If you’re a fan of bestselling author Tahereh Mafi, you know that her new series debuted Feb. 1. What you might not know is that she wrote it at her home in Irvine. We caught up with the famous 34-year-old mother for a chat.
Q: After you graduated from University High (2005) and then Soka University (2009), you moved to Santa Monica. What brought you back to Irvine?
A: It was the summer of 2018. My daughter was 1 at the time, and my family was here. We wanted to be closer to family. And we wanted to move somewhere that is safe and clean and family-friendly and had great schools.
Q: Tell us about your new fantasy series “This Woven Kingdom.”
A: Magic, forbidden romance, court intrigue. Picture if “Game of Thrones” were set in the Persian empire with a “Bridgerton” vibe.
Q: What’s your typical day like?
A: I’ll wake up around 4 or 4:30. I do the bulk of my writing before dawn, before my daughter needs me, when it is really quiet, before everything comes to life. Then there’s the housekeeping. Meetings, emails. There’s a lot of marketing, publicity, interviews. I often work a 12-hour day when I’m drafting a new book.
Q: Your husband, Ransom Riggs, is also a famous author (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”). Does he write at home too?
A: Yes, we write side by side at desks in the same office, so we’re able to see each other all day long. He’s my confidant and co-worker and first reader on everything.
Q: What is your office like?
A: We live near protected land, so it overlooks a lot of green space. We watch the deer come and eat all our roses.
Q: How did it feel when you first made the New York Times bestsellers’ list?
A: I felt immense gratitude to hit the list. I feel very lucky to be able to write books for a living; it’s so rewarding to know that my stories are reaching readers.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: We go walking on the Quail Hill Trail quite a bit. We walk through Bommer Canyon on a regular basis. It’s lovely here. And there are so many beautiful parks. Weekends are family time.
Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A: Often we wind up at the Irvine Grill. It’s Persian food, so it’s comfort food for me. And we love Mag’s Donuts. It’s one of my daughter’s favorite places to pop into.