If you love strong female leads, magic, romance, and writing that makes you laugh out loud, THIS. BOOK. IS. FOR. YOU. One of my absolute favorite reads of this year was Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf! I was lucky enough to get to meet her on one of the book tour stops. I’ll admit I was incredibly nervous asking her to do an interview, but seriously she is such a down-to-earth and kind human and she graciously accepted!
QUESTIONS ABOUT SARA
- First off, how did you get into writing? Have you always had a love for reading?
First of all, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME! Is it weird to say pokemon fanfiction? That’s totally what it was – I haunted pokemon forums on the internet at a tender age and decided to write my own fanfic. It ended up being a thousand pages and a million words or so, but it seriously trained me to sit my butt in a chair and write what I loved! Fanfiction is amazing, because you can do whatever you want in it and just have fun. Harry Potter was also huge for me – I remember waiting in line to buy each book at Costco.
- What is your process for writing a book and what advice would you give to people aspiring to become published authors? (Side note: I really just loved your answer on the book tour and I thought it was really encouraging to other aspiring authors!)
Thank you! I am a goober at public speaking, but you liking it has made my day. Honestly my process is pretty straightforward; I sit down and go ‘what do I want to read right now? Is is a witty hate-to love contemporary? Is it a sweeping fantasy with angst?’. So often I pick up a book with a crystal-clear image of what it will be in my head, and am often disappointed? Not that the books aren’t great, they just aren’t what I expected. So I figure, why not write what I expect? If I could give any piece of advice to an aspiring writer, it would be to write what you have always wanted to read when you picked up a certain book. The things you expect are grand and wonderful products of your imagination, so chase them! Also, don’t listen to ‘trends’ in publishing, or the industry advice on what to write in general. You are the only one who can write what’s in your body and soul and mind. You are a unique product of your upbringing and reading and imagination, so get it all out there and let the chips fall where they may!
QUESTIONS ABOUT BMTH
- How did you first come up with the idea for Bring Me Their Hearts?
Well I knew I wanted to write a fantasy book, and I didn’t want it to be about a princess – I’ve got nothing against princesses, but I think all too often in YA we use a princess main character as shorthand for ‘special’ and ‘worthy of paying attention to’. I wanted a main character who wasn’t royalty, who just….existed in this fantasy world without being special or unique. Or rather, I wanted to write about someone who BECOMES special and unique, through their own power, not the power of who their mother and father were. I also wanted a main character who was monstrous, the bad guy basically, and I’d watched Game of Thrones as one does and thought; “wouldn’t it be cool if there was a book about a white-walker?”. It all sort of spiraled from there.
- Who was your favorite character to write?
Oh absolutely Zera. My favorite characters are usually the main characters, and because I write in first person a lot, we get to know them best. She was a complete witty treat to run through Vetris with, and I’m having a great time pulling her through the next book as well.
- Was it difficult to write the dialogue between Zera and her heartless side?
A little bit! It required me to tap into my own experiences with depression, and when you dive that deep you can sometimes put yourself in a funk that lasts a while. It’s like intentionally putting your leg in a bear trap just to be able to remember how to write pain, you know? But I think writing like that is worth it, because all too often writers write on auto-pilot instead of digging a little deeper. I always try to go for the ‘little deeper’, no matter what I’m writing.
- What is one of your favorite quotes from Bring Me Their Hearts that you think defines or embodies the book?
“Fear turns the wisest men stupid and cruel” is something I think Y’shennria says, and it really stuck with me. That quote serves to remind us humans are the greatest monsters, which is what the book is really about. And I don’t mean humans as in ‘humans versus witches’, I mean mortals in general. People who live their lives that will someday end are driven to terrible and sickening extremes, or they participate in these extremes out of fear for their lives, their well-being. So often do we sacrifice what’s right for our own comfort and security, and books make it look so easy for the hero or heroine to break that cycle. But I wanted to write a book series that shows it’s not easy at all – Zera struggles with it, the world of Arathess struggles with it.