Sunday, March 31, 2013

Author Spotlight (Review & Giveaway) Tabitha Suzuma author of Forbidden

Today we are EXTREMELY excited to have Tabitha Suzuma author of Forbidden visit us here at WinterHaven Books. 

We have so much to share with you, including two reviews of her amazing book Forbidden, an author interview, a sneak peak at her newest novel Hurt (coming soon), AND a SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY that Ms. Suzuma was gracious enough to offer to three commenters of her choice. Enjoy!!
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published: May 27, 2010
Publisher: Definitions
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Arlene's Thoughts
As an avid reader you come across dozens and dozens of books hoping the next one you pick up will either move you to uncontrollable tears, challenge your belief system, take you on an emotional rollercoaster, show you love, make you feel hate, sigh with happiness, leave you with a sense of longing, or simply just close the book when you're done and say to yourseslf "wow, that was absolute perfection." This book didn't just do one of those, it did ALL of the above and then some.

For those that know me, they can attest to the hard fact that I don't cry over books...ever. Well, I can no longer claim that fame. My eyes were watery hours after I sat down to write my review. I was truly exhausted emotionally and psychologically after reading this book and all I could think of was torturing myself by starting at page one all over again and reading through this masterpiece from the beginning to end. Angst to the 10th degree... BY FAR!

I don't think I'll ever…EVER… forget this book or Lochan and Maya for that matter. The content shocked me but the writing and delivery left me in awe. I truly believe not just any author could have taken this taboo subject and delivered it with such flawless execution that you begin to root for the main characters as they make choices and feel emotions that are so NOT socially, or legally, acceptable.

Forbidden takes the reader into the lives of Lochan and Maya Whitely. They are two teenage brother and sister forced to care for a family of five when the father exits their life and the worst mother in the entire world abandons them. Together they raise Kit, Tiffin and Willa, and do their best to keep their family together despite ongoing challenges and struggles. Lochan and Maya cry together, comfort each other, and see one another's vulnerable side, but unfortunately, they also share a burden inexplicable to the outside world. Their burden is a love so strong that it crosses boundaries society deems unacceptable as it goes deeper than sibling affection.

I despised the loser mother of this book with such a passion, and that just propelled my level of compassion for Lochan and Maya. My heart broke for the smaller children as they learned too early that for some... life just isn't fair. For Lochan and Maya, I was in constant angst as the logical side of my brain wanted to counsel them and tell them, ", guys you can't do that. it's not right." But at the same time, the emotional side of my brain was thinking, "oh thank gawd they have each other. what they are doing isn't wrong." Then I'd stand back and think WTF did I just say? My mental babble… or rather battle was constant and the conflict I felt was emotionally charged to a level I wasn't prepared for, especially the ending. But to be honest with myself, I wanted them to love each other the way that felt natural to them… so yes, at the end of the day… I rooted them on. There you have it. To anyone that feels this is disgusting, I challenge you to read this book because believe me, it's insane to feel or see yourself seamlessly accepting and rooting for two people as they cross that forbidden boundary.

I don’t know what else to say but that I don't regret reading this book one bit and I certainly don't feel guilty about my feelings for the main characters and their choices. I absolutely love and slightly curse this book for how and what it made me feel and I know for certainty that I'll read it over again… and again… and again.. Absolutely AMAZING!!!
5 Snowflakes
Crystal's Thoughts:
My heart hurts. I am in such a state of shock and turmoil right now that honestly I don't know what to do. My brain keeps trying to convince me that this was only a book nothing more, the characters are pure fiction. My heart though has been completely ripped out and I know to the core of my being that these were not just characters. This work of art is so much more than just a book and I know that I will never recover from the devastation that has taken place.

The story told in Forbidden is actually quite simple. Lochan and Maya, both being the oldest out of their family of four, take on the responsibilities of being caretakers to their younger siblings after their mother pretty much deserts them for her own selfish reasons. These two do everything just like normal parents would, but with the added pressure of making sure no one finds out their mother is gone so that they can stay together as a family. See very simple, but when you throw in emotions things get way more complicated. Lochan and Maya start down a very slippery slope when they realize that they each have certain feelings for each other and when the pressure gets to be to much and emotions are high the unthinkable happens. They know that they have to be careful or else their family will be ripped apart but what do you do when all you want is that one person and have to hide? You find a way and that is what they do, they chance it all and things get messy.

I just don't even know what to say except that I am so broken from this book. I knew going into this book that it was going to be an emotional ride but I never expected what I read. Lochan was just so broken the entire book. I cried my eyes out for him and what he had to endure both in school and with his family. I knew in the beginning that he would rip out my heart and he did. Maya was stronger in my opinion and I wasn't as worried about her until the end. I was literally screaming at her throughout the last chapter and I have to believe in my heart that she chose to do the right thing. If I imagine the worst then I don't know if I will ever pick up another book again because my heart won't be able to take another heartache.

We as readers always find at least one book that sticks with us. I have a few that I know I will never forget no matter how much I try or how much I wish I could take away the pain of remembering and Forbidden is at the top of my short list. I was completely devastated after reading Outlander and while that book is VERY different from this one it still left me in quite a state and I never thought I would find another book that would basically kill me, but Forbidden has done that and so much more. Forbidden was beautiful, crazy, intense, powerful, shocking, and heart wrenching. Every reader needs to find a book that grabs them and never lets go so if you haven't found one or if you want another one to add to your unforgettable list then please pick this one up. The only thing I regret is that I didn't pick this book up sooner.
5 Snowflakes
Author Interview
Thank you Tabitha for visiting us at WinterHaven. As you probably know by now, Crystal, Tina and I have all read and loved your powerful and poignant novel Forbidden. But, for those who might not have had the chance to read this book yet, can you please give us the nutshell version of how you describe this story?

Forbidden is a tragic love story. The main protagonists are seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya. They have been best friends since childhood, have always loved each other deeply, and then one day realize they have fallen deeply in love with each other. But their love is an impossible one; a love that would be rejected by everyone the world over for the rest of their lives. It is the kind of love that provokes feelings of disgust, horror, and hatred in others. It is banned, it is forbidden, it is even illegal. Because they are brother and sister.

The book shows how a sibling love, in exceptional circumstances, can turn into romantic love. At the beginning of the book Lochan and Maya are more like best friends. They love each other and care for each other like siblings, but they share an even deeper bond because of their family circumstances. They are the eldest of five children: Kit (13), Tiffin (8) and Willa (5). Their father left them when they were young and has had no contact with them since. Their mother is an alcoholic who has never really grown up: she sleeps all day and goes out drinking with her new boyfriend all night. As a result, Lochan and Maya have had to take on the role of parents to their three younger siblings: cooking for them, taking them to school, caring for them when they are sick, washing their clothes, bathing them, putting them to bed, breaking up arguments and trying to get by on money they have to beg their own mother to give them. They have no life of their own, can't go out like other teenagers, and have to keep their situation a secret for fear that Social Services will find out and take them into care. As a result, they are loners at school: Maya has just one friend who doesn't fully understand, and Lochan suffers from such acute shyness, it prevents him from even being able to answer questions in class. They are loners, except for when they are together, and as their domestic situation worsens, they turn to each other for comfort, and eventually fall in love. At first they fight against it, horrified with themselves and ashamed - but the more they fight it, the stronger their love grows until they are forced to accept it and develop a relationship that they have to keep secret from the entire world.

I’ve read very few novels that revolve around the taboo and sensitive subject you chose for Forbidden. So I’m curious, what inspired you to write Lochan and Maya Whitely’s story?

I decided that I wanted my next book to be a love story – a tragic love story: star-crossed lovers who had to fight against the world to be together but were ultimately torn apart. I wanted to write a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, and I tried to think of a situation that would force two lovers apart despite their every effort to stay together. I had one basic stipulation – that the book had to be set in contemporary Britain . . . But therein lay my problem: what situation would totally and absolutely prevent two people in love from being together? Religion, culture, age-difference, teacher–pupil all crossed my mind, but as my protagonists needed to be older teens in order for their love to be taken seriously, there was always the option of eloping, running away from families or a community that condemned their relationship. I had to come up with something stronger. I had to think of something that would be universally condemned. So it was by a process of elimination that I ended up with incest: the last taboo, something that would never be accepted by the outside world; something that instantly provokes in people such strong feelings of disgust. We are biologically wired to react strongly against the mere idea of being romantically and sexually involved with a sibling or any close family member. For good reason of course: interbreeding usually produces deformities in anyoffspring. So our reaction is Darwinian and innate. But, like a mental illness, things can go wrong – biologically or circumstantially or both.

About a year earlier I had toyed with the idea of writing a book about child carers, having been one myself. Young people can be forced to become carers when a parent becomes sick or disabled, or are neglected by their parents to the point where they have to fend for themselves and their younger siblings at the most basic level. This latter scenario was the one that struck a chord in me. Growing up as the eldest of five with an abusive father and an overworked mother, I always had difficulty making friends at school, instead turning to my sister. Our relationship was extremely close – we had our own secret language and confided only in each other. When my youngest sibling was born – a brother, fourteen years my junior – I happily took over the role of main carer. I left school the week he was born, and from then on did the school run and the morning and bedtime routines – recognizing his extraordinary musical talent when he was only a few months old and teaching him the piano. I thought of him as my son; I wanted him to be my son. I even changed his name!

I realized that here were circumstances exceptional enough to feed an incestuous relationship – and the story of a carer to younger siblings was the most natural and easiest for me to write. With two teenage carers sharing the responsibility of parents, I could see how they might come to love and support and depend on each other in a way that the average brother and sister do not – the absence of parental love and the huge demands and responsibilities placed upon them pulling them close. In these circumstances they might seek comfort in each other, becoming isolated from the outside world and sharing a difficult and stressful existence that only they could understand, ultimately drawing them together into an inevitable but doomed romantic relationship.

Considering the sensitivity of the novel, did you experience any issues with having your book published?

At first I was too afraid to tell anyone about my idea, so I started writing it in secret. About two chapters in, though, I lost confidence, thinking that a story about consensual sibling incest could never be accepted for publication. So I gave it up and began looking for new ideas. But a few weeks later, I was at my editor's house for a social call, as we had become good friends, and she asked me whether I had a new book in mind. I told her no, but then I added that I'd 'stupidly' thought of writing a love story between a brother and sister, before realizing it could never get published. To my great surprise, my editor's eyes lit up. She didn't say much more, but then a few days later, I got a call from my agent saying that my publishers, Random House, wanted to commission me to write the book! It was my very first commissioned book, and I wasn't even sure I could write it, but without even having to produce a synopsis, my publishers were so excited that they were willing to pay me then and there to write the book.

What has been the reaction from your readers?

The reaction has been stupendous. Wonderful but quite overwhelming. Forbidden was not just published here in the UK, but also in the US, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece and Thailand. There is currently an online campaign set up by Latin American readers to have the book published in Spanish. I receive messages daily not just from teenagers but also from adults all around the world. I've been to award ceremonies in Germany and Italy and had to give speeches in both languages which I can barely speak! It's definitely not a book for young teens and carries a warning label, but adults right up into their seventies have contacted me to say how much the book moved them. So many people have told me that they picked up the book out of morbid curiosity and were shocked by the topic, reading it while expecting to hate it, but that soon after they started, they found themselves rooting for Lochan and Maya and desperately wanted them to find some way to stay together and have a happy ending. Many readers have got very emotional, writing me long emails about how the book changed their outlook on the topic of consensual incest as well as love in general, and begging me to write a sequel, or an alternative, happy-ever-after ending. I had braced myself for some angry or negative reviews but received almost none. The reaction has been incredible.

There's so much that happens in Forbidden that pulls at the reader’s emotional strings. I can tell you that when Lochan made a significant decision at the end of the novel, I have never cried so hard in my entire reading experience. We’re talking ugly face crying! What was your reaction as you were writing this particular scene? How many boxes of tissues did you go through?

It's a book that seems to make everyone cry! I actually found the ending almost unbearably painful to write. I was teaching during the day, so only had time to write at night, and during those final chapters I would have to keep taking breaks because I was crying so hard I couldn't see what I was writing! I remember pacing up and down the room just sobbing, or going for long walks at 4am with tears running down my cheeks. I invested so much in those characters that in my mind they became real, and I felt I was experiencing their every emotion. I completely fell in love with Lochan and Maya and it was as if I had become a part of them and was living their story. I actually ended up having a breakdown after finishing the book. I had been writing every night so intensively, getting very little sleep and I was depressed, burnt out, and emotionally and physically exhausted.

What do you hope readers will come to appreciate about your main characters, Maya and Lochan?

I hope readers will come to love them, the way I did. I hope readers will have the empathy to imagine being in Maya and Lochan's situation: so isolated, so afraid, with the weight of so much responsibility on their young shoulders. I hope they will find a way of understanding why they fell in love, realize how incredibly brave and selfless they were, and how they sacrificed everything for each other and for their family. I hope they will come to see what caring, passionate people they were, and finally I hope they will admire them for their bravery, their strength, their love and their sacrifices.

Lastly, your newest novel Hurt will be hitting the shelves on September 5, 2013! Can you share a teaser quote or scene for your fans anxiously awaiting this novel?

Sure. There are several on my website: including some audio recordings, but here is a brand new one:

‘I’m scared – ’ The words come out of their own accord, bypassing the filter in Mathéo's brain. He presses his hand down against his eyes to avoid seeing Lola's expression. There is a long silence. She lets the pause sit and then grow. He knows she is struggling to make sense of the word, of his erratic behavior. She is trying to understand.
‘Of diving?’
‘No – !’
He senses her shock through the air-conditioned, sterile air between them. Her shock and then a new emotion – a fear of her own. ‘Of what, Mattie?’
‘Of – of – ’ He fills his lungs, then empties them slowly in an attempt to force himself into a state of calm. ‘Of remembering – ’
‘Remembering what?’
‘Something terrible.’ He closes his eyes. ‘It was a nightmare, I was sure it was a nightmare. Or maybe I just really wanted to believe it was a nightmare. But then, when I was counting myself in to the dive, I began to remember, it all started coming back – ’
‘The nightmare?’ Worry and confusion sounds in Lola’s voice. ‘Or the thing you thought was a nightmare? What on earth happened that night, sweetheart?’
An image flashes through his brain. A body, just slightly out of focus. The crack of his own fist meeting bone. And blood, lots of blood . . .
He forces himself to open his eyes, forces himself to look at her. ‘I’m scared of losing you . . . ’ His tone rises. He holds his breath. Articulating the words seems to somehow magnify their power so that they take on a whole new meaning of their own. It’s almost as if he has foretold the future, cursed them both with a prophesy that cannot ever be unsaid, cannot ever be undone.
‘Why?’ A breath. She pauses as if to gather her thoughts. Strokes his hair rhythmically, gazing out of the darkened window at the distant lights of the city. Mathéo takes a deep breath, trying to steady his breathing. The morphine is acting like some kind of truth serum, of that he feels sure. The pain in his head and the shock of the fall off the diving board has skewed his thought process, knocked down his defenses, and he no longer feels in control, either of his emotions or of the words coming out of his mouth. A different type of fear begins to grip him – the one that he might fall apart completely, right here, right now in this hospital bed, and tell Lola everything. Everything his brain spewed out from the darkest recesses of his mind as he stood atop that damn diving board. Ruin their relationship with just one sentence, shatter her image of him in the space of a second, destroy every memory, every kiss, every secret, every shared moment of intimacy, every good thing that has happened between them from the moment they first met.
Her voice, oddly disembodied in the gathering gloom, propels him out from the vortex of his mind. ‘Did you – did you do something really terrible that night?’ It is barely phrased as a question, much less an accusation; it is simply the agonized gasp of someone searching for some kind of explanation.
He feels himself go completely cold, cold and then numb, as if his body were suddenly sucked dry of all substance, of all feeling, of all emotion. For one insane moment, he thinks he is going to tell her: absolve himself of all this guilt, clear his conscience and free himself from the weight of this hellish, secret albatross. But then he imagines life without Lola: the guilt still present, but not just his life in tatters, hers as well. He imagines never seeing her again: that vibrant, expressive face, that mischievous smile. The way she bites the tip of her tongue when she is teasing, the way she rubs her finger against her lip when she is worried. He imagines never again seeing the spark of mischief in those gold-flecked eyes, never again feeling the caress of her hand against his cheek. He imagines gradually forgetting the feeling of being held, of being stroked, of being kissed by Lola – and he cannot do it. Cannot utter the one word that would wipe out her love for him for ever. So he shakes his head and closes his eyes.

Thank you so much for stopping by Ms. Suzuma!
Pleasure. Thanks for having me!
Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma
Expected Publication Date: September 5, 2013
Publisher: Definitions

Additional books by Tabitha Suzuma
About the Author
Tabitha Suzuma is a British award-winning author of six books. A Note of Madness, From Where I Stand, A Voice in the Distance, and Without Looking Back. Her most recent, Hurt, will be out in September 2013. Her last book, Forbidden, a controversial and hard-hitting book about sibling incest, was translated into six languages and won the Premio Speciale Cariparma for European Literature Award as well as being nominated for a number of others. She has won the Young Minds Book Award and the Stockport Book Award. Her books have been shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award, the Lancashire Book of the Year Award, the Catalyst Book Award, the Stockport Book Award, the Jugendliteraturpreis Book Award and nominated for the Waterstone’s Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal.
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Tabitha Suzuma has signed print editions on offer for the three most interesting comments. If you liked her interview or have any further questions for her, let her know here by sharing a thoughtful comment! 

She will be picking the winners, so be sure to...
Share a comment before April 14, 2013 for a chance to win a SIGNED book by Tabitha Suzuma!!


  1. Ohmygod. Forbidden will forever be one of my all-time favourite books. I even started tearing up just reading about Tabitha talking about Maya and Lochan. I think I have a different experience than most. See, I went into Forbidden without knowing a single thing about it. I didn't know it was about incest because I don't read synopsis. I was completely blindsided when I realized what exactly was the 'forbidden' thing in it. I did suspect it was about incest (they shared these looks and touches) but only for about 3 secs before I refuted it, because I mea, she was his sister. Then BAM, he had a boner after looking at Maya's legs and I was laughing. Until I realized it wasn't a joke. After that, I didn't even come up for air or talk to my family until I finished it and I was a miserable mess.
    Sigh... Good times.

  2. A Note of Madness was one of my favourite books as a teenager, and I've lost count of how many times I've read it, especially the window scene. I think Tabitha's books just pull at human emotions, and Forbidden is no different. It's just a rollercoaster that makes you grip at the pages, and cry and scream and OH SO MANY FEELS. And I'm glad she stepped outside the box with Forbidden; you can never tell what the publishers will like! I adore how she writes books that just make me want to reread them the second I close the last page! Really makes me want to reread Forbidden now...

  3. I absolutely loved Forbidden. When I read the ARC (yes I was oh so lucky) I just knew it was amazing. I couldn't stop recommending Forbidden to everyone the year it came out. I have only a few books that I tell everyone to read. Forbidden, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Casual Vacancy by Rowling. All of these share one thing, they blew my bloody socks away. I don't cry often but Forbidden made me bawl my eyes out. I even had to write a review, which I don't do often. I just had everyone to know how amazing this book is. It completely eviscerated me. I can only hope that everyone reads Forbidden. (Now with all this talk, I'll have to go re-read Forbidden. Your plan worked!)

    1. Thanks all for your kind words. Vivien, that's such a coincidence you mentioned 'Gone Girl'. I don't have much time to read but bought it, on my sister's recommendation, just a day ago. Haven't started it yet but really looking forward to it now!

  4. First, I just want to say how lucky you guys are for being able to have Tabitha on your blog. I can't remember how I came across Forbidden(probably stumbled across it via Goodreads)-I'm just so glad I read this book because it has been on my list of favorite books since I read it. My list of favorite books is constantly changing but Forbidden along with The Fault in our stars has been on this list always. It's been a year and I still can't review Forbidden because there is no way I can put into words how awesome this book is. Of course this hasn't stopped me from practically forcing random people to read it. :D
    When I picked it up I didn't realize that I'd come to love this book so much.I finished it one sitting despite knowing that the book was not going to end too well. And then I cried. More like bawled my eyes out. It was so real.
    I can't thank Tabitha enough for writing this book-It must have been so hard for hard to do it. I mean I ONLY read the book and I was devastated,I can't even imagine how it must have been for her to write this incredibly powerful book.Thank you so much for giving us this unforgettable book.
    P.S.-I bought A Note of Madness last week and I'm very excited to read it! Congrats on the release of Hurt-I'm sure it'll become another phenomenal book. :)

  5. I loved Forbidden so much and I never had a book make me cry so much. I was a mess days after I finished reading it. It is a taboo subject, but Tabitha did a great job the way she tackled the subject. Even as I write this now, all the intense feelings I had when I was reading the book are coming flooding back. Every time I think of this book and its characters my heart aches. I'm so looking forward to reading Hurt. Tabitha is a master of words and I'm sure Hurt will be another literary masterpiece. Thank you, Tabitha, for bringing us all these touching, amazing stories! I wish you continuous success with everything you do!

    1. Oh, I forgot to sign my full name ... it is Nicoleta Dumbrava

  6. I thought of writing my opinion on Forbidden anyway so that Ms Suzuma could (hopefully) read it which is why I' am going to take this chance.
    First I was scared in a way of reading a book about incest because I can remember how I took the book in my hands and was asked which book's summary I was reading. When I told them, some of my friends were disgusted which was why I didn't buy the book then. But a few days later I did and started reading it. And like probably everybody else who got the chance of reading it yet, I just couldn't stop. I was fascinated by the beautiful story and love Lochan and Maya share. I didn't think that a story on a controversial topic like incest could be this engrossing. Maybe I'm nuts at the point that I had to buy it in English too because I thought that it had to be even better in the author's native language (I read it in German first) but it was worth it. After the second time I read it, I had to recommend it to many of my friends but also to my mother. But she didn't want to because she is one of the persons who are disgusted of incest. Which could be due to my older brother and the thoughts she could get reading the book? I don't know. Anyway, I love it and can't wait for others to come.

  7. I haven't read this book as of yet. I have it in ebook. I have heard good things about it. I am a bit scared to read it, to be honest. I am not sure if I can handle it. I do want to give it a try. I'm scared that I will start it and that I will disgusted by it. Although my friends have assured me that it is well worth the read. I will certainly take the chance.
    bhwrn1 (at) hotmail (dot) com Brooke

  8. This is a book I have been having my eye on for some time now ever since I first saw it online. All I want is to get my hands on it now to read this amazing story that I am hearing about. The writing seems to be absolutly wonderful to tell a story as orginal and worth-while as this one I am sure will be. I am sure this will be one of those books that will be shared and shared for years to come and I hope I will be able to read it soon myself to start that:) Thanks so much for all the extra info here on this blogpost and making me want to read this book ten times more than I wanted to before!

  9. I have not read this book yet but not for lack of interest. I want to read this book so incredibly bad! The problem? I need to prepare myself emotionally for this. I've read the description, I know, or like to think that I know what it will entail. I get SO emotionally involved with books, the story, the characters, I will love them all. I just know I should expect heartbreak. That's what everyone tells me. I'm okay with it, or will be. But I'm not ready for it. Not yet. Everyone is suppose to have a "Happily Ever After," right? That why I read. I know I won't be getting that with "Forbidden," & I suppose it's okay, it's more realistic that way. Star-crossed lovers? why not, I feel like their love is the realest of them all.

    Thanks you for the review and interview! :)

  10. There are a lot of books that I see hyped about online for both good and bad reasons. Forbidden was one of them, since a lot of people didn't really "get" the taboo plot beyond the most basic definition. I am so glad that I ignored these naysayers and listened to my own book judgement. Forbidden has secured a place in my top 3 favorite books of all time. I loved the way that there was a tone of darkness and foreboding from start to finish, even when I didn't necessarily notice it at the time. Lochan was one of the most relatable characters that I've ever come across, and I just want to hug him and put him in my pocket for safe keeping. I cried for hours after reading it and my friends had to bribe me to come out of my room using chicken nuggets. I then gave the book to my girlfriend, and let her soul be destroyed by this beautiful book too.

    Whether I win a signed copy or not, I just want to say thank you for not only offering this giveaway, but for writing such a thought evoking piece of literature that still haunts me and stays with me even though it has been months since I put it down.

    I suppose my one question would be: Did it take a lot of research or looking into to establish the laws and punishments regarding consensual incest? Personally, I know that I Googled laws in my state almost immediately after finishing Forbidden, just out of my own curiosity.

    1. Hi Jillyn, thanks for your lovely message. I'm very glad Forbidden moved you so. In response to your questions about research: yes, I had to do a great deal surrounding incest & sexual abuse laws in the UK. I watched several documentaries on the subject and did a lot of internet research, but because Lochan and Maya's situation was so specific and unusual, I ended up contacting my local police station, who put me in touch with a police officer who was kind enough to answer all my questions (and yes, I did tell her it was for a book! :D )

    2. Thanks for answering! :) I was wondering how you went about that, since after a few Google and Wikipedia searches I felt a bit creepy for being so interested haha.

  11. I am not a fan of contemporary books but I read sometimes that I find interesting and FORBIDDEN is one of it! It's because of the love story of these two sibling/s that will develop in the story, you know I am scared to read this book (because I do have a sister and I don't want to imagine things while reading this book. Ha ha!), but it's really interesting on how Suzuma end the book. although i dunno the end of the story. I do want to read this book because my friend recommended it to me. This is a unusual story but a lot of readers got hooked with it, and I want to get hooked!

    And I am excited to read the next book of Suzuma "Hurt" and the cover is sooo cool! :) Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  12. I heard many great things about this book, but I have yet to get a chance to read it. A lot people I follow on goodreads have Forbidden in their favs of all time ! Can't wait to give this a read. Thank you for the oppurtunity to will one!

  13. I really realy love Forbidden, this book is amazing & beautiful. I recommended the book to all my friends and now they are reading. They say it's beautiful. It's my favorite book in the world (not kidding). I'm Mexican so I hope that comes soon forbidden translated in Spanish, and Im waiting to read Hurt!! ♥


  14. I really really really want to read Forbidden. I remember when it first came out and how everybody I knew was reading it. I remember reading all of the reactions. And how controversial many of them said it was. I enjoy reading books that have polar reactions, so I can judge for myself. Thanks so much.

    jlkalman26 at gmail dot com

  15. Hi Ms. Suzuma! I’ve read tons of books from the library, but few stand out. Forbidden is one of my all-time favorite books! It's so touching, and I sat there crying like a blubbering fool. Every page just tore my heart over and over again, I can't even explain to you. In all honesty, I had my doubts about it at first. Incest is a topic I haven't read about in books, and it's hard to read about. But it was just absolutely amazing; I am so so so happy I took the chance to read this; it is most definitely one of the best books ever. The relationship Lochan and Maya have is so strong, and it's sad how it's not accepted. Forbidden is such a powerful read. I know I probably don't make any sense, but it's just so beautiful yet heartbreaking. It's hard to form all these feelings into coherent sentences. I want to start crying all over again for all the pain they went through. That would be awkward a bit awkward though, because there are people in this room. But really, I would cry in front of everyone because it’s, hello, Forbidden. I make exceptions to it. ;) The ending has to be one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. A happier ending would be nice, but not better. It doesn’t fit the rest of the book that way. I love this book to pieces.

    I'm so happy for you that Forbidden became so popular. It’s a book everyone should read at least once in their life, whether they wind up liking it, loving it, or not at all. Thank goodness it made its way to the US! It’s great that it was translated into many languages because it’s more of the beauty to share!

    Thank you for the amazing giveaway! I don’t own a copy (I really have to get one!) so I’ve borrowed it countless times from the library. I sometimes think the librarians don’t like me because I have them renew it so much. I mean, after I run out of renewals online, I have to go to the library and ask a librarian to renew it for me again. It’s embarrassing, but they’ve never read Forbidden (I don’t think so anyway). They’d understand if they read it. Forbidden is a book that I can’t put down, even after reading it so many times. Each re-read is like reading it for the first time. Each time just adds more appreciation to it. You would think I’d get tired of it, but nope! I can see myself reading this as an old lady!

    So thank you infinitely for writing Forbidden. I can’t wait to read Hurt! It’s terrible waiting, but I know it’ll be worth it. My birthday’s in September, so I’m definitely buying that for myself. Just thinking about it is making me go insane. Five more months, five more months. (Brigid makes a beautiful cover. It matches so well with the theme!)

    What was the hardest part about writing Forbidden? Was it the topic, a scene, everything? Thank you!!

    Angela C.

    1. P.S. Sorry for the long response. :o

    2. Thank you for your message and your kind words about Forbidden. In response to your question, the hardest thing about writing it was ... everything! Seriously, it was an incredibly tough book to write. But I guess the first kiss scene and the last chapter (before the epilogue) were the hardest of all.

    3. I can imagine! Does writing about their relationship get easier after the first one? Ohmygosh, the last chapter was so sad. I'm about to start tearing up just thinking about it. Thank you! (:

    4. The first kiss was especially tough to write because it had to feel authentic without being comic or totally implausible. Writing about their relationship after that did become easier until I got to the sex scene. That was SO difficult. I'm comfortable writing fairly detailed sex scenes, but one between a brother and sister which was 'first time' for both (so couldn't be too romantic) but by the same token needed to (hopefully) not disgust the reader, was a really hard balance to strike!

  16. I just have read your interview and I am absolutely impressed. I started thinking about the love between a brother and a sister but it is something I can't imagine. I also have a little brother and there were times I had to tke care of him becouse my mom was verry ill. It was hard for all of us. I would specially like to see how is Maya handeling the situation and how are they taking this huge responsability. Unfortunately I can't becouse the book is not avaible in Romania and I am not into e-books. I would really like to find out how the story goes even if I don't agree with incest you made me want to read a story like this. I got a stock of tears, specially for this book, and they are ready to go down my face so I hope I'll be one of the lucky winners!!!

  17. First, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I absolutely loved the interview, and now that I know about this book, it's going straight to my list to read STAT!

    As a blogger and a reviewer, I have already run into a lot of conflict dealing with certain situations that are portrayed in books. I feel that everyone should get a fair shake, and we shouldn't judge other people (or books) until we've either read it or stood in their shoes for a while. I read a wonderful book portraying a loving homosexual couple (there were several relationships in the book, that was the most wonderful one!) and the reviews were bashing the book because the author had not explicitly stated that there would be a homosexual relationship in the book. I was completely shocked. In my review of the book, I stated again what a wonderful part of this book this relationship was, and that it was really a tragedy that people couldn't look past this to read it. I had another reviewer tell me that I was intolerant because people didn't want to read about things like that and did they have to not only tolerate them in real life but have to read about them too? I was so completely shocked by this response. I was hoping that our world was becoming more tolerant, but this just showed to me how long we have to go.

    That is why I am so awed by your bravery and consideration to take an incestuous relationship between brother and sister to the limelight. I think it's wonderful to try to think of situations beyond our ken and think what would drive people to do certain things, and understand that drive. I'm so happy that you've had a wonderful response to your book, because it sounds incredible, and anyone would be lucky to read it. I hope you continue to have an outpouring of support, because you deserve it, and those naysayers are missing out on a wonderful book.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and I would be incredibly honored to receive a copy to read and review on my blog.

    Christina @ Ensconced in YA

  18. I have not had the chance to read any of her books. But, it sounds like an interesting story.

  19. Let me just say that I LOVED Forbidden! I have a hard time explaining what I want to say to people sometimes and I was wondering, how do you explain what you want to say when writing you book?

    I want to end this comment with a little knock knock joke: KNOCK KNOCK...WHO'S THERE?...BEATS...BEATS WHO?...BEATS ME (HAHA)

    P.S. Hope that made your day :D

  20. This was such an interesting interview. I've only just read Forbidden (about two days ago) and I still find myself constantly thinking about it. It absolutely consumed me and I loved every word of it. I haven't stopped thinking since, about what we class as right or wrong. Who do we think we are to decide who should fall in love and who shouldn't? It was breathtaking, of course heart breaking as well. I am so looking forward to reading Hurt later in the year, it sounds just as incredible as Forbidden.


  21. this was a great interview .... the true is i haven´t read the book yet ...but with this inteview i an dying to read soon .... i heard a lot of staf about the book ... but now ... it mas duty to read soon ... jijiji

    share :

  22. Hi!

    Who were the lucky, lucky winners for this amazing book?

    Nicoleta D.

  23. Sorry for the delay! I've been so busy. I will announce the winners here tomorrow (Thursday) I promise, so do check back then!

  24. Not a problem, Tabitha :-) I know you are really busy with edits right now, which keep you up at night. Whoever will win will be really, really lucky! You write masterpieces. Thank you again for the chance and I'm looking forward to reading Hurt in the fall. Maybe we are lucky to get it sooner *wink, wink* xoxo


  25. Can't wait to find out either :-) There are some reallllly lucky people!!!
    Christina @ Ensconced in YA

  26. I'm so eager to find out! haha. Whoever wins is a very lucky duck.

  27. Oooh can't wait to find who those lucky people are! :D

  28. I must have missed the winners announcement. Does anyone have the list? :-)

  29. I know! I'm excited to see who's won :D

  30. Hey all, thank you so much for your interesting comments and questions and kind words about FORBIDDEN. Thank you too for your patience: I have been ridiculously busy with the final edits for HURT (out Sept 5) and have also been quite unwell (I'm actually currently writing this from hospital).

    ANYWAY, it was almost impossible to choose just three winners, so apologies to those who haven't been lucky this time, but do check my FB page for regular competitions and giveaways:

    The 3 winners are:
    Nicoleta Dumbrava
    Christina @ Ensconced in YA
    Angela Chen

    Please send me a private message via Facebook with the following info:

    1. Your choice of book:
    HURT (not yet available but if you are willing to wait, you can get a signed ARC in maybe June/July).
    Excerpts and summaries of all 6 books are available on my website:

    If you request FORBIDDEN, please tell me which edition:
    - Black paperback (UK ed)
    - Red paperback (US ed)
    - Red hardback (US ed)
    - German edition
    - Italian edition
    - Danish edition
    - Greek edition
    - Thai edition

    2. Your name as you would like it to appear in the dedication (eg To ... )

    3. Your full postal address and country, with line breaks (as it would appear on an envelope).

    Please note that the book may take a few weeks to arrive as I will need to order it myself, sign it, and then post it (probably overseas).

    All my thanks to Winter Haven Books for hosting me, to everyone who commented, and congratulations again to the winners!

  31. Tabitha thank you so much for EVERYTHING! It was a pleasure having you on the blog and something we will never ever forget!

  32. Aw. Well, congratulations guys :)

  33. Wow! I'm so incredibly excited! Winterhavenbooks and Tabitha, thank you so much for this wonderful interview and giveaway. Tabitha, please get better soon. It just shows your ultimate dedication to your fans that you are even picking winners in the hospital!!! I will send you a facebook message soon but there is no question which book I'll pick. After all of the wonderful reviews of Forbidden, that's definitely my pick!
    Christina @ Ensconced in YA

  34. Thank you so much, Tabitha, and WinterHaven Books!!!! I loved Forbidden so much, it has a special place in my heart. I'm so looking forward to reading many more books by the amazingly talented Tabitha Suzuma. Tabitha, please, pretty please look after yourself and don't push yourself too much. WE love your stories and want more of them, but your health it's your priority right now.

    Congrats to all the other winners!

    Nicoleta D.

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