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 October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.
Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Publishing Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self. Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
1. How did you get into writing?
I've done it since I was a child! One of my earliest memories is of my cousins and me doing a lemonade stand, but I insisted that I sell hand drawn picture books there too. Most of these picture books were Beanie Baby themed, of course.
2. When starting a book how much of it comes straight from your imagination and how much is research?
For fantasy, it's a surprising blend of both. I'll get an idea then spend a lot of time (mostly on Pinterest) building the world from research, taking from cultures and stories and pictures. Fantasy worlds (at least for me) need awhile to percolate and expand -- there's an entire world to create, so letting my mind have time to process it is hugely important.
3. Who is your favourite character you have written and why?
I have to say Meira! Not only because she's SNOW LIKE ASHES' main character, but also because she's been with me for so long. I first "met" her when I was 12 during the first draft of SLA, and she's grown with me as I've grown. Through all the ups and downs of my life, I always had her, this snarky, white-haired heroine to help keep me sane.
4. Do you go into a book knowing how you want it to end?
For SLA, I finished the first draft of the trilogy way back in my preteen years, and back then it had a very definite ending. When I first dove back into it, I thought I wanted to keep the ending the same, but a big chunk of revising/rewriting is questioning, and I toyed with alternate endings for awhile. I *think* I'm set on how it will end, but one event remains a bit of a mystery -- which is honestly okay, because what's the fun in knowing everything?
5. What 5 books would you recommend for your readers?
Only five?? MEAN. Okay, I can do this: for my readers, I would recommend:
THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski (SO MANY FEELINGS in this book Icanteven)
CAMELOT BURNING by Kathryn Rose (steampunk camelot -- need I say more?)
STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen (this book is lovely)
CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge ("cruel" is a very apt descriptor for this book -- CRUEL ONSLAUGHT OF EMOTION)
And anything by Sharon Shinn (she does adult fantasy but it's SO GOOD).