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 meat thermometer
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: