2020 Carol Award Finalists Q&A (and a Giveaway!): Sara Ella & Coral

Posted September 17, 2020 by meezcarrie in 2020 Carol Awards, Christian, Sara Ella, YA / 21 Comments

Happy Thursday once again! Through this Saturday (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2020 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m continuing with Sara Ella and her Carol Award finalist book Coral! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.

FYI – There will be 2-3 posts per day, and a series-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a Disney prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). When she’s not writing, Sara might be found behind her camera lens or planning her next adventure to California. A lover of fairy tales, she believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”

Sara’s UNBLEMISHED trilogy has received high praise and multiple awards, but none as rewarding as the love and support she receives from her readers every day. Her latest novel CORAL, a reimagining of THE LITTLE MERMAID that focuses on mental health, is available now. Look out for her upcoming ALICE IN WONDERLAND duology, with book 1 set to release from Enclave Publishing in the spring of 2022. Visit her at saraella.com

GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy/Retelling
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: November 12, 2019
PAGES: 384

There is more than one way to drown.

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—fairy tale, Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.


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Hi Sara! Welcome back to the blog!

Q: How has Christian fiction impacted you personally?

Sara: My first encounter with Christian fiction came by way of C.S. Lewis. It was his allegorical storytelling that first inspired me to spin my own tales that pointed back to the King.

Then I picked up Shannon Dittemore’s Angel Eyes in my twenties, and I discovered a whole new world of Christian fiction for young adults. Shannon was a mom and a writer. She did both! Her personal story inspired and encouraged me to chase my novel-writing dream between diaper changes and midnight feedings.

Carrie: this reader is thankful to them both for inspiring you ♥

Q: When you’re not writing your next award-nominated book 😉 who are your fave authors to read & why?

Sara: The list is a mile long, but I always return to Kasie West and Kiera Cass for my “comfort food” reads. I am a huge fairy-tale nerd, so C.J. Redwine and Marissa Meyer have been two other authors I’ve found who speak to my Disney-loving heart.

Carrie: I’m a huge Kasie West fan and the other three are on my must-read-SOON list!

Q: Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?

Sara: Strange? If lighting a bookish scented candle and pouring a fresh cup of coffee or tea is strange, then sure! I also turn on my twinkle lights and miniature Christmas tree when I write. I guess having a Christmas tree up all year ‘round is a bit out of the ordinary, but I am a firm believer that Christmas is something we all need more of (especially this year).

Carrie: I don’t think that’s strange, I think it’s delightful! We are kindred twinkle lights/Christmas tree spirits 🙂

Q: Which of your characters has really stretched you as a writer?

Sara: The entire process of writing Coral stretched me to my breaking point. It was writing Brooke, in particular, that pushed me to a different level of raw honesty in my writing.

Carrie: i can only imagine how tough that process was! but you did it so beautifully.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve googled lately while researching a book?

Sara: I was literally just closing out tabs on my laptop relating to this very subject before starting this interview. I recently Googled “how many sounds can a cat make?” And, yes, what I discovered was quite helpful in venturing away from the traditional “purr” and “meow,” thank you.

Carrie: LOL

Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Coral?

Sara: God taught me grace upon grace upon grace. Grace for myself. His grace for me. And that telling the story he wants me to tell is not a comfortable process, but it is far more rewarding than taking the easier route.

Carrie: amen & amen ♥

Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Coral & why do you love it?

Sara: “You are not nothing. ” It’s one that my readers quote often, and one God reminds me of every day. I love it because it’s true. And even when we feel worthless and helpless and alone, the truth is that God made us and we are something to Him. We are everything to Him. And that’s the best truth of all.

Carrie: i love that so much!

I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2020 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read the Young Adult Carol Award finalist Coral by Sara Ella & what did you enjoy about Sara’s answers?

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21 responses to “2020 Carol Award Finalists Q&A (and a Giveaway!): Sara Ella & Coral

  1. Elizabeth Litton

    I love reading modern-day spins of fairy tales and I think it’s so cool that she talks about mental health issues in it as well!

  2. Donna Irvin

    I love that she writes with twinkling lights on, keeps a Christmas tree up all year! And the quote ” You are not nothing!”

  3. Perrianne Askew

    It sounds very interesting. I loke that this book pished her to “raw honesty.” It sounds like it was a real challange!

  4. Suzanne Sellner

    I love how special each person is to God! You’re a new author to me, and it was a pleasure to learn more about your writing.

  5. Becky D

    I love Christmas all year round, too, with white string lights setting the ambiance. And, always love new twists on fairytales. Thanks for sharing the interview!! 🥰📚

  6. Mallori N.

    I can’t wait to read this book! I love Kiera Cass’ books as well, though I haven’t read any books by the other mentioned authors. I purchased Sara’s “Unblemished” and “Unraveling” a while ago and am disappointed I haven’t had time to read them yet. (While my digital TBR pile is infinite, my physical pile is at a count of around 80 books.)

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