I immediately signed up for the Snow Like Ashes tour as soon as I saw it. I hadn’t read the book at that point, but it was so highly recommended by people I trust. Some of you may know how picky I am about fantasy, but let me tell you, this book was amazing.
Before we get to my interview with Sara, let’s check out the book!
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 her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom 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.
Sounds good, right?
1. Where did the idea for Snow Like Ashes come from?
I always feel so lame when people ask me this question, because all I remember is that I wanted to write a version of winter that was portrayed as the “good guys.” I started SLA so long ago that all the other origin memories are lost to my very, very poor memory.
2. I know why I love Meira. Why do you love her and why should readers root for her?
OH GOSH. This question could easily spawn an essay-like response, so I’ll try to keep it short.
I love Meira because she’s always been there for me. I know, I know, cheesy, but I first started writing her when I was a preteen and kept at her story throughout high school and a little bit of college, so she was there through my “formative years.” No matter what horrible things happened, I had Meira, this spunky, stubborn, ferocious white-haired girl who was everything I wanted to be. She gave me hope.
As for why readers should root for her: one of the many, many reason I love Meira is her own ability to love. She loves Winter so much (to her own disadvantage sometimes), and that capacity for emotion should, I hope, endear her to readers.
3. How did you come up with the world and the way magic works?
The original draft of SLA involved a magic locket of Winter’s and a magic staff of Spring’s. No other kingdoms had magic objects, which, when I went back and started rewriting SLA, was a huge plot issue. Why just Winter and Spring? What if every kingdom had a magic object? And it all just kind of exploded from there, evolving into eight magic items, eight kingdoms, four Season, four Rhythm. A lot of world building is asking the right questions.
4. What makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into the story?
A good villain never thinks he’s the villain. In SLA, a lot of the villain, Angra, is mysterious—Meira hasn’t met him, so to her, he’s this dark, evil figure who enslaved her people. But as the trilogy progresses, a lot more about Angra is brought into the light—his motivations, his ultimate goal. It just takes awhile to get there because he’s certainly not going to bare his soul to a 16-year-old enemy girl. At least, not easily ;)
5. Describe Snow Like Ashes in 5 words.
Spunky soldier girl seeking freedom.
Speed [ish] round:
1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. What happens next?
Massive, sobbing, ugly tears.
2. What three things would you take to a desert island?
A fairly hefty yacht, a compass, and Bear Grylls. Ain’t no way I’m staying on that island.
3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
Any of the books in Sharon Shinn’s the Twelve Houses series.
4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
Top Three: Kartik from the Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray, Elias from AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir, and Fred from POISON by Bridget Zinn.
5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?
Trust your gut. There is SO much advice in publishing, especially once you sell—do this or don’t do this or do this but only after this. It gets super overwhelming, and you can run yourself into the ground trying to do everything “right.” But there is NO right way of doing things—there’s only YOUR way of doing things. So if you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. If you DO want to do something, do it. It’s your career, your ride, so do it how you feel is best!
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.
Huge thanks to the ladies at Rockstar Book Tours for letting me be a part of this. And squishy hugs to Sara for taking the time! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding Snow Like Ashes to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
Definitely check out the other tour stops for all sorts of awesome.
Ready for the fun giveaway? 4 Winners will receive SNOW LIKE ASHES swag packs: two post cards, two bookmarks, SLA buttons, and a bag of instant snow.