Interview with Sara Raasch, Debut Author of SNOW LIKE ASHES

It’s Thursday! And that means it’s time to share my interview with Sara Raasch, debut author of upcoming YA Fantasy SNOW LIKE ASHES, a 2014 release from Balzer + Bray. It’s going to be the first in a trilogy, so get excited!
From Publisher’s Weekly: 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.
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, is coming out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for your debut book?
This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I honestly don’t remember what inspired me to write this book. I started the first draft when I was 12, and all I remember from that first exploration into this world is that I fell madly in love with it very, very quickly. 

How did you come up with your title? Were there any you considered first?

The first draft was originally called GIVING LIGHT, but as the story and characters changed over the dozen or so years of working on it, that title no longer fit. I had another project called WHITE LIKE ASHES, a contemporary sci-fi, but I felt that juxtaposition of words better fit my fantasy book. Thus, SNOW LIKE ASHES was born, and shockingly, my editor loved it! I had quite the fairy-tale title experience — all the titles for all three books in the trilogy were accepted without a fight. 

What was the hardest part of writing this particular book?

Thus far, the hardest part of it all has been coalescing my twelve-year-long dream of having this book get published with the reality of what is happening. Not that what is happening is by any means bad — quite the opposite! — but it’s been very hard on a number of occasions to let go of little details that logistically make no sense, but matter to me on a personal, this-character-has-been-here-since-I-was-a-wee-preteen-I-can’t-get-rid-of-him! way. Luckily, I have a very patient editor, who is well aware of my sometimes absurd sentimental attachment to certain areas of the book! 

Is there anything that helps you get into the writing zone – music, for example?

So much music! I adore music, and am constantly scribbling down song lyrics I hear that strike a particular chord in me. Just last night I found the song Bring on the Wonder by Susan Enan from an episode of Bones and fell in love!

What is it about young adult fiction that draws you in as a writer?

I love the transitions that happen in YA. For instance, my main character, Meira, is at a crossroads (as most YA MCs are) — deciding who she wants to be, who society is turning her into, and who she NEEDS to be. That pivotal life moment is so packed with possibility and joy, fear and development, and so many amazing things happen. It’s a time of growth, of newness, of unbecoming, and I think everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for that time in their life — the first moment where you really, truly realize yourself as an individual with a unique and moldable future. 

Was there ever a time when you seriously considered giving up on your writing dream?

Despite my more-than-a-decade of writing/trying to get published, shockingly, no! I’ve always known this is what I wanted, and even when it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind (thank you for that, College), it was still a part of me. Like SNOW LIKE ASHES, I never could quite get the desire to be published out of my heart — and honestly, I never wanted to. Yes, it’s been hard (quite miserable sometimes, not gonna lie), but there’s something unspeakably amazing about the whole book-creation process, and I wouldn’t trade any of it — miserable times included! 

Do you have any advice for writers trying to get published?

One quote kept me going through the years above all: Keep Moving Forward. So watch Meet the Robinsons and plow on ahead! Like I said above, yes, it sucks sometimes, but I promise you that it’s worth it.

Can you say anything about your next project/s?
Currently I’m working on the sequel to SNOW LIKE ASHES, and that’s really all I have on my plate at the moment. Anyone who’s written a sequel knows a sequel is like trying to write three books at once. 😛
You can find Sara online on Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads. You should also add SNOW LIKE ASHES to Goodreads, if you’re like me and absolutely can’t wait for it to come out. 
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