Finalist Spotlight

Sara B. Larson

Sara B. Larson is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of the YA fantasy DEFY trilogy (DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE), the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN duology, and the SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT duology (TorTeen/Macmillan). She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband, their four children, and their Maltese, Loki. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction. She’s online at 

Sara B. Larson on her Whitney Awards Finalist novel,

Sisters of Shadow and Light

What was the inspiration for your Whitney Awards finalist novel?

I am the oldest of five girls, and I’ve always wanted to write a story about the bond that can exist between sisters. When I saw two images of girls that looked like they could be sisters–except that one of them had glowing blue eyes–and what looked like an abandoned castle on the edge of a cliff, the idea for Sisters of Shadow and Light was born!

What was the tipping point that turned this novel from “just an idea” to a project you HAD to complete?

Right from the start, this was a project I knew I had to finish. It was definitely a story that came straight from my heart and I couldn’t put it down or aside.

 How did this book evolve into the final story? Did it end up the way you thought it would, or did the plot or characters change along the way?

Though I don’t do a chapter-by-chapter synopsis before I draft a book, I usually do have to know the major plot points and how the story is going to end before I start. But stories always take on a life of their own, and there are often surprises along the way–and this one was no different! The character that surprised me the most was Loukas, but that doesn’t become super evident until the sequel, Warriors of Wing and Flame.

Who is your favorite secondary character, and why?

In SOSAL, I’d have to say Raidyn was my favorite character to write and get to know. He’s complex and fascinating–and such a good person. I loved him so much!

If your book was made into a movie, which scene would you want to be a background extra in?

I can’t really answer that without a major spoiler, but I will say it would be very near the end and involves a very powerful healing that takes place! I would love to be present for such an emotional and pivotal scene.