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. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray, and the sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out October 13, 2015. Neither features her hand-drawn pictures.
If you’re part of the Crew newsletter, this will all look familiar. If not, that’s why I’m posting this here – because of all the Q&A’s I did in last month’s newsletter, this one is still spinning around in my brain, and I still get questions/comments/concerns on a near daily basis re: the rumors/excitement that this book is about GAY PIRATES.
So, lucky for all of you who have asked, this was a question I answered at length in the May newsletter:
Firstly: there are, will always be, dozens of authors who are far more talented than I am. So if you’d like more, check out:
Secondly: lots of you had various squeals, questions, or general comments about the rumors that this book is about GAY PIRATES! So I am here to expand on all the things:
There are three POV characters in this book (and if you’ve been around for the earliest newsletters, you already know a bit about them): Adeluna, Benat, and Devereux. Lu is a cis straight female, the soldier girl; Ben is a cis gay man, the prince of the antagonistic country; and Vex is a cis straight male, the pirate (but not the only pirate, just the only POV pirate). I go into more detail here.
While I LOVE that this book has gotten the tagline of GAY PIRATES, that does bring certain expectations – and as you can see from above, the pirate POV character is not gay, which has disappointed a few early readers. BUT, I promise you, this duology has no shortage of “gay pirates” (I put it in quotes because it’s seemed to be used by early readers as a blanket term for all the LGBTQIA+ in this book, though obvs there’s a difference, and I’ll try to specify): Vex’s BFF, Nayeli (a cis lesbian woman); her (ex?)girlfriend (a cis lesbian woman, who shall go unnamed here cuz slight spoiler); a slew of characters in Book 2, including the leaders of three of the four stream raider syndicates (a cis gay man; a cis lesbian woman; and a cis bi woman); and other characters who aren’t pirates, like Ben, his boyfriend, another character I can’t name-drop right now (a cis bi man), and more.
My goal with representation in THESE REBEL WAVES stemmed from two sources: 1) I had a kid. And what they say about childbearing changing your life is entirely true. I started seeing the world through his wee eyes, and I wanted, in this book (and every book going forward), for him to be able to see himself in stories, whatever that person may be. And 2) I grew up in an extremely Christian sect. While being “not straight” wasn’t exactly forbidden, it sure wasn’t encouraged, or even talked about. And when I started developing the theocratical nation of Argrid, I saw the opportunity to have a heavily religious society that didn’t give two figs what someone’s sexual preferences were. Religion and homosexuality do not typically get along in our world, and as such, homosexuality tends to be instantly hated by fictional religions too. So in Argrid, this horrifically oppressive, vindictive country obsessed with the idea of being “pure” – sexuality is never even mentioned. Ben, the prince POV character, is openly gay, as well as other Argridian characters, and it never even occurs to them to be otherwise. Because how exhausting must it be to always have your sexuality used as a plot device, especially when the antagonist is an oppressive religion?*
*This is purely meant to illustrate my reasoning, nothing more. I know I’ll mess up. No excuses, no defenses. Just humanity, trying its damn hardest.
Jun 11, 2018 11:00
A striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self—perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and w... read more
Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this thrilling fantasy filled with shocking twists and heart-pounding action, the highly anticipated sequel to Snow Like Ashes. This action-packed series is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.It's been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring's king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell... read more