We are so excited to have Sarah Enni and Sophia from thebookbasement on the blog today! They are both part of an a newly released anthology called, Because You Love to Hate Me. In this anthology, popular BookTubers gave short story prompts to YA authors. Of course, the focus was on villains. Don’t we all love a good baddie?
And I just happened to attend their tour stop at the The Grove’s Barnes and Noble in L.A.. It was such a fun night, and I got to say “hi” to Sarah and gush about her story. I can’t say enough about it (I will post a full review of the anthology later in the month), but I will add that I begged her to turn it into a full novel. It is truly a 5-star story.
Thanks to Bloomsbury, I had a chance to ask both Sarah and Sophia a few questions about their story.
Q. So I know the origin of the story had to do with a prompt re: Voldermort/J.K. Rowling’s world, it made me wonder what houses would Sigrid, Thomas and Annabel Bates be sorted into?
Sarah: I have to admit that I tried not to think about this as I was writing, because I was trying so hard to avoid straight up copying anything from Rowling’s magical world! But as a Slytherin myself, I know for sure Sigrid would be rocking green and silver. Annabel is a Gryffindor for sure. Thomas is a hard one (for reasons that become clear once you read the story), but I think he’s a Slytherin, too.
Sophia: Aw jeez, I’m horrible at sorting characters because I feel like often, it makes the Houses seem so dimensionless. Like, “Oh, this character is smart. Ravenclaw!” That being said, I really do think Sigrid and Thomas would be Slytherin (or maybe more accurately Slytherclaw?). Annabel is tough, but I could see a potential Gryffindor in her! I trust Sarah’s sortings, because she knows these characters better than I do, haha.
Q. The fact that the anthology includes booktube and Sigrid and Thomas understand each other so well, it made me think that if they had booktube channels, they would definitely do a collab video. What would it be about?
Sarah: Oh man, thinking of Sigrid and Thomas having booktube channels is hilarious to me. Thomas would be great at it—he reads everything! I think they could collaborate on a video where Sigrid talks about her favorite books from childhood, and Thomas could recommend newer books that have a similar feel. They’d just end up bickering, though.
Sophia: A favorite villains video! Haha, I’m playin’. I honestly think they’d probably collab for a discussion video. OH WAIT, I changed my mind. They’d do a challenge video, and they’d both be hilariously competitive throughout the entire thing. I’m grinning just thinking about it.
Q. Villains tend to lust for power. Your story focuses on magic being a finite source in the world, so naturally, witches may want to exploit this and search for the source of more power. Sophia, you brought up such a valid thought — we’re the protagonists in our own story, but are we the villains in someone else’s story? Keeping that in mind, can Sigrid be a hero? Or perhaps an anti-hero?
Sarah: I absolutely believe that Sigrid is the hero of her own story. And I think for the reader, Sigrid can definitely serve as an antihero. At the start she’s kinda, sorta altruistic, but as the story goes on Sigrid starts to come to terms with her real motives. Whether it fits into the reader’s idea of right or wrong, it’s definitely Sigrid coming fully into her own.
Sophia: Such an interesting thought!! I think Sigrid could be a hero to some people (Thomas, maybe?), and I definitely could see Sigrid as an anti-hero. Throughout the entire process of being involved in this anthology, I never even considered anti-heroes. What a blind spot for me! Now that I’m thinking about it, I feel like the line between anti-heroes and villains should be the finest line of all time. Villains’ motivations should be understandable and maybe a bit sympathetic for the reader. There’s no creativity (or realism?) in being evil for evil’s sake! At least, those are my two cents.
Q. The exploration of a villain’s story made me think about my favorite villains, so who are yours?
Sarah: Oh man! I was just brainstorming about this with a friend of mine. I definitely have my fair share of loveable bad guys: Loki; Ursula; Ed Harris whenever he’s bad in anything. But the villain I think is maybe the most villainous (the one I can’t even bring myself to love to hate) is Dolores Umbrage. Her form of evil is all too common and believable.
Sophia: As someone who’s rarely impressed by villains, this is such a difficult question for me! I do love Ursula, like Sarah mentioned. She has a reason for being horrible, and I kind of like the idea of taking someone’s best attribute for yourself (wow, I am actually a villain is what I’m realizing). One of the best villains in YA, in my opinion, is the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy. What an expertly developed character!
Bloomsbury has one heck of a giveaway for this tour. Be sure to enter it!
G I V E A W A Y
Many thanks to Sarah, Sophia and Bloomsbury for their time in answering my questions and putting together this tour. Please check out the other tour stops for more interviews, guest posts, reviews and of course, chances to win the giveaway!
Sarah Enni has come a long way from her first writing job, a journalism gig covering the radioactive waste industry. She now writes young adult novels and also produces and hosts the First Draft podcast, where she encourages other writers to spill their juicy secrets. She lives in Los Angeles with her cat Hammer, and is very likely eating enchiladas right now.
Sophia runs a successful BookTube channel called The Book Basement where she features book reviews, book tags, book hauls and movie reviews.