I'm always pumped to interview authors here, and have been waiting to host this writer for quite some time. If you want a book that will split your sides and make you want to wear a tutu, you've come to the right place.
Let's dive right in.
Hi, Kristiana, tell us about your book.
Pitched as Doctor Who meets Frozen, Legend of the Storm Sneezer is a middle grade fantasy perfect for fans of time travel, ghost stories, humor, and the darkly whimsical. It’s the story of a 13-year-old girl named Rose Skylar who sneezed a magical storm cloud at birth, and it’s followed her around ever since. But when “Stormy” causes one too many public disasters, Rose is taken to an asylum for unstable magic located in a haunted forest whose trees have mysteriously turned to stone. Guided by her older selves via time traveling letters, Rose must team up with Marek Knoxwind—a guardian angel who may or may not be imaginary—to solve the mystery of the specters and the stone trees. But will they find what killed the ghosts before what killed the ghosts finds them?
I absolutely love it. A instant classic. Now, having read this, I've fallen in love with several of the characters. I think Sephone is my fave. Tell me about your favorite character?
So, I’m one of those authors who doesn’t have favorites. Like, at all. Each of my babies has a little piece of my soul, and I adore them all equally. BUT! I will say that I love telling the story through Rose’s voice because she’s just so dang adorable and compassionate and funny. Writing her is a total joy, and her perspective is so refreshing.
I think readers are going to find Rose to be a very different protagonist than what they’re used to—and that’s a good thing!
Oh, absolutely agreed. Love Rose! What was your favorite scene to write?
Oh, gosh, you’re making me choose? I think EVERY scene was my favorite scene while writing it…but I’ll try and narrow it down. ;) I love writing scary scenes, and there’s this one scene where Marek takes Rose to a haunted house (*cough* on purpose *cough*), and—well, I can’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say that at this point in the story, Rose and Marek have been apart for quite some time. They’re best friends and the perfect team, but they’ve lost their groove a bit. Yet in this scene, here they are back-to-back in what they like to call their “I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine, now what?” formation, facing down a gruesome ghost in a haunted cottage that’s falling to pieces…and finally, finally, they’re together again, back in sync, doing their thang.
And it’s such an epic moment that it became one of Legend of the Storm Sneezer’s five full-page illustrations!
And they're absolutely beautiful! What was the hardest part of writing the book?
Keeping everyone’s motives and agendas straight in my head and making sure they came through clearly in the story! My editor, Cammie, was a huge help with this. Also, anytime time travel is involved, there’s always going to be a moment where the author would rather pull their brains out through their nose than try to untangle the twisty timelines woven into the story. But we do it—and it’s worth it!
No doubt about it. You had a lot of moving parts, but it worked. Advice for writers?
There is no “one size fits all” for writing journeys. It’s good to listen to other authors and their publishing stories, but don’t expect yours to turn out the exact same. And just because something is good advice doesn’t mean it’s the right (or write!) advice for you. Find what works for you, and embrace it! Also, don’t be jealous of the success of others. Celebrate the small victories. Be loyal to your writing friends, community, and readership, and be kind and encouraging to all—even when (especially when) you’ve been asked to critique their work. Loving people is a greater success than any Big 5 book deal.
6. Anything you want to add?
Amidst the craziness of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s awesome to see parents stepping up to the challenge of homeschooling their kids! I was homeschooled myself, and I created a Teacher’s Guide for Legend of the Storm Sneezer that follows the example of my amazing schooling experience. It includes a full Unit Study that covers Literature, Creative Writing, Drama, Vocabulary, Social Studies, History, Science, and thematic snack ideas! My hope is that it will be a useful tool for parents and help inspire a love of reading and learning in their kids. :) This Teacher’s Guide can be found at: https://www.kristianasquill.com/teacher-reader-resources
Thank you so much for joining us, Kristiana! Folks, if you haven't ordered this book, you are really missing out. Make sure to check it out below, and follow Kristiana.
Legend Seeker. Part-time Ghost Hunter. Time Traveler.
Thirteen-year-old Rose Skylar sneezed a magical storm cloud at birth, and it’s followed her around ever since. But when “Stormy” causes one too many public disasters, Rose is taken to Heartstone, an asylum for unstable magic. Its location? The heart of a haunted forest whose trees have mysteriously turned to stone.
They say the ghosts are bound to the woods … then why does Rose see them drifting outside the windows at night? And why is there a graveyard on the grounds filled with empty graves? Guided by her future selves via time traveling letters, Rose and Marek—best friend and potential figment of her imagination—must solve the mystery of the specters and the stone trees before the ghosts unleash a legendary enemy that will make their own spooks look like a couple of holey bed sheets and destroy Heartstone Asylum.
Letters from the future are piling up. Rose can’t save Heartstone herself. However, five of herselves, a magical storm cloud, and a guardian angel who might very well be imaginary? Now that’s a silver lining.
But will they find what killed the ghosts before what killed the ghosts finds them?
As an author, Kristiana Sfirlea knows what it means to get in character. She spent five years volunteering as a historical reenactor and trying her best not to catch her skirts on fire as a colonial girl from the 1700s (leading cause of death at the time next to childbirth). Working at a haunted house attraction, she played a jumping werewolf statue, a goblin in a two-way mirror, and a wall-scratcher—so if she’s standing very still, growling, checking her reflection, or filing her nails on your wall, be alarmed. Those are hard habits to break.
Kristiana's speculative flash fiction has been published by Havok, and her debut novel Legend of the Storm Sneezer is a whimsical Middle Grade fantasy involving time travel and things that go bump in the night. She dreams of the day she can run her own mobile bookstore. Or haunted house attraction. Or both. Look out, world—here comes a haunted bookmobile! (And this is precisely why writers should never become Uber drivers.) She loves Jesus, her family, and imaginary life with her characters.
Facebook: Kristiana Sfirlea – Author Page
Goodreads: Kristiana Sfirlea
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Legend-Storm-Sneezer-Stormwatch-Diaries/dp/1948095572/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/legend-of-the-storm-sneezer-kristiana-sfirlea/1136471405?ean=9781948095563
Indiebound - https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781948095563
Bookshop.org - https://bookshop.org/books/legend-of-the-storm-sneezer/9781948095563?aid=0&fbclid=IwAR2crgR7pvdySajP03qq2QvN0SxFc6njRI2J9LF5xmSTwFpy9vaiwO3Ygek
E-book retailers - https://books2read.com/stormsneezer?fbclid=IwAR1bxYTGlx4jKHV4TMswX1iyih_bUhqf-jCU_qQl2Q3EUvI8K_w0LOvijlE