Book Events

Book Discussion: Forbidden

Just recently, a few of my co-PLNs had a book discussion about Forbidden. This was also attended by the author, Tabitha Suzuma. Two weeks were given for the members to read and re-read the said book. (Gosh, remind me to post a book review for this book)

So I have a treat for you guys who were not able to join us, (I was late too so i was not able to ask questions during the said event lol)

If you have not read the book, you must now run away from this point. SHOOOOO!!! *SPOILERS ABOUT TO UNFOLD BELOW*

Okay, here it goes….

Vernalee ChildressFirst question: it’s from Frannie Cheska (she’s in class)

Tabitha, What drove you to write about this subject? As taboo as it is, what inspired you to write about it and end it this way. Did you want a sad ending with a little bit of hope or is that just how it came out?

Tabitha Suzuma: Ok, so I explained to Julie why I wrote it. But about the ending, I wanted to write a tragic love story. I’m not one for HEAs in any of my books, probably because of my own personal views about life and the world at large. I DID consider having Maya kill herself too at the end but that just seemed a bit too bleak at the end. So yes, I did want to conserve a tiny ray of hope!

Julie ‘Brooksher’ BatesWhat compelled you to tell this kind of story?

Tabitha SuzumaI wanted to write a ‘forbidden’ love story. Kind of like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet! 😀 But it was difficult to find a situation where two people would be judged and condemned in modern society. Because they were older teenagers and so could run away from home if push came to shove. Also because I wanted to set it in London and I didn’t want condemnation based on religion, because the teenagers would always have the option to elope. I wanted to find a situation that would be condemned worldwide.

Chelsea ReillyHi! This is the first book I’ve read of yours. Please tell us a little about yourself and where your inspiration of Lochan & Maya’s story came from.

Tabitha Suzuma: I was born and still live in London. My (late) father was Japanese, my mother is English. I am the eldest of 5 and went to a French school. I dropped out of school at 14 and did my GCSEs and A levels by correspondence at home. I studied French at King’s College London and then became a primary school teacher. I wrote my first book when I was still classroom teaching full time. Now I work as an English tutor (part-time) and my main job is writing.

Akanksha VigyanHi, Tabitha! Your story is powerful. Thanks for ruining my heart btw. Lol. How did the story start for you? Like, was it troubling you? Because this is a bold and deep topic, did it speak to you? Or did it start casual? Did you want to explore how it’d go, and you just kept going with your writing flow, or was there a timeline? All planned, and formed?

Tabitha Suzuma: Ha! That is often the response I get. It’s a sad story, I know. I cried myself silly when I was writing it. I was also very depressed myself – I think that came out a bit in the story – especially in Lochan’s part. Incest wasn’t troubling me in particular. But general prejudice was – and still is. Religious prejudice (which I suffered from a bit myself in one of my relationships) but also prejudice surrounding LBGT people. I wanted to write a story that would hopefully provoke compassion and encourage readers to withhold judgement.

Ale AdameHi Tabitha!

Ok, first of all I want to thank you for doing this it really means a lot.
I read Forbidden when I was 17 and it took me 1 day to finish and cry for an eternity. 😂
I want to know how did you came up with this idea? Was it something that you saw in the News or maybe a story that you heard… Thanks again! Xx

Tabitha Suzuma: Pleasure. Sorry for the tears. {wink emoticon} I’ve explained why I chose to write this particular story a bit below. But I finally decided on incest because it was something I’d heard about and read a little bit about and it was the one kind of ‘forbidden’ love which is still condemned in most countries. It was a challenge for me to write about such a taboo topic and to try to persuade readers to look at the subject from Lochan and Maya’s point of view.

Ella BrusaDo you have an idea of what happens to Maya in the future? Does she find someone else she can be happy with eventually or was Lochan it for her?

Tabitha SuzumaI would like to think that Maya finds happiness in the future. That’s one of the reasons I kept her alive after all. I think Lochan was her real, true love but I like to think she found someone else – without ever forgetting Lochan, of course!

Patricia Mantua: Hi Tabitha!! This is my first book from you and I have to admit I’m a bit scared now cos that was one intense, gut wrenching and thought provoking read.

Question, what was your general mood while you were writing this? Did it come easily? Was there an internal struggle? Were there parts that you had to rewrite? How did you work on the characterizations? Were there characters which, in any way, were inspired from real people?

Tabitha Suzuma: It was a very, very tough book to write. The hardest I’ve written by far. My general mood was depressed – I suffer from severe refractory clinical depression with bipolar tendencies (a mouthful, I know!) I had to rewrite some scenes but not many at all. All the characters were pretty vivid and fully formed in my head. Writing about the younger characters was great fun – I love children and have worked with them all my life. Yes, many characters were inspired by people I know or once knew.

Theresa ClarkOk Tabitha, have you ever considered writing a completely different ending than the one you wrote? Was it hard to not have it a completely happy one?

Tabitha Suzuma: It wasn’t hard to not have a HEA because generally I don’t like HEAs. Comes from being a depressive, I think! None of my other books have HEAs – although none are quite as devastating as this one! I did briefly consider having Maya kill herself too, but I decided that would be just too bleak, especially for the younger children.

Ale AdameWhat happens to their mother?

Tabitha Suzuma: She continues living with Dave, I think. I don’t imagine she ever fully returns to her children.

Vernalee ChildressGive her time to type her answer out.🤗🤗

This question is from Victoria Briseno

1) Was there a time when you had doubts whether you should release the book or not due to the stigma that incest carries? Did the possible reactions of readers worry you?

Tabitha Suzuma: I wasn’t worried, exactly. It was the book I wanted to write. I had to edit out some of the sexual content after I showed the original to my editor as she thought it would be too shocking for teens. I didn’t think the book would do as well as it has due to the stigma. But that didn’t bother me. However it was a pleasant surprise to receive such positive feedback from readers – overall they were far more open-minded that I’d expected.

Christie Cunningham CharlesDid you intend to make the reader feel uncomfortable and torn with their emotions? Like I wanted them to be together but then I’d be like wait no gross!

Tabitha Suzuma: Oh yes, definitely. I wanted the whole book to be a bit of an internal struggle for readers. I was never trying to convince readers that incest was a GOOD thing. I just wanted readers to think for themselves and question their own moral beliefs and preconceived ideas. I think a good book should shake you up a little. {smile emoticon}

Sonya ByrdWhat were the challenges with writing this story and with getting it published?

Tabitha Suzuma: It was very tough writing the first part because I had to somehow convince readers that this COULD happen. I knew it could and did happen because I’d done the research, but making the romance part plausible was tricky. I had to build up Lochan and Maya’s relationship quite slowly or it would have seemed to unrealistic and possibly even comical!

Akanksha VigyanIf you’d have the chance again, would you give Maya and Lochan another ending, perhaps?

Tabitha Suzuma: No, I’m actually quite happy with the ending I wrote! I know it’s tough – it’s really difficult for people to accept and that’s part of the challenge of the story. But it was the most obvious conclusion for me.

Sandra Saenz CortezHave you ever considered writing a sequel? I read over 3 years ago and I still wonder how everyone is doing. Tabitha Suzuma this was truly a work of art.

Tabitha Suzuma: No, I felt that without Lochan there could be no sequel. He was too much of a central character for there to be a strong story without him. I’m so glad the story stayed with you, though. That was something I very much hoped to achieve. {smile emoticon}

Theresa ClarkTabitha Was any parts of the book based off something in real life that you, or someone you know, experienced?

Tabitha Suzuma: I experience a type of forbidden love in my late teens. I fell in love and had a relationship with a refugee from Afghanistan. It was bittersweet and the ending was terribly sad. He was Muslim and I was not and we were forced apart by his family’s arranged marriage for him. As I mentioned below, I’ve also suffered from clinical depression for much of my life. So the depressive feelings, at least, came from first hand experience.

Akanksha VigyanWhat was the best, and the worst part of the writing process of Forbidden?

Tabitha Suzuma: The worst part was writing the ending – because it pretty much gave me a breakdown. I was also writing under extreme time pressure because the book was commissioned (accepted for publication before I started writing it) so I was writing to a tight deadline. The best part of it was the characterisation – I always love creating the people in my books, it’s so fun! {grin emoticon}

Vernalee ChildressI want to know why Lochan killed himself, He and Maya could have just deny it. Is it a way of him saving her and their siblings?

Tabitha Suzuma: Yes. Like he says at the end, it’s the only way (that he sees) of preventing Maya from being hauled in for questioning and for preventing the others from being taken into care.

Deminika JohnsonDo you have a lot of experience with mental illness? Lochan deals with a lot and some of the descriptions of his anxiety would put me on the brink of a panic attack and I’d have to take a break.

Tabitha Suzuma: Yes, you can read more about my experiences on my website, link below. All of my books are about mental illness in some way.

Credits and thanks to Ate Vernalee for organizing this book discussion ❤


4 thoughts on “Book Discussion: Forbidden

  1. I haven’t read it, so I skipped from the *shoooing* section to the comments section right away! Hahaha. I’ve long been intrigued by Forbidden. 🙂 But I’m still scared to pick it up. 😦


    Liked by 1 person

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