Today I am welcoming author Renée Ahdieh on the blog to chat about the mysterious Sebastien Saint Germain from her new book The Beautiful.
Q: If Sebastien were a were-beast, what would be his identity? Why? I asked this question once about your WRATH AND THE DAWN characters, and I’m curious about these too.
Renée Ahdieh: I love this question! I think Bastien would be a were-lion. It would be the most fitting, since he is a member of the Court of the Lions. It suits him. Especially because—even though a lion rules a pride—they can’t get anything done without the right lioness.
Q: If Sebastien went to an interview and was asked about his biggest strength and weakness, what would he say? Would it be different from what you our other characters would say about him?
Renée Ahdieh: When I wrote The Beautiful, I envisioned it as Celine’s story, for the most part. Bastien is a boy with a past marred by loss. He’s become a young man who masks his pain with arrogance and humor, instead of truly going within himself to understand how his history has shaped him. Meeting Celine definitely makes him question himself, so I think he would say his weakness is his inability to deal with loss. His strength lies in his love. When Bastien loves, he loves fiercely.
Q: Bastien is just one of many diverse characters in THE BEAUTIFUL. How did you balance your desire for a diverse cast with historical accuracy?
Renée Ahdieh: It was such a treat to write about New Orleans. Even during the Victorian Era, the mixing of cultures and races was rampant in the Crescent City. For a long time, it was a major port in the slave trade, and it was colonized by both the French and the Spanish. Many different cultures blended here, and even formed their own unique traditions of their own, which has helped make New Orleans a city like no other, for better and for worse.
Q: Did you research the ‘rules’ about vampires and how they operate? What other research did you do for the book?
Renée Ahdieh: I’ve been a huge fan of vampire lore ever since I was twelve. I read Anne Rice’s books, then fell in love with Dracula before moving into all kinds of Gothic fiction. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing The Beautiful was getting a chance to hat-tip all the great stories I read throughout my life at the same time I was able to develop a lore all my own.
Q: One theme in the book that pertains to Bastien is a person’s sense of duty vs their personal freedom. What would Bastien say about balancing those two desires?
Renée Ahdieh: At the beginning of the story, Bastien would have said the only things worth sacrificing himself for were his family and his city. He would not have cared about anyone or anything else. At the end of the book, I think he would say something different. But I think the Bastien I most loved writing was the one who would say he doesn’t think he should have to sacrifice either.
Thank you for answering my questions! I've enjoyed getting to know Bastien a little bit better, and I cannot wait for the next installment.
**Special thank you from Sandie @sandieachen for some of these question ideas!**
About the Book:
Published: October 8, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young
Category: YA, historical fiction, fantasy, vampires, New Orleans
Series: The Beautiful 1/2
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.
At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.
About the Author:
Renée Ahdieh is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog.
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