Author Of The Week: Chat with Sarah Porter (Vassa In The Night)!

Author Of The Week: Chat with Sarah Porter (Vassa In The Night)!

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!

 

 

 

 

Introducing Sarah PorterYABC's Author of the Week!!

 

I write stories that seem to me to be quite true enough for all practical purposes. Among them are VASSA IN THE NIGHT, THE LOST VOICES TRILOGY, and the forthcoming WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and TENTACLE AND WING. Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the fantastic. I always have new novels underway, both Young Adult and Grownup/ Literary/ Speculative. When not writing my own weird stuff, I can often be found leading creative writing workshops with amazing young NYC public-school writers via Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Or I might be drawing, or gardening, or wandering wraithlike through the streets. I live in Brooklyn, land of mystery, with my awesome husband Todd and our two cats, Jub Jub and Delphine.

 

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

 

 

 

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I grew up with Russian fairytales, but what made me think of retelling “Vassilissa the Beautiful” was the work I do with Teachers & Writers Collaborative here in NY. I’ve taught writing in many public city schools, and sometimes my students have told me stories about living with half or step or foster families that didn’t welcome them or want them: the kinds of families you find in fairytales. It occurred to me that kids like my students are truly the new fairytale heroes, but most of them don’t realize it, so I wanted to write a book that would reflect that reality. Vassa is a lot like kids I’ve known, smart and brave and raw at heart.

YABC:  Who is your favorite character in the book?

Almost everyone I know who has read VASSA would choose Erg, Vassa’s magic doll, but for me it’s always Vassa herself. That combination of morose and sardonic and defensive, but secretly sweet and vulnerable, makes me want to take care of her and comfort her. And I love that it’s her kindness that helps her in her struggle. She’s not an ass-kicking hero, but one who fights with empathy. We see so many models of heroism that involve prowess with swords and fists, but there are other paths to becoming a hero besides demon-slaying, and I wanted Vassa to illustrate an alternative way.

YABC:   Which came first, the title or the novel?

I knew what the title had to be before I started writing. Sometimes finding the right title is a struggle but this one seemed very obvious to me.

YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

You mean, from when I started writing at all? Probably that the most important thing is to really hear the voice of each character, to dial in on it like picking up a radio signal. Once the voice is there you can follow it anywhere. I’m not a fan of outlining, personally; I just want my characters to tell me what happened.

YABC:  What do you like most about the cover of the book?

Everything! The lettering, the colors, the swan, the stars. It’s so pretty! (At least, I think so.)

YABC:  What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?

Dare I say THE WINDS OF WINTER? Or will that jinx it?

YABC:  What was your favorite book in 2015?

So many! But ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders, RADIANCE by Catherynne Valente, I CRAWL THROUGH IT by A. S. King, and ANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie were a few favorites. Or maybe some of those were early 2016? All of them are completely fresh and visionary and exploring directions we’ve never gone before.

YABC:  What’s up next for you?

Well, a novel I love beyond words, and that I’m really proud of, will be coming out on Tor Teen in autumn 2017. It’s called WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and it’s the story of a boy, Dashiell, who has died at age twenty-two from a heroin overdose, but comes back to persuade his younger twin siblings, Ruby and Everett, to serve as vehicles for possession. And then I have two novels underway now, one a YA about foster siblings entrapped in an eerily suburban version of Faerie, possibly titled NEVER-CONTENTED THINGS, and one for adults, a historical science ‘n’ sorcery story set in the early 19th century. Now that I think of it, they both involve variations on the changeling myth.

YABC:  Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

Spoiler alert! There are two adjacent scenes near the end: the voluntary death of a major character, and Vassa’s dream-visit with her dead mother; both were devastating to write. I wept continuously while I was working on them, which meant that I was crying for maybe three days straight, and pounding the keyboard like a maniac while the letters blurred through my tears. I hope you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there!

Meet, Vassa In The Night!!!

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .

Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students.

 

Amazon * B & N Indiebound

 

 

 

Vassa In The Night

By: Sarah Porter

Release Date: September 20, 2016

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive a signed copy of Vassa In The Night and a small surprise from Sarah Porter! (US only).

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Librarian's Corner--August 15, 2016
Featured Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Related Posts

 

Comments 15

Already Registered? Login Here
Kristen Joiner on Thursday, 18 August 2016 05:08

you had me at "beheading shoplifters". Also I like that the blurb is a bit confusing, makes me more interested to read this.

0
you had me at "beheading shoplifters". Also I like that the blurb is a bit confusing, makes me more interested to read this.
Julie on Thursday, 18 August 2016 19:54

I think Vassa In The Night sounds really interesting, and the cover is beautiful.

0
I think Vassa In The Night sounds really interesting, and the cover is beautiful.
Dianna G. on Saturday, 20 August 2016 22:57

I know next to nothing about Russian folktales, so this book would be educational for me in some ways.

0
I know next to nothing about Russian folktales, so this book would be educational for me in some ways.
Cassandra Carpio on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 20:15

This book is one of my most anticipated releases! I can't wait to crack it open! The cover is just to die for!

0
This book is one of my most anticipated releases! I can't wait to crack it open! The cover is just to die for!
Sarah on Thursday, 25 August 2016 22:18

This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year! I am so excited!

0
This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year! I am so excited!
Lillian Lozada on Monday, 29 August 2016 10:20

One of my most anticipated books of 2016, that cover is GORGE! this takes place in fictional Brooklyn (where I live) & is based on Russian Folklore?!?! cannot wait to read Vassa In The Night!

0
One of my most anticipated books of 2016, that cover is GORGE! this takes place in fictional Brooklyn (where I live) & is based on Russian Folklore?!?! cannot wait to read Vassa In The Night!
Anne on Thursday, 01 September 2016 07:41

Sounds like a great story! I love the cover. It goes well with the blurb.

0
Sounds like a great story! I love the cover. It goes well with the blurb.
Megan Coppadge on Monday, 05 September 2016 10:32

I love that this book was inspired by fairytales. This cover is gorgeous it's simple but beautiful!

0
I love that this book was inspired by fairytales. This cover is gorgeous it's simple but beautiful!
Sabrina on Tuesday, 06 September 2016 02:35

This book sounds very interesting defiantly something to pick up and the cover looks very pretty.

0
This book sounds very interesting defiantly something to pick up and the cover looks very pretty.
Danielle Hammelef on Saturday, 10 September 2016 21:17

This tale from Russian folklore is the scariest ever. This book is packed with so much fun that I can't wait to read it. The cover is very calm, yet darkness hides so much...

0
This tale from Russian folklore is the scariest ever. This book is packed with so much fun that I can't wait to read it. The cover is very calm, yet darkness hides so much...

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Peppermint Post
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
'Twas the night before Christmas, when the North Pole's Peppermint...
Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lauren Magaziner’s hilarious and high-stakes middle grade series gets a...
The Wizenard Series: Season One
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Reggie has never felt destined for greatness. He dreams about...
TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Fast and the Furious meets Transformers in the second...
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It’s a sleepy Saturday morning for most people, but not...
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
This empowering picture book teaches readers that even great ideas...
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The hilarious sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller,...
Sharko and Hippo
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
With tongue-twisty wordplay and escalating absurdity, this is a fall-down-funny...
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A LOVE POEM FROM A FATHER TO HIS TWO SONS,...
The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in The Faithless...
Zora's Zucchini
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first zucchini of a summer garden is always exciting,...
Libby Loves Science
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Libby loves science! In this STEM-themed picture book, a companion...
The Hidden Rainbow
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
All the colors of the rainbow are hidden in the...
The Places We Sleep
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A family divided, a country going to war, and a...
Chasing Starlight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood!...
Crossing Lines
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Midwestern high school seniors and swim teammates Alli and Brandon...

Latest Member Reviews

Peppermint Post
 
5.0
"PEPPERMINT POST is an adorable new story about Christmas and Santa. The Peppermint Post is the busiest post office in..."
Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed, #2)
 
4.0
"STOLEN FROM THE STUDIO is a fun middle grade mystery with a choose-your-own-adventure plot. Carlos travels with his mother, a..."
The Wizenard Series: Season One
 
4.0
"THE WIZENARD SERIES: SEASON ONE is written by Wesley King and created by Kobe Bryant. The MG fantasy follows Reggie,..."
The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
 
4.0
"THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF PIPPA NORTH combines magic and humor in a middle grade fantasy full of charm. Pippa is..."
TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
"TURBO RACERS: ESCAPE VELOCITY is a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure. Mace Blazer is a TURBOnaut, a high-speed vehicle racer. He recently..."
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
"BREAD LAB! is a cute picture book that walks through the steps of making sourdough bread through the eyes of..."
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
"A THOUSAND NO'S is a cute picture book about the way that feedback can change an idea. A girl has..."
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
"RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH is a comedic middle grade fantasy that features a young boy on..."
Sharko and Hippo
 
4.5
"SHARKO AND HIPPO is a clever and comical book about two best friends who are going fishing for the day...."
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter
 
5.0
"THE THING ABOUT BEES: A LOVE LETTER is an informative and gorgeously illustrated picture book about bees. The book describes..."
The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2)
 
5.0
"THE FAITHLESS HAWK is one of my favorite reads of 2020. I laughed, I sighed, I cried, and this book..."
Zora's Zucchini
 
5.0
"ZORA'S ZUCCHINI is a delightful picture book that explores growing vegetables and sharing with neighbors. Zora is a little bored..."
Libby Loves Science
 
4.5
"LIBBY LOVES SCIENCE is a cute picture book that brings a love of science to all the fun of ice..."
The Hidden Rainbow
 
5.0
"THE HIDDEN RAINBOW is a delightful picture book that combines counting, colors, and nature in a beautiful exploration. Each page..."
The Places We Sleep
 
5.0
"THE PLACES WE SLEEP is a moving middle grade historical that takes place around 9/11. The book is written entirely..."
Dating Makes Perfect
 
5.0
"DATING MAKES PERFECT is a beautifully written YA contemporary romance that had me grinning from ear-to-ear. Winnie has two older..."
Chasing Starlight
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: We think of the glitz, glamorous mega-stars, and classic movies when we think of the Golden Age..."
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
 
3.0
"Paola “Pao” Santiago loves science and hanging out with her best friends, Emma and Dante. She doesn’t love how superstitious..."
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
"KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA is a picture book based on a true story about pursuing your goals and doing..."
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
"HARVEY HOLDS HIS OWN is a contemporary middle grade told from three perspectives: Maggie, Harvey, and Austin. Maggie is starting..."