Interview with Sarah Prineas, Author of Winterling

Sarah Prineas writes middle-grade fantasy novels. Her recently released Winterling was a wonderful read.  She is also the author of The Magic Thief series.  Sarah dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her writing. Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sarah Prineas] Author of the MAGIC THIEF series and WINTERLING (both from HarperCollins Childrens). Running addict, pie-shake eater, homeschooling mom, dog person.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Winterling?

[Sarah Prineas] Sure!  Winterling is about a girl named Fer (short for Jennifer) who lives in the Iowa countryside with her grandma.  She follows a cranky puck (boy who can turn into a dog or a horse) through a "Way" into a magical world where she must set right a terrible evil.  (You can watch the trailer later in this post)

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sarah Prineas] I wanted Fer to be a wild girl, a fierce protagonist.  At the beginning of the book she uses a stick to chase off three wolves that are attacking Rook, the puck-boy, and she will always do what she thinks is right, even if it means putting herself into danger.  For the puck character I had to do a little research into traditional fairy lore.  The puck appears in Irish, Scottish, English, and Scandinavian stories.    

I just turned in the companion novel, The Summerkin, and the pucks play a much bigger role.  Pucks are always tricksters, though my pucks are their own weird little society. 

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Sarah Prineas] The Magic Thief books were written in the first person, from the point of view of the thief-wizard Conn.  Switching from that voice to the third person storyteller was tough.  It took me a lot longer to figure Fer out.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are five things Grand-Jane would never have in her kitchen?

[Sarah Prineas] I love this question!  Grand-Jane is a witch who grows magical herbs and raises bees, and she’s a vegetarian.  So the five things:

A microwave

A meat thermometer

Non-dairy creamer


Store-bought tea bags

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you enjoy most about fantasy?   What prompted you to try writing your own?

[Sarah Prineas] I started writing fantasy because magic allows for so many possibilities, and also because I hope to invoke a sense of wonder in the reader.  I also love that in a fantasy novel–to paraphrase Tolkien–even the smallest person has the power to change the world. 

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sarah Prineas] I’m a huge fan of JRR Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. His use of language and his ability to create detailed fantasy worlds have been a big inspiration for me.  Another big influence is the director Hayao Miyazaki.  I’ve seen all of his movies, and I think Spirited Away is a creative masterpiece.  I love Miyazaki’s themes–the importance of nature, and I love that he’s got plenty of strong girl characters in his movies.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sarah Prineas] My computer (a silver MacBook named Pip).  An idea.  That’s about it.  A cup of coffee with cream is nice to have, too.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sarah Prineas] When I was a kid there wasn’t a whole lot of fantasy published for kid readers.  One book that was sort of fantasy was T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, which is a King Arthur story. I read and reread the Sword in the Stone section of that book, especially the sections where Merlin changes Wart into different animals to teach him how to be a good king.  Anybody who has read the Magic Thief books will know how influential those scenes were for me.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sarah Prineas] Read, hang out with my kids and my husband, play Scrabble, go for long walks, swim/bike/run/lift, watch anime, train my dog, drink coffee, chat with my friends on Twitter and email.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!

[Sarah Prineas] Thank you! 

You can learn more about Sarah by visiting her at the following websites:




Here is the awesome trailer for her awesomesauce book:

Winterling is available now.  You can purchase it by using the links below:

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2 thoughts on “Interview with Sarah Prineas, Author of Winterling

  • February 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I loved WINTERLING! Thanks for the interview. I (think) I have SUMMERKIN marked as to-be-read at Goodreads, and even if I don’t, I’m really excited for when it will be released.

  • February 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

    @Shelly – I’m excited to read Summerkin, too!

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