essentially in order to spare her own life, she tells the beginning of a narrative every night and then leaves it on a cliffhanger and refuses to tell the rest of the story until the next night, so that she can stave off her own impending death.”

Adhieh continues, “I wanted to re-tell the story of Scheherazade because it is like the Persian version of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I wanted to turn it into a YA (Young Adult) story.”

Young Adult, as Adhief explains, is like herself. Although she grew up in Charlotte, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, and considers herself a Tar Heel, she also brings a world view to her writing. Her mother’s family is from South Korea and her husband’s North Carolina family has a Persian heritage, one that had great influence on the books she discusses on Bookwatch.

In her next book she will turn to her Far East roots. “Flame in the Mist,” coming out on May 17, will be another sweeping, action-packed YA adventure, this time set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan.

Young Adults and older ones, too, will enjoy hearing Adhief talk about her books, her background, and her storytelling success.

EDITOR’S NOTES: D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch” Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WUNC-TV. This week, Renee Ahdieh talks about “The Rose & The Dagger.”