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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Author Interview: Daniel & Dina Nayeri

I'm thrilled to be featuring brother and sister duo Daniel and Dina Nayeri , the dynamic duo behind writing Another Faust. Another Faust hits stores today!

How did you come up with the idea to write Another Faust?
The idea sort of came to us in pieces. When I was in grad school, some of the characters just popped into my head, along with some of the magical elements (the moths, the coffin, etc), and I immediately started talking to Daniel about it. He had studied Faust and suggested we make it the result of a Faustian bargain (initially Madame Vileroy was just a witch exploiting a group of brilliant, ambitious children). So, we teamed up and started to write! The title was the last thing to come to us.

What books have most influenced your life?
Dina: Growing up, my favorite school books were Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, Huck Finn, Gulliver’s Travels, and anything by Jane Austen. Of course, I love all sorts of young adult fantasy as well, Lord of the Rings, Dune, the Narnia books. As far as modern young adult goes, the Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing is amazing! And yes, I’ve read Harry Potter, and Twilight, too. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of books set in India for some reason. I think I’m going through an India phase. Finally, we can’t forget Goethe’s Faust (and Marlowe’s too)!

Daniel: I’ve always been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones. “The Brothers K” by David James Duncan and U.S.! by Chris Bachelder (possibly the best young American writer?). Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled detective novels. Doug TenNapel’s graphic novels (“Creature Tech” especially). Kiyohiko Azuma, who makes the manga, “Yotsuba&!” Mo Willems is pretty awesome, and he’s come up with the best character name ever, Reginald von Hoobie-Doobie (say it aloud…hehe, love it).

Have you ever noticed any similarities between you and other authors?
For Another Faust, we had to combine both our voices to come up with something entirely new. So it’s hard to pinpoint just one or two authors, since both of our influences are mixed together in this one book. Other people that have read the book have called it “Twilight meets Gossip Girl,” which is true, given the themes and ultra-modern atmosphere, but I think we definitely add a dash of the old-world storytelling to that mix.

How is it working as a brother and sister team? Did your ideas ever clash with one another about the direction of the book? /How did you come to an agreement?
Yeah, we get into a lot of arguments. If you go to our website, you can see a video of a hilarious fight we got into while editing. We usually come to agreement through hours and hours of incessant bickering. It’s sort of your typical brother and sister fighting sequence:

Step 1: realize you disagree.
Step 2: start yelling your idea at the top of your lungs.
Step 3: get super personal and forget about the book all together.
Step 4: obligatory apology.
Step 5: realize you still disagree.
Step 6: you’re starving, eat some cake and hash it out.

What was the hardest part about writing Another Faust?
See question 4. I think the hardest part was melding two very different styles into something we can both love and be proud of.

I love the cover of Another Faust, who designed it and how did you react to the finished product? We absolutely adore the cover. It’s so eerie, just like our book, and the characters are so perfectly represented. They are attractive, but there is something off about them, something you know is wrong. That’s exactly the feeling we were going for. And of course, the brilliance of the cover is completely the genius of our publisher Candlewick Press, who only ever puts out the highest quality designs.

How many books can we expect in this series?
The series is designed to take place entirely in the elite Marlowe School in NYC. Each book is a modern retelling of an old classic, using the themes of that book to tell an entirely new story. The setting is the same, because we want to show how the same set of students can struggle with these timeless issues in this modern school that brings together characters from across literature. Our second book (Another Pan) is already written and is being edited now! It will be out about a year after Another Faust. We are currently outlining the third book, and after that, we’ll see...

We encourage our readers to go to our website ( and give their opinion about what classics they would like retold!

Are you working on any other projects?
We each have our own individual books that we’re working on, both for adult and young adult audiences. Together, we’re continuing to work on “Another Series” and are cooking up a few other ideas as well!

Thanks Daniel & Dina!

For more information about this Dynamic Duo and Another Faust, please visit their website here.


  1. Fantastic interview Tina~! I have been wanting to know how they came up with the idea for the book and the dynamics of writing together as a team! :)

  2. That argument was totally true - and hilarious. That is how every argument at my house ends up! :)

  3. I could never write a book with my brother...ever! And from what I've heard about this book, I'm glad they were able to do it!

  4. How great is it that they can accomplish this together, my sybling and I would only accomplish a hair pulling contest.

  5. I think's it's awesome how a brother and sister can write a book and make everything go together perfectly. Awesome interview, I'm really looking forward to reading this(:

  6. I think that's great how they wrote a book together - I know i wouldn't be able to with my siblings

  7. I really enjoyed reading how this brother and sister team came to write a book together.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. Great interview, its always nice to learn more about the authors and the book.

  9. Awesome interview! I can't wait to read this one!

  10. I don't have a brother, but I do have two sisters. And no way on this earth could I agree with either of them long enough to finish a paragraph, let alone a sentence. So kudos to those two! I've always found books written by a duo rather than a single author have a unique voice. I look forward to Another Faust.

    Brittanynoelle (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Great interview. You asked some really good questions.

  12. I really look forward to their novel!

  13. Great interview! Now I'm even more excited! Also I could never write anything with my brother. I'm too much of a control freak.

  14. Great interview! I really want to read this book!! I have no idea how I could work with my sisters...haha but congrats to them!

  15. Wow brother and sister team, could not ever do that. this book looks so good, If i had money last wed i would of bought it

  16. I'm so eager to read this book, it sounds amazing. I could never write a book with any of my siblings to props to the Nayeri Duo for being able to write together and actually publish a book!

  17. I love that this book was written by a brother and a sister. You don't see that too often. Thumbs up to them. And I didn't know that it was going to be a series. Very cool. Thanks for the great interview!

  18. "For Another Faust, we had to combine both our voices..."

    This is something I couldn't do. Imagine having someone to write the book with - just too much compromises!

  19. I love that Marlowe was mentioned!

  20. Great interview. Am dying for a copy of Another Faust!

  21. Great interview! I didn't know that Another Faust was part of a series, so that was interesting to find out. Can't wait to read Another Faust!

  22. I was not aware this was a series, I can't wait to read it!!

  23. Awesome interview. I didn't know this was going to be a series :)
    A brother and sister writing team...I wonder how many siblings out there could pull it off!

  24. oh I can't wait to read this book!! Great interview!!


  25. Shawna Lewis

    Oh I really want to read this book it looks so darn good and the interview was wonderful thanks so much for it. I agree with them Candlewick Press did a wonderful job on the cover I love it too!!!!

  26. Great interview! It's so cool to see a brother and sister team writing together.


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