First, a bit about her book:
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch.
Snow Like Ashes #1.
To be published: Fall 2014
by: Balzer + Bray.
Meira, a fierce chakram-wielding warrior from the Kingdom of Winter, must struggle to free her people from the tyranny of an opposing kingdom while also protecting her own destiny.
Now that's not much to go on, but thankfully Sara's here today to answer some questions, because after that tiny but intriguing blurb, I had plenty!
Jess: Welcome, Sara! To start us off, describe Meira in 5 words or less.
Sara: Snarky chakram-wielding soldier from Winter.
J: Hello, new best friend. I like the sound of this girl! What drew you to fantasy from a writing perspective?
S: I love the freedom that fantasy gives in being able to make up my own rules. When I write contemporary, historical, or any genre set in this world, my OCD-ness kicks in and I research myself to death because I feel like I have to get everything EXACTLY right, like I'm working within someone else's set world-rules. With fantasy, I can make up all my own pieces, and it feels much freer!
J: Say I wake up in the middle of the Kingdom of Winter. What do I experience when I first awaken?
S: COLD. Which seems like a "Duh" thing to say, but the Kingdom of Winter is frigid. All of the people from this kingdom have evolved to be able to handle extreme cold, to the point where Meira mentions a few times in SLA hating heat and longing for just a little chill, but any non-Winterian would find Winter quite miserable. I'm talking Antarctic, below zero, snow-caked-to-your-eyelashes cold.
J: Just the thought makes me shiver. Although I guess these darned Canadian winters are good preparation! Which of the characters from SNOW LIKE ASHES (besides Meira) are you most excited for readers to meet?
S: Well, there are sexy boys in SLA -- the future king of Winter, Mather, and the prince-heir of Cordell (a kingdom that may or may not be an ally of Winter's…*dramatic music*), Theron. They'll be fun to introduce for sure, because who doesn't love hot guys? But I think the character that I'm MOST excited for, after Meira, has to be Sir, Winter's general. He's the leader of the ragtag group of Winterian refugees who escaped Spring's takeover, and he became semi-responsible for raising the two orphans in the group -- Mather and, of course, Meira. Meira has very much a love-hate relationship with Sir, and their banter is at once amusing and heartbreaking. I adore their dynamics, and can't wait for people to see them together!
J: So many characters to look forward to meeting! I'm definitely excited and you're right, hot boys are an excellent draw! What has been your favourite part of writing the book?
S: Finishing it! Haha, no, seriously. I went through some grueling edits, so when my editor finally released it to the next stage, I wept.
J: Can you share a favourite quote from SLA?
S: The one line I continually quote from SLA is "Someday we will be more than words in the dark." It's an inscription Meira reads in a cave later in the book, and it speaks to so much of what the book is about as well as my whole publishing process. This story has been with me for more than twelve years now, and there were times when that line was a battle cry of my own.
J: I love that! Powerful, and as relevant outside the book as in. That's fantastic. I've noticed you've been very active on Pinterest. What role has that visual aspect played for you while writing?
S: Oh, Pinterest, what a fickle mistress it is! I don't know how I ever world-built before Pinterest -- it plays a HUGE role in developing kingdoms, cultures, locations, characters, everything! I'm an extremely visual person, so SEEING all these puzzle pieces of my creations is like an instant muse-boost when I'm feeling uninspired. I'll probably end up putting Pinterest in the acknowledgement section of SLA, I use it so much!
J: As a fellow visual person, I totally agree. I've loved being able to see the images as you go! Can you share a secret about SLA?
S: Oooo, love this question! Hmm…okay, I've got one: the only text part of SNOW LIKE ASHES that survived through twelve years of drafts, edits, rewrites, etc, is the very first description you see of Mather. It was word-for-word taken from the first draft of SLA back when I was twelve. The rest of the book has been rewritten dozens of times, the characters changed, the plot rearranged, even some of the kingdoms reanalyzed -- but that one-paragraph description of Mather has endured, and I have no idea why.
J: That's a great secret! I love that there's something from your original story after all this time. Must be very cool for you to read that and see your original view of Mather right there. Thank you, Sara, for answering all my questions!
Everyone, make sure you keep an eye out for more info about Snow Like Ashes... hopefully we'll be seeing a cover soon!
About the author:
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, the first in a trilogy, comes out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.
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