I present to you all my interview with *drum roll* Sarah Henning!
So excited for all of you to read this fun little interview. Sea Witch was one of my most anticipated this year, and I absoutely loved it! Sarah Henning wrote such an amazing retelling, and if you’re a fan of mermaids, witches and amazing villains then you have to get your hands on her book!
- I read Sea Witch in July and I loved it so much! It immediately made onto my must read list when I found out it was a retelling of The Little Mermaid. What inspired you to write this wonderful book?
I’m so glad you loved it, Noura! I was inspired to write Sea Witch because as an adult I read the original Hans Christian Andersen tale and felt sort of betrayed by Disney. It’s very different than the movie I grew up with! In the original tale, the sea witch is more of a neutral character. She looks at this mermaid, knowing the dangers of the magic, and basically says, “Do you really want to leave your family and friends and everyone you know for a boy who doesn’t know your name?” but then helps her anyway. I wanted to explore what sort of person that sea witch was and the result is this book.
- Can you give a brief summary on what your Sea Witch is about?
Sea Witch is an origin story for the sea witch in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. It’s set in a sort of alternate 1860s Denmark with the backdrop of real history and celebrations.
- Do you have any advice on writing for all those aspiring authors?
I think it’s important to understand that writing doesn’t always look like F. Scott Fitzgerald on the French Rivera with a typewriter. I wrote the majority of my first draft of Sea Witch in the Notes app on my phone while working out in the mornings after having a new baby. So all that’s to say—don’t get caught up in what you “have to have” to be a writer. Just do it. If you write, you’re a writer. Get it done and get on to the author stage!
(Noura’s note: This really inpired me to be honest. <3)
- Was becoming an author always a dream of yours or did you dream of being something else before that?
Oh, yes. I always wanted to write novels. When I was a little kid, even before I could write little more than my name, I was “writing” books by drawing out a story on sheets of construction paper and then stapling them together. But I’m a really practical person and like routine and stability, so I decided to go into journalism because that allowed me to tell stories and still have a “normal” job. But I could never quite escape the fact that I wanted to write books, and so I kept doing that in my spare time. I think it’s important to realize that you will never be happy if you modify your dreams for practicality’s sake. That’s definitely something I learned.
And also, I think it’s important to say that if being an author is a dream, don’t delay on it and think you have to wait until the time is right (i.e. your kids are grown up and gone). Dreams don’t—and shouldn’t—die because you’ve got kids and a mortgage. Find a way to do it anyway. I think being an author has demonstrated to my kids that dreams do come true even when you’re an adult.
- Are there any authors that have inspired you?
Of course! There are a ton that I really respect and admire. I think going along with the idea that you can be a parent and have a full time job and still do this, I really admire Karen McManus (One of Us is Lying) for what she’s been able to accomplish as a single mother to a teenager and how giving she is to the community.
- What are some of your favorite reads this year?
Ooooh, that’s a hard one! One of my favorite reads this year is Natalie C. Parker’s Seafire. That book just grabbed me by the shirt collar and hit the gas pedal and did not let up. So. Good.
(Noura’s note: Seafire has been on my tbr. I guess this means I need to get to it asap!)
- If you could swap places with a fictional character (whether your own or otherwise) who would you be?
I mean, I would never turn down being Hermione Granger.
(Noura’s note: yup. Same here.)
- So, let’s say you’re stranded on an island and you only have three books with you. What would those three books be?
I know it would be smart to say the name of anthology, but I’m going with my first reaction here and it’s as many books as I can grab of Robert McCammon’s Matthew Corbett series. They’re basically historical fiction about a pre-Revolutionary War era James Bond who is sweet nerd. I tell everyone who asks about these books because they are so amazing. You’ll find me on that desert island sunburnt and yelling at the top of my lungs about how great they are.
- Any future projects that we should look forward?
My next announced project is Throw Like a Girl, which is a fun YA contemporary romance about a down-spiraling softball player who is recruited to be the not-so-backup quarterback on her ex-boyfriend’s football team. It’s a very girl power book and I love it so much, even if it is very different than Sea Witch!
(Noura’s note: Ahh I’m so excited!)
There you have it folks!
Special thanks to Sarah Henning for agreeing to do this interview with me. If you liked what you read (and I’m pretty sure you did) make sure to check out her already released book.
Find Sarah Henning here:
Click on the book to be directed to Goodreads: