Sara Ella is a wonderfully talented author who’s stories captivate readers while offering hope and beautiful truths. Last week, I reviewed her YA fantasy dystopian novel The Wonderland Trials. Today, I am interviewing Sara on the blog!
Meet Author Sara Ella
Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). Sara is the author of the Unblemished trilogy, Coral, and The Curious Realities duology. Sara loves fairy tales and Jesus, and she believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”
I am so excited to have you here today, and I know readers are going to love getting to know you better!
Q) To start the interview, please describe yourself in 3 words.
A) Encouraging. Sensitive. Disney-ish (I’m pretending that’s a word.)
Q) Describe your writing in 5 words (or less).
A) Clean romance, lyrical prose, and cliffhangers.
The Curious Realities Duology
Q) I recently read and fell in love with your novel The Wonderland Trials, and I am greatly looking forward to the upcoming sequel, The Looking-Glass Illusion. How would you pitch each book to new, potential readers?
A) Awww! Thank you! I feel like I am horrible at pitching my own books, but here we go . . .
The Wonderland Trials is a dystopian fantasy retelling with a pinch of sci-fi. It’s for anyone who’s ever longed to believe in the impossible, loves playing games and solving puzzles, and understands the importance of found family.
The Looking-Glass Illusion is the sequel to The Wonderland Trials. The story is dual POV and explores themes of overcoming your greatest fears, forgiveness, and finding courage when all hope seems lost.
Q) What inspired you to write the The Wonderland Trials?
A) The story of Alice in Wonderland has always been very near and dear to my heart. As a child, I dreamed of one day playing the Disney character in real life. I would dress up and speak in my best British accent and throw mad tea parties with my dolls and stuffed animals. During my time in the Walt Disney World College Program that dream became a reality. Naturally, my love for playing out my favorite stories intertwined with retelling those stories.
Many Alice retellings focus on the darker side of things, but I wanted my retelling to be more whimsical and fun. I adore playing games and anything to do with competition. Since Lewis Carroll’s original tale featured several nods to games of various sorts, I took that idea and ran with it, and thus the idea for The Wonderland Trials was born.
Themes and Takeaways
Q) One of my favorite parts of The Wonderland Trials is the subtle and beautiful way you address faith. Was the theme of faith one you incorporated consciously or was it an element that developed organically within Alice’s narrative?
A) The theme found me. I always say I can’t force the spiritual themes in my stories because it never works. God always waits until the opportune moment to reveal what He wants the story to be—and He usually waits until the last minute. I believe He does this so I can’t take any credit for how faith is weaved in. The glory all goes to Him because it’s what He was teaching me as I wrote.
Q) What do you hope readers of The Wonderland Trials walk away thinking or feeling?
A) I want readers to walk away believing that impossible things are, indeed, possible, and hopefully feel a sense of being understood when they feel lost or alone. With that, I hope they see hope is real, and that sometimes found family comes where and when you least expect it.
Other Books from Sara
Q) Can you tell us about your next planned project after the release of The Looking-Glass Illusion?
A) I can only say that the first book in my next four-book series will be released in 2025 from Enclave Publishing. It pairs a story from classic literature with one of my favorite fairy tales.
Q) Can you tell us about your other books currently available to readers?
A) As of September 19, 2023, I will have six published novels under my belt. Aside from The Curious Realities duology, I have my debut series, the Unblemished trilogy, which is a portal fantasy about a girl from New York City who hides her facial birthmark, only to discover it’s the key to saving another realm from darkness. I also have a standalone retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale of The Little Mermaid. Coral focuses on mental illness and finding hope when all else seems lost.
Writing and Faith
Q) How does your faith intersect with your writing?
A) I believe faith is the natural fingerprint we leave on our stories as Christian authors. God gave me the gift of writing and it is for His glory that I write. I pray over every story, offer it back to Him, and ask that He will do what He wills with it. We don’t have to write some epic allegory or include an altar call at the end for our faith and worldview to be present in our characters and story worlds. It’s just there. My agent and publisher, Steve Laube, likes to say that what makes Enclave books Christian are the authors, and I wholeheartedly agree with that.
Q) What is your favorite Bible verse?
A) I have different favorite verses for different seasons, but one of my constant favorites remains: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” -John 8:12
As a fantasy writer who often writes about light versus darkness, this verse reminds me of why I write and Who I am writing for.
More About Sara
Q) If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be and why?
A) The theme song for my life changes depending on the season, but I think a good one would be the modern hymn “His Mercy is More.” The lyrics really describe God’s grace and mercy in my life perfectly: “Praise the Lord, His mercy is more. Stronger than darkness, new every morn. My sins they are many, His mercy is more.”
Q) What was your most recent 5-star read and why?
A) I reread a lot lately because my brain is too tired to get into new books these days. But my most recent new 5-star read was Borrow My Heart by Kasie West. All of her sweet contemporary romances are nice brain breaks and that’s usually just what I need.
Q) You’re throwing a literary dinner party where you can invite 3 authors, living or not. Who is invited and why?
A) J.K. Rowling, Nadine Brandes, and Ashley Townsend. My two besties plus one of our favorite authors would make for the best dinner party ever!
Advice from Sara Ella
Q) If you could give your younger self any advice, in terms of writing or something else, what would it be?
A) Someone else’s opinion of you, your books, your writing . . . those don’t define you. Your Creator made you and it is in Him you are defined and have your identity. So stand firm in that.
Q) What advice can you share with other authors?
A) I will quote my author bestie Nadine Brandes here and say, “Just because writing is hard, that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.”
Q) Our time together is almost up. Thank you so much for joining us today! Is there anything else you would like to add?
A) Thank you for having me on your blog! I loved all of your insightful questions and hope you enjoy The Looking-Glass Illusion!
Connect with Author Sara Ella!
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