|Sarah Elle Emm, Author|
HARMONY RUN SERIES:
Sarah Elle Emm has authored the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a fantasy dystopian four-book series for teenagers and young adults. PRISMATIC, the first of the series, features Rain, a multiracial girl who joins with friends in a segregated country to fight a dictator. Reviewers tout the book as a “truly original, unique and inspired storyline” with “vision and imagination” and “very emotive, truth-drawing and utterly thought-provoking” and an “unexpected and quirky twist within the plot.”
Emm loves to write, and she enjoys exploring the “what if” scenario offered by dystopian fantasy because she gets to create her own “rules” for her world. However, she also has written a lighter novel, MARRYING MISSY, and appreciates that genre as well. She plans to publish the third book in the HARMONY RUN SERIES: CHATOYANT this summer and is currently finishing the fourth book in the series NACREOUS —in between fighting off fake lizards placed in her bed by her kids, taking photos, and cooking. She is well-traveled and currently lives in Florida.
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Q: Reviewers of PRISMATIC praise the novel as “truly original, unique and inspired.” How did you conceive of the story? What makes it unique?
Sarah Elle Emm: From what I’ve seen in the reviews and from the emails I’ve received, people tend to agree that one of the reasons my story is unique is because the protagonist, Rain, is a multiracial girl. While multiracial fiction is out there, it isn’t the largest genre. The story takes place in the future, in a newly segregated country, under the ruling thumb of an evil dictator. Rain and her friends, who are from varying ethnic backgrounds, take a stand against their oppressor when most of the adults have lost hope and given up. This story was inspired by real life events in history such as the Holocaust, slavery, apartheid, and segregation, to name a few. It was also inspired by my own childhood and life experience. I have multiracial relatives, cousins, friends, and children, and I’ve seen prejudice and racism in my travels around the world and in the U.S.A. I decided to write a story where multiracial teenagers could try to help spread the word that we are all just humans.
Q: How did you draw readers into the dystopian, fantasy world of PRISMATIC? How did you make the world believable? Do you think believability is important?
Sarah Elle Emm: The cool thing about writing fantasy and dystopian is that as the writer you get to create your own rules for your world, which is nice. But as far as making it believable, I think the most important thing for me is making the characters seem real. As far as setting goes, this futuristic society of mine has droid technology, hover technology, and many technological advancements, but most important is that you believe Rain and her friends are real. I don’t just want you to enjoy her as a fiction character, I want you to care about her, to carry her with you in your mind when you aren’t reading the story, and to think about her after you’ve put the book down. Let’s be honest, this is a four book series, and I’m currently writing the final book, so these teenagers are very real to me. Still, while the reader may never be able to care about them as much as I do, I still have that hope, and that’s my goal. So yes, believability is important!
Q: A reviewer called your protagonist, Rain, “a worthy heroine.” How do you make her engaging?
Sarah Elle Emm: Rain’s character is good. She cares about her brother and her friends. She cares about her family. She’s not afraid to stand up to injustice, but she still has fears. The story takes place four years after her family has been sent to this deplorable, walled city, so she still remembers what life was like before. I think that desire to get her freedom back makes her even more engaging. She wasn’t born into this undesirable society. She was sent here. She’s also just your average teenage girl in the midst of a scary place. She wants the same things other girls might want, who don’t live in a world like this. She jokes around with her friends, has arguments with her mom, and even falls in love. But you’ll have to read PRISMATIC to find out more about her crush…
Q: Is the concept of “hero” vs “villain” relevant to PRISMATIC? Do you need a villain in order to have a hero?
Sarah Elle Emm: Yes, I definitely have a hero vs villain in this story. Rain is one tough female hero, but she definitely has the help of her heroic friends, and they are waging a war against the worst of the worst as far as villains go. While there is actually a person who is the villain in this story, I think in other stories it is possible to have a hero without having a person as the villain.
Q: You describe PRISMATIC as a dystopian fantasy for teens and young adults. How do you direct the story to that segment? Do you believe older readers would enjoy reading PRISMATIC?
Sarah Elle Emm: While PRISMATIC is technically a young adult and teen story, I have found that a lot of adults are reading it too. For one thing, adults these days are reading more and more teen dystopian than ever. I’ve heard from some adults who say they like to read what their kids are reading, so that is the interest. I’ve also heard from adult readers of my series who say they enjoyed the history in my story. Older generations can pick up on the WWII parallels in this series that young adults haven’t even learned about yet in school. A lady in England emailed me that she was sending PRISMATIC to her son’s school in hopes they would add it to their history lesson. I’ve met with young adult readers who’ve read PRISMATIC, and they tell me they can relate to the characters as far as the conversation goes, their sense of humor, and the teenage feelings of love. So, I hope PRISMATIC can entertain young adults and adults alike.
Q: Did you write PRISMATIC strictly to entertain? Or did you want to also deliver a message?
Sarah Elle Emm: Both. I wanted to entertain readers with Rain and her story. I want people to care about her, to root for her as she stands up for her rights, and as she falls in love. But this series has a very simple, but important message. We are all just humans, regardless of our outward differences. We should celebrate our cultural diversity, yes, but in a positive way, and we shouldn’t label each other because of how we look on the outside.
Q: You have also written a novel, MARRYING MISSY, which is not a fantasy/dystopian story. Which genre do you enjoy writing more?
Sarah Elle Emm: I enjoy reading lots of genres, which is why I think I enjoy writing in more than one. Personally, I loved writing MARRYING MISSY because it was so light and fun. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for light, and sometimes, I’m in the mood for more intensity. Of course, I just love a good ‘what if’ scenario like you can find in dystopian fiction. I’m not going to say I enjoy writing dystopian more because to be honest, I just love to write, but I will tell you I’ve been taking notes for another YA dystopian series I’d like to write.
Q: Do your characters ever take over your writing, or do you stick to your outline?
Sarah Elle Emm: I take notes and plan plot points, but sometimes my characters do take over, and suddenly I’m going on an adventure I hadn’t planned at all.
Q: What’s next?
Sarah Elle Emm: My current project is to continue and finish the fourth book in the HARMONY RUN SERIES, NACREOUS. The third book in this series, CHATOYANT, comes out this August, too. In between writing and promoting, I’ll try to keep up with my kids. I emphasize the word try. They like to play tricks on me every single day. I don’t care how many times they pull the same prank on me, when I get into bed at night and feel a lizard under or on my pillow, I always have that moment where I forget it’s their fake lizard and scream. The fake lizard is their favorite.
Q: Tell us about Sarah Elle Emm. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I love to cook. Since I made a healthy lifestyle transformation a couple of years ago, I’m cooking vegan food these days. I like to take traditional recipes, like my grandmother’s banana bread for example, and convert them into healthy vegan recipes. I love speaking Spanish and try to stay in touch with my native Spanish speaking friends, I go to church, stay active, and I love to read. I also dabble in amateur photography, and Florida has so much for me to photograph. When I can, I post Florida photography at my blog, Sarah’s View from the Bottom. (www.Sarahsviewfromthebottom.com)
Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had. Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.
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