Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Conversation with Sara Raasch, author of SNOW LIKE ASHES - And the Start of our Exquisite Corpse

Yep, that crazy JRo's been at again. I've had a blast meeting all kinds of cool librarians but I also want my author friends to have a forum. So I decided to start the conversation series, and rather than a standard set of questions, these are organic conversations that develop over a series of e-mails. I'm super excited about this set of interviews as well. The ones in process are already fabulous! And what's more, we're writing one huge crazy story in the form of an "add-a-line" exquisite corpse game. The first line is courtesy of a high school student!

Normally these will run on Thursdays, but I'm setting this one free today - BECAUSE I JUST CAN'T WAIT! And if you and I know each other via the Internet or the Blue Boards or the OneFour forum, and you're interested in a chat, let me know! (must be in process of publication or pub'd already. Must be young adult or middle grade writers)

Hi Sara! I'm so happy to have you here for a blog chat! The part of your story that sticks with me is that the genesis of this book started when you were a teenager. What is it about your world that made it impossible for you to leave it behind? I mean, most people would have given up or moved on to a shiny new idea, but you stuck with your world and sold a trilogy!

Thanks for having me, Jro! Two things made it impossible for me to move on from this book: 

1) The Season Kingdoms. I've seen people do Season Kingdoms before, but as fairy realms (but, don't hurt me, I'm not a *huge* fairy fan -- I always wanted to do that concept as a "human" realm). I loved the idea of entire kingdoms stuck in seasons and how that would morph their cultures and people. I also adored the juxtaposition of Winter being the "good" guys and Spring the "bad" guys, because winter always gets a bad rap (Chronicles of Narnia, GoT, etc). I'm a huge proponent of flipping things like that, and that idea of winter-spring good-vs-evil never let me go!

2) My MC, Meira. She's...well, I could gush for hours about her, but she's feisty and crazy and loyal and smart, and she's always been a part of me, all through growing up. Because she's been with me for so long (going on twelve years now, yikes!), through adolescence, through college, through all of life's scary events, I feel this inexplicable connection to her, like because she's been a part of my life, I owe it to her to share hers with the world. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I finish her story -- I'll probably have a mid-midlife crisis or something ;)

Awesome, Sara (no h!) - what great answers. So another question. Do you dream about Meira, like the two of you having adventures together? I'm only asking because I sometimes dream about my characters like they're real people. If yes, what's the coolest dream you've had about your book people. If no, what do you dream about! (I'm hoping it's yes so I won't feel like the freakiest freak in the freakazoid)

I have the weirdest, most unrelated dreams in the world. I rarely, if ever, dream about people I know (and that includes my characters). My brain must really like making people up, because that's who populates my dream-world -- random dudes and dudettes that leave me quite confused the next morning.

The impending corpse question has me greatly intrigued. 

Gah! So I am the freakiest freak! Oh well. Moving on. Let's talk Game of Thrones. If your book is in any way at all similar, I'm all in (Who am I kidding, I'm all in, anyway!). I love that show so much. I'm torn between the Starks and the Targeryen's as my faves. What about you? GoT fan (even though I understand you had no clue who George R.R. Martin was when you wrote your novel)? Favorite episode or scene? Favorite character?

GoT and I have a very sordid relationship. When I first saw HBO's rendition of Dany, I panicked -- "She has white hair. No, MY characters have white hair. THEY STOLE MY CHARACTER WHAAAAAT." I have since calmed down (mainly by finding out that the technical description of her hair is "really really light blonde" not "white," or so I've been told. Yes, I'm weird) and I no longer twitch at the injustice, mainly because I think Dany and Meira would get along fantastically -- in more ways than their shared similar hair colors ;) 

As for the Stark vs Targaryen, I'm Team Dany all the way. Like I said, I think her and my MC have a lot in common -- they're both very young women in a world dominated by men, and they have to constantly prove themselves. That is one of the biggest themes in SNOW LIKE ASHES -- Meira's quest to prove that she matters. Though, sadly, there are no dragons.

"Meira's quest to prove that she matters." - Oooh, I love this. So relevant and important for young women. All right, one more question before the story starter. What have been, and do you anticipate to be, the most exciting parts of your debut year? (And I'm so excited to be a part of it with you over at the YA Valentine's blog!)

Oh gosh -- I think an easier question would be what am I NOT excited about! Actually, no, that question isn't any easier. I'm excited for EVERYTHING. Cover reveal, ARCs, first copies, reviews, signings. But I think the thing I am most excited for is the one moment I've been imagining since I was a wee preteen -- walking into a bookstore and seeing my book sitting on a shelf. Something about that moment screams "I've made it!"

I know. It's all very surreal. It's like falling in love, or having a crush. Just this immense special something inside that you carry with you all the time. I can't wait to see SNOW LIKE ASHES on the shelf, too and be all like, "Hey, I KNOW her!"

Okay, the Exquisite Corpse game. You are officially the FIRST to reach this point, so you get to add to the first line, which was created by my high school students. Please add a sentence to our opening line! Use whatever punctuation you feel necessary (say, if you choose to make our opening line dialogue).

Yesterday, at the asylum, Johnny got lost in a hole.

Thanks for this, Jro! It was fun :)

Yesterday, at the asylum, Johnny got lost in a hole. One moment he was occupying stall #6 of the third floor boy's restroom, the next he was gone, nothing but a flush and a startled scream in his wake.



  1. Thanks so much for having me, Jro! :D

  2. Fun, fun, interview, pal. Great start to this kicky new interview series.
    Sara, I think I like you 1,000x more now than I did--which is saying a lot, cause I sort of fan girl you from a far as it is :)


  3. I, for one, can't wait for Sara's book-- And I am the Khaleesi


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'