Saturday, June 14, 2008

Move over J.K. Rowling

Let the race to fill J.K. Rowling's shoes begin!

The University of Iowa Alumni magazine just ran my profile of debut novelist Sarah Prineas, author of the just-published young adult fantasy novel The Magic Thief.

The Magic Thief tells the story of Connwaer (Conn for short), an orphaned street thief with a fierce independent streak who picks the wrong pocket in the novel's first pages. He apprentices himself to a curmudgeonly wizard named Nevery, a brilliant fellow who returns from exile to study the depletion of magic in the city of Wellmet. Much of the book hinges on Conn's harrowing search for his locus magicalicus, a special stone all wizards need to focus magic and create spells. Conn's sense of magic is exceptionally strong, but so are the evil characters—among them the thief lord Crowe—who thwart him at every turn.

Among all of the authors I've interviewed, Sarah Prineas has to be the most forthcoming and spunky. She keeps a spirited blog on LiveJournal where she writes about being a young adult fantasy author and a working mom (in addition to writing, she also works part-time as an honors adviser at the UI).

When I began this profile, I was more interested in Sarah's story -- the behind-the-book narrative -- than in the book itself. Sarah told me a lot of stories about what it is like to be a children's author in a town where children aren't valued as readers.

But then I read the thing. Let's just say, eat it HP!

(The pic above is of Sarah in her dining room looking at the long scroll she used to outline the book after it was written).

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