Snow Like Ashes is the debut novel from Sara Raasch. Featuring a strong female heroine, magic, and a kingdom struggling to survive, Snow Like Ashes should be on everyone’s reading list.
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
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.
Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one’s destiny.
Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
I have an unhealthy obsession with Zutara (the Zuko/Katara pairing from Avatar: The Last Airbender); my husband and I named our cat after Ezio from Assassin’s Creed; during college, I worked as a marketing writer for a Russian travel agency (and still get all squishy whenever Russian history/culture is discussed); I have three tattoos — two quotes from books/poems, one of an iris; and my favorite season is autumn (winter is a close second though!)
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
This story has been a part of me for half my life — I started writing the first draft when I was around twelve years old, and I’ll be twenty-five when Snow Like Ashes hits shelves. No matter what other projects I worked on, these characters and this world always screamed at me from the sidelines. The loudest screamer, Meira, the main character, demanded she share her story with the world — a story of triumphing over obstacles (internal and external), a story of coming to terms with different kinds of love and how they fit into our lives, and, most of all, a story of perseverance.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Any criticism about the world building. Not because it was painful to hear, but because building a world is HARD. Every time my editor/agent would point out holes in my world, I’d of course be grateful for their advice and know they were right about what needed to be changed — but in my head, I’d be more like Jack Sparrow in POTC: “Stop blowing holes in my ship!”
What has been the best compliment?
At this stage, I’m thrilled to tears simply by hearing that people are excited for my book! I still have a hard time grasping the fact that OTHER PEOPLE will get to explore a world that has only been in my head for so long. Every time someone says they’re looking forward to SLA, I always have a moment of “Really?? Me too!”
Do you most relate to your main characters, or your secondary characters?
I definitely relate to Meira most. She is so passionate about the things she wants in the same way I was passionate about getting published. There’s a line in Snow Like Ashes that perfectly encapsulates both her journey as well as my own:
“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”
A battle cry of hope; a promise that things will get better. Whenever things got hard with publishing — I got rejections, the book wasn’t cooperating, everything just sucked — I’d remember that line, and I’d remember Meira’s unstoppable stubbornness, and it would help me keep moving forward, fighting for my own someday.
What is easier to write: The first line or the last line?
For me, beginnings trip me up the most — everything from the first line to about 1/3 of the way into the book gets rewritten more times than I like to remember. This, I feel, is why Godiva Lava Cake Truffles exist.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on editing Snow Like Ashes’ sequel while also drafting the third and final book in the trilogy. The timing of books is kind of wonky — I have all these epic sequel feelings but no one has even read SLA itself yet, so I have no one to make inaudible squealing noises with. Publishing likes to leave you alone in a corner with your feelings for way, way too long — exhibit A is this cover reveal!
I’ve been sitting on this beauty for MONTHS, and I’m pretty certain my husband got tired of me showing him my cover and giggling incessantly. Now that I get to share it with EVERYONE and squeal publicly…DUDE. The dam of joy has burst!
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.