Sarah J. Sover writes fantasy crossover novels while raising two energetic little people. Sarah was first published in You Want Stories?: The JordanCon 2019 Anthology, and her debut novel, Double-Crossing the Bridge, released from The Parliament House in August 2019. Sarah holds a degree completely unrelated to writing from Georgia Southern University where she graduated as a Bell Honors’ Scholar. She resides in John’s Creek, GA, with her brilliant husband Alex, two vibrant daughters, new pup Gandalf the Grey, and a seemingly immortal snake.
First things first, tell us about that immortal snake! And also all other beings—immortal or otherwise, human or otherwise—you share a home with, but mostly tell us about the snake.
His name is Santana because he’s so smooth (ba dum tss) and I got him right after college when my parents enforced a ban on more animals. In fairness to them, I think that came after my baby robin bust out of his makeshift enclosure and poo-bombed the house. Santana has been with me through three moves, one marriage, and two kids. We have a new dog, a chizer named Gandalf the Grey. My husband Alex is a software engineer, and we’ve got two daughters ages five and one. They have opinions.
Your debut book, Double-Crossing the Bridge, is a reimagining of the Three Billy Goats Gruff with an Oceans 11-style twist. What inspired you to write this story?
My husband and I were in the car one day, just bouncing ridiculous ideas off each other for no good reason, and the concept of trolls pulling a heist was the result. For research, I watched tons of classic heist films, and the book is paced like a caper along the lines of The Hot Rock, only the background scenes are styled more like a sitcom. The creatures themselves have a Dark Crystal vibe to them, at least in my head. So, basically, the idea erupted out of connecting a bunch of seemingly discordant elements. Oh, and if Tim Burton ever reads this, you want to make Double-Crossing the Bridge the movie!
Your website features a game promoting Double-Crossing the Bridge, in which players must throw exploding unicorn poop at attacking goats. Who came up with this unique marketing idea?
That one was all me! I had a relatively low budget for it, so I posted on my personal Facebook to see if any upstart game developers would do it on the cheap. Turns out, an old college friend, Mike Horton, took up the challenge. He put my image together in a way that I don’t think anyone else could have!
Will readers come across unicorn poop in Double-Crossing the Bridge?
While the trolls don’t make it out to the unicorn farm, so we don’t see much unicorn poo in the book, there is a memorable scene involving both feces and unicorns.
What’s your highest score? I can’t get past the office level at 560.
I think my highest was around 1100 with the final version of #BewareTheGoats. Mike played with different difficulty levels, and there were times during testing that I couldn’t make it out of level 1.
You like to describe yourself as weird, and your publisher, The Parliament House, confesses to a “specific taste for the weird, dark, and quirky.” Sounds like a match made in heaven! How did you find each other?
I was in the query trenches, and I had just come to the conclusion that my weird little book would probably do best with a small press when I saw an acquisitions announcement from The Parliament House. It listed four titles, all dark and distinctly weird. I could just see Double-Crossing the Bridge listed alongside them, so I did a little research and decided to submit.
Can you tell us about your next project? I’ll be slightly disappointed if it’s not a retelling of the Three Little Pigs a la Glengarry Glen Ross.
LOL! I’ll confess that I don’t really see Double-Crossing the Bridge as a retelling. At least, that wasn’t the intent when I started out, and I do have plans for a sequel at some point. My current WIP is called Fairy Godmurder, and it’s a fantasy noir about a fairy godmother going rogue to hunt down the serial killer who murdered her first charge. Think Jessica Jones meets Dexter with a little pixie dust sprinkled in.
I assume you’re familiar with the game, “Kiss, Marry, Kill?” We’re going to play the book edition, “Rec, Read, Rewrite.” Name one book you’d happily recommend to everyone you know, one book you’d be willing to settle down with monogamously, and one book you’d rewrite to suit your ideal ending for it.
Only one recommendation? I have about 6 just from the 2019 debut group! I’m going to have to cheat, then, and recommend the forthcoming Gravity’s Heir by Sara Bond because not only is the book an amazing space opera along the lines of Firefly, but the author is my best friend, and it’s her debut.
For read, I’m going with Nottingham by Nathan Makaryk for the simple reason that it took me ages to read because I didn’t want to miss a word. Its Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him, and the prose is at once gorgeous and incredibly clever. If I ever feel caught up on arcs, I plan to dive back in and give it the full attention it deserves.
Rewrite… I really don’t have the drive to rewrite someone else’s book. I know that’s not a fun answer, but I’d much rather put that energy into the stories dancing around my head. If The Winds of Winter ends the way Game of Thrones did, I pick that, but I don’t think George would do that to us.
It’s now that time in the interview where I am expected to ask about authors who have influenced or inspired you, but I want to have fun with this, so based on the movie Yesterday, who would be your Beatles in this scenario, i.e., whose work would you be thrilled to claim as your own?
What a cool question! I’m going to go with Neil Gaiman. His work is dark, edgy, iconic, and downright hilarious. He’s not afraid of being exactly who he is and letting his weird shine, and while his particular brand of weird is very different than mine (or anyone’s!), that’s what I’d like to accomplish with my writing career. Plus, he’s worked with some absolute legends.