Sarah Raughley grew up in Southern Ontario writing stories about freakish little girls with powers because she secretly wanted to be one. She is a huge fangirl of anything from manga to sci-fi fantasy TV to Japanese role-playing games and other geeky things, all of which have largely inspired her writing. Sarah has been nominated for the Aurora Award for Best YA Novel and works in the community doing writing workshops for youths and adults. On top of being a YA writer, Sarah has a PhD in English, which makes her a doctor, so it turns out she didn’t have to go to medical school after all. As an academic, Sarah has taught undergraduate courses and acted as a postdoctoral fellow. Her research concerns representations of race and gender in popular media culture, youth culture, and postcolonialism. She has written and edited articles in political, cultural, and academic publications. She continues to use her voice for good. You can find her online at

Q&A with Sarah Raughley

Sarah Raughley was inspired to write Bones of Ruin, in part, to counter the lack of people of colour in novels and shows she had seen set in the Victorian period.

Where do you find the inspiration for your books?
I find inspiration from photos often. I love looking at art of all kinds and sometimes just one picture can spur an entire story!

What were your favourite books when you were a kid? As a young reader, did you see yourself in the books you read?
I love the Percy Jackson series and I also read older books like The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley. Unfortunately, I didn’t really see myself in the books I read. Most of the main characters of these books were white. It took a long time before I read a book series starring someone like me. That’s why I make sure I write the kinds of books I would have wanted to read as a kid!

What’s the most surprising thing you have learned when creating your books?
Writing a book is hard! It’s a lot harder than it looks. Coming up with a story idea is one thing. I have a lot of fun with that. But sitting down to write a book takes a lot of discipline and is very much a mental battle. It also requires that you dig deep down inside yourself and pull out that power you may never have known you have. Whether you’ve written one poem, one short story, one novel, or one pamphlet, pat yourself on the back!

What is a challenge you have faced as a writer?
Deadlines! I think as your schedule gets filled up, especially if you have a day job, it can be hard to find the time to write. Like I said before, writing takes discipline. And you’ve got to have good time management skills. It can be a challenge, but worth while!

What advice do you have for kids who are interested in writing? 
Read a lot. Try to analyze why you like the books that you like. Reading will help you discover your own voice!