Thursday, January 15, 2015

Author Spotlight: Sara Raasch (@seesarawrite)

As I was trying to come up with new features and ideas for the blog this year, I was looking around at other blogs and trying to figure out what sort of posts I might be interested in writing myself. I really enjoy having the ability to talk to authors through social media (and they are so great about talking to their fans/readers), so I knew I would enjoy a post where I get to feature different authors. This is not a new idea, but it is new to me, and I am very excited to add a new monthly feature to the blog here; Author Spotlight.

For January, I decided to add Snow Like Ashes to my TBR. I bought it right after it released, but then did not get to it. As my friend Sarah and I were trying to figure out what book to buddy read this month, we realized that we both had Snow Like Ashes on our bookshelves, and were both very excited to read it. Since I knew I would be reading the book this month, I sent a message out on Twitter to Sara Raasch asking if she would let me feature her this month, and I was incredibly thrilled when she agreed the same night!

I cannot even begin to explain to you how awesome Sara is, and how beautiful her writing is as well. She was so nice about everything, and excited to be featured on the blog. I sent some questions to her that night (questions I'm sure she is probably tired of answering!), and she had her answers to me by the next day. I'm telling you, a wonderful individual! So, here are the interview questions with her answers, along with some more information about Sara. At first I was going to post my review of SLA with this spotlight, but decided to post my Author Spotlight reviews the following day, so that the posts will not be too long. So, come back tomorrow for my review of Snow Like Ashes (spoiler alert: I absolutely loved it!).

1. Where did the idea for your trilogy originally come from? Is it something that you have been thinking about for a long time, or did it come to you suddenly? 

I have been planning this trilogy a VERY long time. I started writing the first draft when I was twelve (which means I don't remember where I got the original idea...sadness). It was the first book I ever wrote, and I held it up as a beacon of what I wanted to someday publish. But I put it aside for a number of years and came back to it in 2012, when I reevaluated who I wanted to be as an author. This story stuck with me, and the world and characters were insanely important to me. That it became my debut novel is totally fate! :D

2. What has it been like to have such a positive response to your debut novel?

Fantastic. Surreal. Glorious. Invigorating.

Readers are by far my favorite part of the whole publishing thing -- they've been so excited and supportive, and their reaction to everything makes life perfect!

3. What was your favorite scene to write from Snow Like Ashes?

Chapter 26. It's based on the end scene of one of my favorite video games (Fable 2) and it was SO emotionally charged in pretty much every way.

4. Did you base any of the characters (their actions, personalities, etc.) on yourself or other people that you know?

I don't usually base characters on people I know, but I will name them after people I know! Two characters in SLA are named in that way: Theron's mother, Queen Melinda DeFiore-Haskar, was named after my sister, Melinda, and the Langstone River was named after one of my high school friends, Matt Langston.

5. Are their any sneak peeks you can give us from the sequel, Ice Like Fire? Did you have this title decided as you were writing it, or did you determine it later on? 

I put up some small (teensy weensy) snippets on Twitter for the New Year ( and hopefully I'll be able to share more soon! I'm SO excited for you guys to read this book -- it's much more political than SLA and delves into a lot more of the characters' backstories (Mather, Theron, Sir -- LOTS of emotional baggage gets brought up!). Plus, we get to meet characters who I ADORE (Ceridwen, the princess of Summer; Jesse, the king of Ventralli; the Autumn royal court; etc).

The title for ICE LIKE FIRE was actually the original title -- I got super lucky when Harper bought the trilogy that they liked the titles I had for each book!

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then -- her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, came out October 4, 2014 from Balzer + Bray, and the sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out Fall 2015. Neither feature her hand-drawn pictures.

SLA Summary: 
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterian's general, Sir. Training to be a warrior--and desperately in love with her best friend and future king, Mather--she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers just as she's always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn't go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics--and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch's debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one's destiny.

Thank you again Sara for allowing me to host you on the blog today. It has been a blast to talk to you and to hear more about you, and I look forward to reading everything else you come out with in the future!

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