Sunday, April 12, 2015

Interview With Sara Raasch ~ Author of Snow Like Ashes | Content Editing (1)

I received the amazing opportunity to interview Sara Raasch and Jennifer A. Nielsen in conjunction with a career research project as well as share my knowledge surrounding the career of Content Editing.

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.

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 Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers 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.

1. What college/university did you attend and what did you major in? Did you choose this major because you wanted to write professionally or figure out what career you wanted to pursue while you were in college?

I graduated from Wright State University with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership (basically how companies run in functional/successful manners). I chose this major because I wanted to have something to fall back on should being a writer not happen. Any artistic industry is wrought with uncertainty—weird payment schedules, small payments, and oftentimes it takes YEARS to sell anything at all—so I knew I needed something definite to keep me going in the meantime.

2. What is something you would consider negative about your career?

Realizing that, despite the works I put out being artistically important to me, to this industry, it’s still a business, and everything I create is a product. But once I came to understand that distinction, it helped lessen the blows of criticism and rejection.

3. What is one thing you did in high school and/or college that you regret?

Thinking that high school and college were the best parts of my life. HELL to the no. Life gets infinitely, laughably, absurdly better.

4. What is the most enjoyable part of putting a novel together, from the beginning stages of outlining, the tedious editing everyone seems to despise, or seeing your novel out in the universe for readers to enjoy?

Meeting and interacting with readers. Writing is so much a solitary endeavor that getting to talk with readers (especially the excited, supportive readers I’ve been lucky enough to have) is a constant breath of fresh air!

5. It is stereotypical that authors are introverts, would you say it is difficult to communicate/work with the various people involved in the publishing of a book?

It was at first, simply because I was rather starstruck all the time, and the idea of having a published book at all was paralyzing. Now, though, it’s more of what I mentioned in #2—I’ve realized that it’s an industry like any other, and interacting with the various people I need to interact with is all part of the job.

6. In a situation where your content editor tells you that a certain element of your novel (character, plot, theme) isn’t cohesive/people won’t “get” it, do you choose to go with your gut or attempt to see things the way they do?

If my editor says that, it’s usually because I haven’t done my job in explaining things well, so I always try to reevaluate and see where I went wrong. Editors are wise people—it’s best to listen to them!

7. Besides a love of reading/books, what is the most important quality you should possess in order to have a career in the literary world?

Persistence. So much of this industry can take YEARS, so being able to push on through and keep at it is key.

8. What does a typical day in the life of a professional author look like? I’ve been told it’s a lot more crying and eating chocolate at 2am in sweatpants while cursing the invention of the written word than breezing through your drafts.

I can confirm this. Though for me, it’s crying and eating blueberries (dairy allergy, ugh) at 9AM (morning writer) in sweatpants while cursing the invention of the written word and having not at all insane conversations with my cat.

9. Is there any specific moment/reason you write Middle Grade? It’s in the middle of Young Adult and Children’s literature, as well as a genre that is generally underrated. Does it bother you if/ when people say literature written for younger people is “invalid” or shouldn’t be taken as seriously as the adult genre?

I don’t write Middle Grade—SNOW LIKE ASHES is strictly YA fantasy! I tend to veer toward darker themes, so I don’t think I could ever write a Middle Grade. Someone would invariably end up being tortured in far too grotesque ways.

As for literature people calling YA “invalid”—that’s ridiculous. There’s been a LOT of talk on the matter, but I see it as yet another debate. Most debates can’t be fixed with talking—they have to be proven wrong. So, in response to such absurdity, I’ll simply write more YA books.

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