Today is a very exciting day for me because I'm joined on the blog by Sara Sargent, the editor of a book that simply fascinated me, Cruel Beauty. Sara is my very first editor interview, and I'm hugely thankful to her for taking the time to answer my questions about this darkly unique debut. I was lucky enough to have Rosamund Hodge on the blog recently as well because I just can't stop talking about this book, so be sure and check out that interview if you missed it. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Sara!
What’s one book you grew up with, studied in school, or read just for fun that you would have loved to have gotten your hands on from an editing standpoint, if for no other reason than to say you worked on it?
The Giver by Lois Lowry. That book has stuck with me for twenty years, and editing it would have given me an excuse to read it over and over again.
What would you say, for you personally, is the highlight of the relationship between editor and author?
The process of actually building that relationship. It’s about discovering how you can be helpful and supportive to this particular person, and what she needs to be her most successful self. Sometimes that’s as simple as a silly tweet, and sometimes it’s a phone call or a thoughtful email. You’re becoming a part of that person’s life forever, and she’s becoming a part of yours—it’s a wonderful thing, and it’s different with every new author and project.
How would you describe the feeling you get just before you read the first page of a new manuscript?
Whether I’m on the subway or in bed or at my desk, turning on my iPad and selecting a new submission to read has this delicious anticipatory quality. I have no idea what’s waiting for me inside that file: every manuscript has the potential to be the next manuscript I fall head-over-heels for. The feeling is excitement, but it’s much more than that. It’s my future and someone else’s future and limitless possibility.
You wake up tomorrow and suddenly find yourself in the dark, twisted forest of what is clearly a fictional world. You don’t know how you know, but you’re instinctually aware that someone is writing a story with you in the starring role at that very moment. Name one author you would desperately hope is in control of penning your story’s outcome.
Might sound like pandering, but I would be perfectly pleased to wake up in one of Rosamund’s stories. It’s a dicey choice because there are some very evil people and creatures in her novels, but I’d likely end up kissing someone very dashing, which would make it worth the risk.
If you could have asked Rosamund to write you into Cruel Beauty, where would you have best fit and what role might you have played?
We never meet any of Ignifex’s previous wives, but considering I’ve fallen madly in love with him, I imagine he and I would have been married at some point. (Though if that were the case, preferably I wouldn’t have ended up dead…)
Rosamund beautifully combines elements of Greek mythology with her Beauty and the Beast retelling. If you could choose one other Greek myth or fairytale for Rosamund to put her own spin on, which one would you most like to see her to write?
I would love to see her write Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of Maleficent because she’s so good at making flawed characters relatable. And what better way to do that than making a classic villainess into a protagonist?
What one word would you use to describe the original manuscript of Cruel Beauty? What word would you use to describe the final version?
Original: unputdownable. Final: beyond.
• • • • • • • • • • •
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.