Everyone please welcome author Sara Raasch here today! Her debut novel, Snow Like Ashes, has been released today from Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen! Snow Like Ashes is the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy. Bridget & Kaitlin have both read this novel and loved it! Please look forward to Kaitlin’s review of Snow Like Ashes. Please read Bridget’s interview with Theron (from Snow Like Ashes) below!
A huge thanks to Sara for today’s giveaway! Four lucky winners will receive Snow Like Ashes swag packs, two post cards, two bookmarks, SLA buttons, and a bag of instant snow.
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.
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DFT: Can you start by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about yourself? So that those of us who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you can get acquainted with you a little bit better.
Theron: Of course! You may call me Theron, but my formal name is Prince Theron Haskar. I am the heir of Cordell, a Rhythm Kingdom. (If you aren’t familiar with that term, a Rhythm Kingdom is a kingdom that cycles through all four seasons as opposed to the four Season Kingdoms that only have one each.) I am eighteen years old, an only child, and I foster a rather prolific love for art, in all forms. This love stems from my mother’s side of the family—she was from Ventralli, another Rhythm Kingdom, known for their propensity for art and creativity. If you were to step into my rooms right now, for instance, you’d see nothing but stacks of paintings and piles of books. My father feels this obsession is terribly inappropriate, but I can’t help myself!
DFT: You have a passion for art and poetry which your father doesn’t really approve of. How did you get so interested in something that in your father’s eyes is very un-princely.
Theron: Well, obviously I hide this obsession well
As I mentioned above, my obsession with art stemmed entirely from my mother. Though she was the queen of Cordell, she was still, at her heart, a Ventrallan, and as such nurtured a love for creativity in me. So much of my childhood was spent in her sitting room, sketching or writing or making fantastic messes with paint. She never criticized anything I created, no matter how horrific or disastrous—she would just smile and hold my creations like each one was a masterpiece.
Her ability to be delighted by everything, to find beauty and hope in even the dimmest, ugliest of things, is something I hope she instilled in me. As such, I try to hold onto her memory in any way I can, but especially through allowing myself to embrace my Ventrallan heritage, even if my duty is to someday be the king of Cordell. I believe we can be more than what we were born to, and I plan to carry this belief into my future.
DFT: I know that being a king isn’t exactly what you want to do with your life but you don’t really have a choice. Is there anything about running a kingdom that you do love? What is the thing you hate most about it?
Theron: If I were presented with a choice—no, being king would not be something I would pick. But since it is to be my future, I try to make the best of it, and fit my life and personality into the position. I know I may not have made it sound so, but I do love Cordell. Many of the things I create are of this land—paintings of our lavender fields, with their downy knolls of vivacious purple; sketches of military bases along Cordell’s coast, the jagged towers camouflaged against the sea-beaten stones of the cliffs.
This is another area in which I try to embody my mother. It may not be what I want, but I will still find beauty in it.
DFT: When you met Mather for the first time what was your original opinion of him? Now that you know him a little bit better has your opinion changed in anyway?
Theron: I first met the Winter king when he arrived in Cordell after fleeing a Spring attack. My father was the one who dealt with him, and the time was so peppered with Winterian arrivals that I did not get a chance to do more than observe him from afar. He seemed quiet and hard, and I could tell war had been a drastic influence in his life. I truly did not think anything more of him until my father explained the Winter king’s purpose in Cordell.
It was at that moment that my opinion of him became…let’s just say, sullied. He was so young to be leading his kingdom—even younger than myself—and his reason for seeking out Cordell was one that seemed attune to an older, more heartless man, and…well. I risk sliding into distasteful talk, so I will say only that I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be ousted from one’s kingdom and forced to live the life he endured. His reasons are his own.
But in discovering the Winter king’s purpose for coming to Cordell, I saw him in a light all too similar to the one my father carries about him—wielding power with little regard for those he uses. I admit, it has left a taint on my opinion of the king of Winter.
DFT: Meira is a feisty girl and very different from anyone else you have ever courted before. Did you find her intimidating when you were first getting to know her?
Theron: Intimidating would be an understatement! Fascinating, vibrant, stubborn, and much more. She reminds me of my mother, if I had to be honest.
DFT: Your relationship with Meira was a little unconventional and forced at first but as you got to know her your feelings for her grew. When was the first moment you felt that you could actually fall for her?
Theron: Ah, what a prying question! I do not believe Meira would take kindly to me discussing the private workings of my relationship with her—particularly when the subject of said question is quite apt at wielding a chakram.
DFT: Your relationship with your father is a bit strained to put it lightly. Was it always that way or was there ever a time when you actually got along?
Theron: My relationship with my father has always been…tense, we shall say. Even from a child, I always took after my mother, and spent far more time with her in her pursuits. This did not bother my father when I was small, but as I aged, he expected me to “grow out of it” and begin acting more Cordellan, less Ventrallan. This divide caused a rather permanent rift between us, one I’m not sure we will ever be able to bridge. But we make due with what commonalities we share—particularly our love for Cordell and our desire to see it flourish.
DFT: For pretty much your entire life the Winterian’s have been held captive by Spring. Did you ever consider trying to help them once you became king?
Theron: I had heard of Winter’s plight as a child, but my first true experience with their war came through Autumn. My aunt—my father’s sister—married the Autumnian king some time ago, thereby forcing a Cordellan alliance (the marriage was not sanctioned by my father, much to his chagrin). My father eventually came around and sent aid to Autumn, for once Spring had conquered Winter, it turned its attention to the next Season Kingdom beyond.
So it was through this arrangement that I began to see the cruelty of Spring. It is an evil I fear perhaps more than my father does, and if it is still a threat when I am king, I do intend to attack it more directly.
DFT: Personally I loved getting to know you in Snow Like Ashes but I can’t wait to see where your story goes next. Can you give us any hints on what we can expect to see from you in the next book?
Theron: Why, thank you! I am pleased I entertained you. As for the next book, I’m told we can expect to learn more of why I am the way I am—things stemming from what I mentioned above, regarding my mother and her past.
Quick Fire Questions:
DFT: Weapon of Choice?
Theron: If I tell you and not Meira, I fear repercussions may descend upon me.
DFT: Favorite work of Art?
Theron: There is a tapestry my mother commissioned long, long ago, of her, my father, and myself against a backdrop of all things Cordell—the sea to one side, lavender fields to another, golden maple trees in the back. My family stands in the center, smiling, the three of us united before Cordell. The tapestry hangs in my room now, and it is something I will cherish always. A representation of a time, much too long ago, when we were all safe and happy.
DFT: Favorite moment with Meira?
Theron: By far, showing her the portraits and books in my chambers, particularly the painting of winter. Her reaction to that piece was…wondrous.
DFT: Favorite time of the day?
Theron: Evening, when the sun shoots through the tall windows in the palace’s library and turns the entire room golden-orange. If the room is empty and I stand in the center, it feels as close I imagine one can get to true and complete peace.
DFT: The most recent defining moment in your life?
Theron: The largest moment that immediately comes to mind is my mother’s death. I was eight when it happened, but it quite thoroughly shocked me, and still affects how I react to events to this day, as I believe I’ve explained well enough. Moments like those truly define not only who we are, but who we will be in the future—they are constantly evolving, no matter their brevity, like tides eternally warping a shore.
Snow Like Ashes Blog Tour Schedule
10/6/2014- Bookish- Interview
10/7/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Review
10/8/2014- Bewitched Bookworms- Guest Post
10/9/2014- Fictitious Delicious- Review
10/10/2014- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
10/13/2014- Fiction Freak- Review
10/14/2014- Dark Faerie Tales- Interview
10/15/2014- Fiktshun- Guest Post
10/16/2014- IceyBooks- Review
10/17/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
This contest is provided by Sara Raasch!
4 lucky readers will receive Snow Like Ashes swag packs, two post cards, two bookmarks, SLA buttons, and a bag of instant snow!
Available October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen
About this Book:
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.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
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