Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sara Wilson Etienne Interview

Happy February! Do you have Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne pre-ordered? I'm assuming the answer is yes because that is the only right answer! And to make you even excited for Harbinger, check out my interview with Sara (who is awesome so you should get her book based on awesomeness alone)!

Meet the Author

I used to dream of being a marine biologist but quickly realized that I love fantasy more than fact. Now I enjoy combining both to create stories that ask “What if?” I write in sunny California alongside my artist husband and my two dogs.

My favorite days are spent disappearing into different universes, whether it’s traveling with Dr. Who, popping into a parallel world with Diana Wynne Jones, writing my own stories, or just taking a nap.

Harbinger is my first novel (author website).


DL: Harbinger is a very complex and original novel, can I ask where you were and what you were doing when the idea hit you? 

SWE: Thanks! Well, when I first thought of the idea for Harbinger, I’d just graduated from College of the Atlantic in Maine. I’d moved out to California, but I was still haunted by the rocky coastline and these castlellike old buildings on my college campus. Harbinger started out as a longing for a place and a time I no longer had, but it became a new world where I wanted to live.

DL: Was there any inspiration for the prison-like Holbrook Academy? 

SWE: Well, the landscape of the Holbrook campus evolved from my college campus. Though, of course, we didn’t have razor wire fences around the school! But we did have the inspiration for the Compass Rose…a house from the late 1800’s called Turrets. It’s an incredible building and worthy of many stories.

As for the prison/reform school part, I did a lot of research into boarding schools for “troubled teens.” Now, I’m sure there are some legitimately helpful places out there, but most of them are nightmarish. While I was creating Holbrook, I watched videos of police raiding some of these facilities and read reports from kids that finally made it out of them. Most of these schools are unregulated and many parents send their kids to these places without ever seeing them first-hand. I didn’t make up the idea of parents hiring escorts to “kidnap” their kids and bring them to these school. Honestly, I had to tone it down for Holbrook, because the truth was less believable than fiction.

DL: Faye is a very likeable and strong character, what do you like the most about her?

SWE: I like that, despite the fact she is shunned and ignored, Faye always manages to find a refuge for herself…in her drawings, in the bones, and in her own mind. Because of this, no matter what the world throws at her, she’ll be able to save herself.

DL: Faye experiences anxiety attacks in the form of tidal waves, so I must ask: can you swim? 

SWE: Yes. I hated taking lessons as a kid, but I’m glad I did. Since then, I’ve spent a fair amount of time around the ocean, tide-pooling and snorkeling. I’ve seen giant turtles and tiny starfish and a lot of things in between!

DL: When was the last time you had your fortune read and what did it say?

SWE: Believe it or not…I’ve never had my fortune read! I totally want to though!

DL In your world, the Earth is screwed over by humanity giving it a dystopian feel. Do you have any “going green” resolutions for 2012? 

SWE: Well, I try to live in a way that won’t lead to Faye’s world. I drive an electric car, definitely recycle, and try to be a responsible consumer…for example, choosing to shop at thrift stores or farmers markets. I’m no saint, but I try to be aware of the decisions I’m making.

DL: You did an impressive amount of research for this novel, who is your favorite historical person or what is your favorite historical era? 

SWE: Thanks! I love researching as long as I get to play with the facts. I’m drawn towards strong females from any era…women who pushed the boundaries. Amelia Earhart is one of my favorites.

DL: In your acknowledgments you thank Joni Mitchell. Is there a song in particular or a line that you would say had the most influence in the story’s development?

SWE: Well, her songs tell the most wonderful, and usually sad, stories. But specifically, Kel sings snatches of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” It seemed fitting that Kel’s mom should be a fan of Joni Mitchell’s music and “River” is such a heartbreakingly beautiful song.

DL: What did you do for New Year’s?

SWE: I got to spend New Years in Indiana with my whole family this year, so we played games, ate chocolate fondue, and drank Champagne. Oh…and, of course, there was the traditional devouring of homemade eggrolls. Omnomnom!

DL: What will you be doing February 2, 2012? 

SWE: I’m celebrating with awesome art! I’ve been doing these art reveals every Thursday... twenty-five amazing artists have created Harbinger-inspired illustration. So this week, I’ve been building up to the release with a slew of reveals. You can see them here, at:
And on Saturday, Feb 4th, I’m having my launch party at Children’s Book World in LA. I can’t wait!!!! Was that enough exclamation marks? I’m seriously ready to sign some books and party big time!

DL: Are there any ideas you’ve been playing with for a future writing project?

SWE: Yep! I’m revising a new book now with the same editor, Stacey Barney at Putnam. She’s brilliant and I feel lucky to by working with her again. The new book’s not related to Harbinger at all, and though I love Faye and Holbrook, I’m excited about creating new character and a new world!


"Girl, Interrupted" meets "Beautiful Creatures" in this fast-paced thriller
When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.
But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.
Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.
Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller (goodreads).

Pre-Order: (Amazon) | (Barnes & Noble)

Read my Review of Harbinger


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