Yesterday, (Yes, it’s actually today now, but I’m in denial about it being so late in the month,) I have Sarah Pennington over to tell you a bit about herself and her debut novel Blood in the Snow. It’s a retelling of both Snow White and The Goose Girl, the cover is gorgeous, and though I haven’t read it yet, I’m looking forward to beginning it. I’ve just realized I’m not that fond of the straight up Snow White tale, but I’ve read some great Goose Girl retellings
I’ve know Sarah for a few years now, so I’m quite excited to see her publishing a book. But I won’t go on talking about it, I’ll get straight onto my chat with Sarah. She knows herself and the book so much better than I do, so she’s more qualified to talk.
Welcome Sarah, It’s so great to have you here. Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Absolutely! I’m a fantasy author and college student who has too many ideas and too little time to carry them all out. I’ve been telling myself stories for as long as I can remember, but I started writing seriously in 2011. (Interestingly enough, that story was also a retelling of Snow White.) Since then, I’ve written a whole host of novels, novellas, and short stories in almost every fantasy subgenre you can name. As a student, I’m studying professional writing and information design with a minor in graphic design at Cedarville University. All that keeps me pretty busy, but in my spare time, I knit, run two blogs, and attempt to devour the contents of any library I have access to.
B: Two blogs? I can’t even keep up with one. But I certainly can relate to never running out of things to do in that scarcely existent spare time.
Sarah: Blue, probably. It’s a very calming color, but it’s also very versatile — depending on the shade, I associate it with every emotion from the heights of joy to the depths of sorrow. It can be sturdy and dependable and somber, or it can be light and airy and joyous, or anything in-between. It’s the color of peace and serenity. Also, I’ve been told I look good in blue, so there’s that.
B: Blue is one of my favourite colours too. I’ve been tending towards purple lately, but blue is so relaxing.
Blood in the Snow is set in an Asian-inspired world. Where did the idea for that come from?
Sarah: I first considered the Asian setting because Snow White’s traditional appearance — “hair black as ebony, skin white as snow, and lips red as blood” — fits very well with the ideals of beauty in many ancient Asian countries. I stuck with it because I wanted a change of pace from European-esque settings and I find Asian culture in general pretty fascinating.
B: That’s a really cool reason. I’ve not read much set in any part of Asia, so I’m sure I’ll find it interesting.
What authors/s have been especially influential in your writing journey?
Sarah: I’m going to give you a few. First is Gail Carson Levine. Though I’ve left her books behind, for the most part, she did a great deal to guide, encourage, inspire, and challenge young writers, and it was one of her challenges that turned writing from something I did when I felt like it to something I did regularly and worked hard to improve. Second is Anne Elisabeth Stengl in oh, so many ways. Her voice and writing style, her talent for weaving Christian truth into beautiful stories, her perfectly imperfect characters, and her desire to connect with her readers are all things I’ve tried to learn from. And, of course, her Rooglewood Press contests are what sparked Blood in the Snow. Finally, we have Jaye L. Knight and Kendra E. Ardnek. Though I knew self-publishing was a possibility long before I encountered these two, they put it back in my mind as something that could be done well, something I should consider.
B: I can agree with those last two. Jaye’s books were some of the first self-published books I read, and Kendra has let me see a lot of the inside of the process. And she won’t let me give up on my current book.
And a semi-random question to finish up. If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?
Sarah: Obviously, that would depend on what superpowers I had. Assuming I got my first choice for superpowers — time manipulation and time travel — I’d call myself Chronology and wear something practical-but-steampunky. I don’t know the specifics, but it would definitely involve combat boots, a hooded knee-length coat, and goggles instead of a mask. Though, honestly, if I had time powers, I probably wouldn’t go out trying to be a superhero. I’d just use them to give myself and my friends more time to do what we needed to get done.
B: As someone who thinks she counts among your friends, I sort of like that idea. I could sometimes do with a bit of help with my blog posts, and you certainly can’t make the excuse that you don’t have time. Yet the flow of time is important, so it might be best not to mess with it.
For myself I’d like to be able to create portals. I used to choose just straight up teleportation, but I like that variant more. And I’d not wear a costume at all. Just a cloak, or a fancy necklace. I have no idea what name I would use.
It’s was nice having you over, Sarah. Stay well, keeping writing, and don’t get trapped by time.
To everyone else, don’t you get trapped by time either, and do check out Blood In the Snow. There a whole host of reviews, and a couple more interviews linked below. And if you want to you can suggest a portal hero name for me.