Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Sara Raasch, YABC's Author of the Week!
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. She is the author of the NYTimes bestselling SNOW LIKE ASHES trilogy and THESE REBEL WAVES, a duology. Neither features her hand-drawn pictures.
Critically-acclaimed young adult author Kristen Simmons has has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her son.
Meet Set Fire To The Gods!
Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family's taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn't have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn't been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash's path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Kristen and I (Sara) were at a convention in Dallas around 2015 and were talking about how much fun it'd be to write a book together. We tossed around some ideas and went "Hey, there aren't many gladiator YA books!" The rest is history!
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Well, I'm pretty biased towards Ash, since that's the character I (Sara) write, but I think Kristen will agree with me when I say we both really love Madoc's family, especially Cassia. Their family love is so pure -- the scenes with them are such nice reprieves from the, ya know, fighting for their lives stuff ;)
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! I think our publisher actually came up with the title? For a while this book was called Emberon because the original main characters were named Ember and Theron -- we each took a character name from our other series, but our agents were immediately like "No."
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
That writing a book with a coauthor is 5000x easier than writing a book alone. Seriously -- everyone thinks it'll be harder because you have "share" the story/world, but if you both go in knowing that it's neither your story nor the other person's story, that it belongs to both of you equally, then you end up splitting the weight of it too. It's so hard to write alone now!
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020-2021?
Oh my god, all of them?? Lobizona by Romina Russell and Bookish & The Beast by Ashley Poston both come out the same day Set Fire to the Gods does, and WOW do they look so good!! We actually got early copies of Lobizona, so I already know that that book IS as good as it looks :D
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Kristen and I are both working to finish up Set Fire 2: 2 Fast 2 Fiery (working title), but then for me after that is...well, I can't really say yet!
For Kristen, the final book in her Vale Hall trilogy comes out in 2021 -- if you love Six of Crows but want it modern day, catch up on books 1 and 2 now! The Deceivers and Scammed both got fancy new cover lifts too.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There were a couple scenes where the characters really surprised us, particularly the gods! Both of the main gods in this book, actually -- Geoxus, the god of earth, and Ignitus, the god of fire. We started the book thinking we knew who they were and what they wanted, and in true flippant immortal fashion, they went "Um, actually, no." Gods. Whaddya gonna do, right.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I (Sara) love Queen City Bulldog Rescue, a Cincinnati-local rescue for bully breed pups. It's where I got my dog from, and the people who run the rescue are the sweetest, most giving individuals. They go above and beyond to make sure every pup gets the right home!
Kristen used to work with (and still loves) NAMI - a mental health organization that provides support to those struggling with mental health issues, as well as their family members. She firmly believes that everyone needs to treat their mental health as they would any other health issue, and NAMI has many resources and connections to do so.
Set Fire To The Gods
By: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: August 4th, 2020
One winner will receive a signed finished copy of Set Fire + a paper doll coloring page! ~ (US Only)