Sassy's Fangirl Authors - Guest Post with Hannah West, Author of Kingdom of Ash and Briar

Welcome to Sassy's Fangirl Authors, a feature event where I introduce you to upcoming books as well as already published books! Make sure to add this fantasy retelling to your TBR list, because you definitely don't want to miss out on it! 

This week of Sassy’s Fangirl Authors, we are having the wonderful Hannah West, YA debut author of KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIAR, a unique fantasy retelling which releases on August 30th of this year!

Continue scrolling to learn more about Hannah's debut as well as five interesting facts about her and her novel!

Title: Kingdom of Ash and Briar
Author: Hannah West
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher:  Holiday House INC.
Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form. Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.


1. When I first started querying agents, the manuscript was 154 thousand words, which is grossly over the limit for a debut author. Since then, my agent, editor and I have whittled it down to under 100 thousand words. 

2. The premise came to me while I was studying abroad in France in 2010. I'd already written the beginning scene, but I didn't know where it was headed. My parents sent me a care package with Disney princess pencils, and during a two-hour French grammar class I noticed that Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were side-by-side in the same little heart. That's when Bristal's story and the stories of the two princesses wove together and the premise took shape in my mind. 

3. Before I wrote the scene introducing the love interest, I planned for him to be kind of brash, unruly, and flirtatious - a Will Herondale type. When Anthony actually came into play, he completely overturned my preconceptions of him. It's true that characters write themselves. 

4. I love love love battle scenes and adventure and political intrigue, but my favorite scenes to write are always the romantic ones, or moments where the magic is lovely and mystifying. 

5. "Elicromancer" is derived from the Old Nisseran term elicrin, which means "gods on earth."

5 Facts About Hannah West:

1. I'm obsessed with French macarons. 

2. I treat my blue heeler, Robb, like a spoiled baby. 

3. I freelance write about green living, and it's inspired me to start modifying my everyday life in small ways, especially when it comes to using plastic, cutting down energy use, and eating responsibly-sourced food. I still slip up often, but I'm hoping to continue becoming a better steward of the resources at my disposal, and to inspire the people of my Texas community to do the same - not always easy around here!

4. I recently got married! Woohoo! I love married life so far. 

5. I experience a lot of social anxiety and generalized anxiety, which makes releasing a debut novel as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. I love hearing other authors open up and discuss dealing with anxiety in life and in this industry.

Hannah has swooned over fantasy and fairy tales since before she wrote her first story about a runaway princess living on top of a flagpole with two loves of bread. Kingdom of Ash and Briars is her first novel, which she began as a college junior while studying abroad in Orléans, France. She freelance writes for about renewable energy and sustainable living, and lives in Rockwall, Texas, with her husband and their rambunctious blue heeler.


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