Happy Sunday and welcome to my stop on the Sea Witch Rising blog tour!! I’m excited to share my interview with Sarah Henning with you! Read on to find out what her current favorite book is, who Runa and Evie would hang out with if they could be friends with other YA characters, and enter to win a Sea Witch Prize Pack!Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning
Series: Sea Witch #2
Published on August 6, 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
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“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love.
Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.
Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?
Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.
What’s your current favorite book?
It’s not YA, but I recently finally read The Hating Game, which I’ve heard great things about for pretty much forever, and it was as fantastic as promised. I was in a reading slump for weeks after finishing it because it was so bright and funny and perfect. If you enjoy the “enemies to lovers” trope, this is pretty much the most brilliant version I have ever seen.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
I think I actually used it all! I think one of my favorite things was trying to figure out how the characters in Sea Witch Rising would use new technology not available to the characters in Sea Witch because they’re set fifty years apart. That said, one of the most interesting things I learned and was able to use has to do with U-boats, which as you can imagine would be a new technology dangerous to the merpeople.
During my research, I learned that U-boats were around during Evie’s time, they just weren’t prevalent or used in military action until the opening of World War I, which happens to be when Sea Witch Rising begins. Because Evie’s father was the royal fisherman and had to be up on all the latest technology for his client, King Asger, it made sense for her to have long-dormant knowledge of these dangerous underwater boats. That made for an interesting way to have my characters discuss this threat from a place where they all had a mutual understanding.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
Sometimes the names are as sudden and definitive as the story idea itself, and sometimes it’s me searching baby name websites for just the right thing to call this new friend in my head.
For the Sea Witch books in particular, I found a difficult time finding just the right name for the male characters because I wanted to be true to the region but also find something that English-speakers could pronounce in their heads properly. It was an interesting task.
For my 2020 fantasy duology, I actually let my 10-year-old son help name some characters with me. The first book in that series is called The Princess Will Save You and the world is based on the Iberian Peninsula, where I studied abroad in college. I wanted to have a certain subset of characters have Basque names, and spent a really fun night with my son going through all the appropriate options on a baby names website. Everyone should name fantasy characters with a fourth grader!
If Runa and Evie were to hang out with characters from other YA books, who would they be and why?
Both Runa and Evie would do quite nicely to join Caledonia’s crew in the Seafire books. Runa would be quite handy in fending off some Bullets, while Evie could take care of the crew’s needs beneath the waves.
What would you do if you spent the day with Runa and Evie? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
We’d have a nice seaside barbecue and with plenty of black tea and lemon cake but if Evie wants pickled herring, that’s on her to supply it and eat it! We’d just chill on the beach, talking boys and magic and enjoying the energy of the ocean.
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.