Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner, headlined a talk at Chapel Hill High School as part of a Flyleaf Books event. The Kabul-born author spoke and fielded questions about the characters in his books, his writing process, and his native country.
He revealed that the ideas behind his books (also including A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed) typically stem from television news. However, he calls upon the characters he creates to drive the story. "I never recognize inspiration the moment it happens... If I just feel the character and their pain and their wants and needs and just write the story, I will find the point in the story."
His responses to audience questions unveiled an intimate perspective on the people and culture in Afghanistan: "Sometimes we forget about the human stories in our wars."
After his talk, Khaled walked off stage to sit behind a desk and sign copies of his latest book And the Mountains Echoed, released in paperback this week. A man with a goth bent, clad in a black Marilyn Manson t-shirt with peeking tattoos, handed Khaled a book for a signature. Khaled looked up and gave a pursed grin. With his pen he pointed to the man's shirt: "He's going to be on 'Sons of Anarchy' soon. I can't wait."
(photographed in the Hanes Theatre at Chapel Hill High School)