2015 Fantasy Extravaganza - Sara Raasch

For our second interview I'm hosing the lovely Sara Raasch, author of SNOW LIKE ASHES, whose sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, is out in less than two months!  I actually interviewed Sara with Victoria Aveyard, which is why both interviews are a little shorter than the other ones that will come later on, but I hope you guys will still enjoy it!

The Interview;

Once Upon A Teen Reader: All of the kingdoms in your book are based on season, right?

Sara Raasch: Yes.  Well, four of the kingdoms are seasons and then the other ones are like... “normal”?  One’s artistic, one’s knowledge based, one is opportunistic so they’re very money oriented, and then Paisely, you’ll find out more about them in book three.  They’re very mysterious for now.

OUATR: Where did you come up with that concept?

SR: I decided to choose seasons because one of the very first ideas I had was about writing a book where winter was perceived as the “good guys” and all of the seasons just kind of unfolded from there.  Once I had that I liked the idea of having a balance where, if there were four season kingdoms and there were four kingdoms which had all of the seasons, which kind of creates this prejudice and conflict.  The cultures just came about from playing around with it and looking at what I wanted to explore, what kind of world I wanted to create, and you get to see a lot more of the rhythm kingdoms in ICE LIKE FIRE, which I’m very excited to have coming out.  So yeah, it was just fun for me to get to explore these other kingdoms.  I really liked building cultures, it’s one of my favorite things about writing fantasy.

OUATR: Were any of the kingdoms based on real-world places or did you make them up completely?

SR: I pull a lot of inspiration from the real world, I actually combine a variety of cultures, Yakim in particular has a certain Germanic/French influence and, like the kingdom of Summer has a rather African kind of islander feeling, very desert.  And the clothing they wear is very islander, very light layers and things.  So yeah, I kind of combine and pull and play with things to create kind of what I think would make sense in those kingdoms and what I think would be kind of a fun contradiction sometimes.

OUATR: Do you have a favorite fantasy novel that you would recommend to people?

SR: Oh my god, yes.  My most favorite fantasy novel is a series called The Twelve Houses by Sharon Shinn.  The world is just breathtakingly incredible; it’s so complex.  I read it in high school and I’ve just re-read it so many times cause it’s just fantastic.  I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.

OUATR: Why did you decide to write ICE LIKE FIRE from two POVs and does that mean that book three will have three POVs?

SR: I decided to do two POVs in ICE LIKE FIRE because the story grew beyond what one POV could hold. Book 3's POV are still top secret. ;)

The Book;
Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published: October 14, 2015
Add it on Goodreads
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.

The Author;
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, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray, and the sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out October 13, 2015.  Neither features her hand-drawn pictures.

Find her on Twitter | Tumblr

The Giveaway;
Along with the signed copy of SNOW LIKE ASHES that I got when Sara came to town I also have a crazy special giveaway for someone who has read book one and can't wait to read book two.  Did you guess what it is?  If you guessed an ARC of ICE LIKE FIRE you're right!  Thanks to Harper Collins someone will get to read book two early, regardless of who you are!

The giveaway for ICE LIKE FIRE will be restricted to the US only, seeing as the ARC is from the US publisher, and PLEASE only enter if you've read book one so it goes to someone who will for sure read it and treasure it always!

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And don't forget the main giveaway where a signed copy of SNOW LIKE ASHES is up for grabs!

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  1. OMG thank you so much for that extra giveaway! I've been dying to read Ice Like Fire ever since I finished Snow Like Ashes a few months back. I absolutely loved SLA! I still remember many of the major events, which is rare, since I usually forget books within weeks of reading them, much less months, given the amount of books I read. This is a book that has passed the test of time for me!

    I really enjoyed the interview and was pleasantly surprised to hear that ILF will have two POVs. I'm guessing the second one will be Mather's, since he has his own paragraph in the synopsis on Goodreads.

  2. Thank you sooooooo much for this giveaway. I'm excited for the two POVs and also am curious of the third will have three... :) Great interview! I also liked learning about her inspiration for the kingdoms :)

  3. I love Meira's adventure throughout the story. The flow of the story was very fluid and never a dull moment! Thank you for this amazing chance! :)

  4. Thank you so much for the interview! I wonder if Sara Raasch will write more in the snow like ashes world. It's such a great concept!

  5. Just added "The Twelve Houses" to my tbr list!

  6. Just added "The Twelve Houses" to my tbr list!

  7. I really enjoyed reading Snow Like Ashes and I can't wait for Ice Like Fire!!!

  8. I've not read that series by Shinn! I'll have to look it up. I liked Snow Like Ashes! Ice Like Fire and I didn't quite agree, but I think I will be reading the third book. Hopefully!

    Awesome post, Sara and Anna!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  9. I absolutely love this book! I have recommended it to all of my friends and am super excited for Ice Like Fire!! This interview is great! Thank you so much for the opportunity of hearing what Sara has to say about her book! :)

  10. I absolutely love this book! I have recommended it to all of my friends and am super excited for Ice Like Fire!! This interview is great! Thank you so much for the opportunity of hearing what Sara has to say about her book! :)

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  12. Ahhh! Thank you so much for the giveaway! This book is amazing!

  13. I just met Sara Raasch at Dragoncon and she was just as lovely and fun in person as she seems to be on the internet! Wow, the complexity of Snow Like Ashes was just delicious. Can't wait for Ice like Fire to come out!

  14. It's really awesome to hear some of the thoughts behind this series! I read Snow Like Ashes about a week or so ago so it's really cool to know some of this! I'm very excited for Ice Like Fire!

  15. I loved reading "Snow like Ashess" and really like the idea of how Sara gets inspired by the real world and then kind of juggles all the different aspects together, totally awesome. I hope "Ice like Fire" flashes me the way "Snow like Ashes" did.

  16. I really enjoyed this interview. I have not read Snow Like Ashes yet, but I am fascinated by the blurb and I've heard good things.