Interview with Sarah Fine, Author of Sanctum

Sarah Fine, author of Sanctum, dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her new book.  Please give her a warm welcome!

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

[Sarah Fine] Child psychologist and YA author in possession of an interminably restless mind.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Sanctum?

[Sarah Fine] It’s the story of a girl who sneaks into hell to save the soul of her best friend. Everything’s going great (I mean, not really, she’s in hell) until she gets captured by the Captain of the Guard, who knows she doesn’t belong there and is determined to get her out of the city whether she finds her friend or not.

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

[Sarah Fine] I think I came up with the concept of “hell” first. I wanted to fully develop the idea that, after you’re dead, if you’ve still got things to sort out, you’re going to have to do that. Death is no easy escape.

After that, it was a matter of building a compelling story around one person trying to help another person out of that terrible place. Knowing that whoever the rescuer was, she’d have to be incredibly tough, persistent, and wicked good in a fight, I created Lela—and gave her the background that would make her both desperate and ballsy enough to do what she does in the book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Lela?

[Sarah Fine] Fierce. Loyal. Vulnerable.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Malachi had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sarah Fine] I’m going to cheat. Before meeting Lela: Every Day Is Exactly the Same (Nine Inch Nails). After meeting Lela: The Gift (Angels & Airwaves).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Lela’s most prized possession?

[Sarah Fine] Huh. Interesting. Can I cheat again and say: her ability to protect herself? Lela cherishes that and would never take it for granted. Not after what she’s been through.

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

[Sarah Fine] I’m definitely influenced by my background in psychology, which gives me a way of thinking about why people do what they do. I’m a rather avid information seeker: I read a lot of news. I’ve gotten a lot of wild ideas just from reading about what’s actually happening in the world. I’m definitely drawn to a more gritty, macabre sort of aesthetic in terms of visual art and music, and so my stories tend to lean that way, too.

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

[Sarah Fine] · Music: preferably loud. And, okay, kind of angry.

· My little tray table: I don’t write at a desk. I sit in a chair or on my bed and set my laptop on my tiny portable table. I couldn’t do without it.

· A block of time: I don’t even try to write unless I’ve got at least two hours set aside. I’m not one of those write-every-day writers. I need a long stretch, because it takes me time to submerge myself in the work, and once I’m there, I want to stay for a while.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Sarah Fine] VESSEL by Sarah Beth Durst. Oh, my. Beautiful writing, beautiful story, instantly sympathetic main character, epic setting … I loved this book.

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

[Sarah Fine] Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. It’s a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche from the point of view of the “ugly sister.” I read it for the first time when I was twelve, maybe? I still think about that book often and have reread it countless times.

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

[Sarah Fine] I read. I know that answer is boring. I could cheat yet again and say I enjoy pole-dancing, but … yeah, I’ll stick with “read.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sarah Fine] Website:


Twitter: @finesarah



[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Sanctum from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.  Available in print and digital (only $3.99! for the eBook!)

Waiting On Wednesday–Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Yeah, yeah, everyone seems to be waiting for Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans.  Me, too!  I’m officially tossing my hat into the waiting pile.

In stores January 2013


In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

What are you waiting on?