I'm ridiculously excited today to have author Sara Raasch stopping by the blog to answer a few questions about her YA fantasy debut, Snow Like Ashes. I've fangirled over this book in a previous post, so it should come as no surprise when I say this book blew me away (my full review will go up Monday). It had everything I look for in a fantasy novel, or any novel for that matter, and I simply cannot wait to see how Meira's story unfolds in future books. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Sara!
Try as she might, Meira is not overly skilled with a sword and it’s certainly not her weapon of choice. If you were training alongside Meira with Mather and Sir, what weapon do you think you’d have the best luck wielding?
I actually would choose a sword. Part of the reason I made Meira more apt at long-range weapons was because I myself SUCK at such things and I wanted to live vicariously through her. I tried archery in high school and was atrociously awful at it—even when I try to throw something in the trash, I miss unless I deliberately set it in.
Mather is exceptionally good at wiping his face clean of expression so Meira can’t get even the barest hint of what he’s thinking. If we were granted a few moments in his head, what are some of the words we’d find swirling around in there when he looks at Meira?
A few moments in Mather’s head? Hmm…
Most of the time, he’s kind of stricken by her. She reacts to situations in ways he would never dream of, so when she does something, he just sort of stands there in this dazed mix of awe and confusion. She constantly surprises him, which is one of the many reasons he’s so attached to her.
Political and military alliances in the world of Primoria are often formed through marriage. If you were the daughter of a ruling family and learned you were to be married for the betterment of your kingdom, what character from YA fiction would you most wish for your betrothed to be like?
Ooooo SUCH A TOUGH QUESTION.
Hm. Well, I just finished reading Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, and Elias. ELIAS. He is perfect. If my betrothed was at all similar to Elias, well…
What’s one quirk or habit Meira has that those closest to you reading her story might recognize as one she shares with you?
As my family was reading SLA, they kept saying Meira sounds so like me. Her snark, her voice—which was sort of intentional, sort of a happy accident!
The best villains for me are those like Angra who have the ability to inspire both hatred and sympathy; small moments of vulnerability carefully woven into their seemingly all-powerful darkness. Who is your all-time favorite villain from any piece of fiction?
Ignifex from CRUEL BEAUTY. I don’t really know if he’d be classified as 100% villain, though—and that makes me love him! Is he good? Is he bad? Is he trustworthy? Whatever he is, he’s amazing. Refer to the gif in question #3.
If Meira had the chance to ask you a single question about how you wrote her story or what the future holds for her and her people, what do you think she would most want to know?
No matter what happens to Meira or those she loves, her primary goal is to make Winter safe. So I think she would always ask some form of “Will Winter be okay?”
And then after my response, her reaction would invariably be something like:
When the Kingdom of Winter fell, aside the tragic loss of life, the loss of Winter’s history and culture was the cruelest blow dealt. Though Meira doesn’t have many memories of Winter itself, after her experiences in Snow Like Ashes she knows its people well. If she were to begin a new written recording of all that is the Kingdom of Winter, how would the first line read?
OH SUCH A HARD QUESTION. Hmm. *ponders*
“This war has taken much from us. Lives, land, friends, homes—memories. Whole generations will grow up not knowing what Winter’s chill feels like, or the joy of awakening to a fresh blanket of snow, or the taste of Winterian delicacies. While we cannot bring back the lost lives or childhoods, we can ensure that from this day forward, we all have the memories we deserve.
And someday, our kingdom will reach a point where we won’t need to draw culture from handwritten texts. It will be a part of our lives, ingrained into us.
For now, though, this record will be our home.”
• • • • • • • • • • •
SNOW LIKE ASHES
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 Winterians' 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.
• • • • • • • • • • • •
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.