DEFY by Sara B. Larson Guest Post and Giveaway


Today, I’m excited to share with you Sara B. Larson’s Journey to Publication. Sara’s debut, DEFY, releases on January 7th, and sounds pretty good. Here at IceyBooks, we’re excited to start reading!


A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

Thank you for having me on your blog today!

So today I’m going to talk a little bit about my journey to publication. I had a long road to get to where I am now. I’ve written my whole life (and have the notebooks from second and third grade with the stories in them to prove it!) and I’ve always dreamed of being an author. But I didn’t start to actively try and get published until my oldest son was about nine or ten months old. (He’s 8 ½ now, to put my journey into perspective!) I’ve been in the query trenches twice, and both times it was AWFUL. I mean, let’s just be honest here, they don’t call it Query Hell for nothing. It’s so hard to get rejection after rejection. Between both times, I’m sure I have well over 200 rejections. (I stopped counting after fifty or sixty the first time.) But my advice would be to never give up and to never stop writing. I learned the hard way that once you have one book out for querying, you need to start writing a NEW (aka different) book, just in case. I queried my first book for over two years, and wrote the sequel and part of the third book in the meantime. Yikes, right? I finally moved on to a new book story and that’s when I got my first agent. After we parted ways, I queried three more books. I had one ready when we parted ways, and I wrote two more while that one was out. I signed with Josh Adams on the third book, which became DEFY.

With DEFY, things went differently than they ever had before. I started querying on Monday, with about fifteen queries. (All cold queries, by the way.) Then on Tuesday night, I saw that an agent I liked had just re-opened to queries. I sent one off, and was shocked to get a full request ten minutes later. And even more shocked to get an email the next day before lunch, asking to talk to me about the book! I ended up receiving more than one offer. It was the situation we all dream about, right? But it ended up being harder to choose than I thought it would be. However, when I talked to Josh on the phone he blew me away with his business savvy, experience, and enthusiasm. I had notes front and back on my paper, and sidewise up the side. I knew that he was the right agent for me. And he’s become a good friend, too, so I feel very lucky and blessed. He sold my book, DEFY, to Lisa Sandell at Scholastic a month later, and it’s been a dream working with her as well. It was just a huge testament to me that if you don’t give up, eventually you will write the right book at the right time. And in the end, even though it was a hard road to get here, I would do it all again to get to work with Josh and Lisa. I couldn’t be happier!

Thank you for having me here today and I hope you all enjoy DEFY!

Amalie Howard

Sara loves writing, reading, and dessert–but the order varies by the day. She wrote her first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a “to scale” drawing of the baby’s size–while her mom was pregnant. To say she was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that she’s an adult, she writes books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). She lives in Utah with her husband, two young sons and baby girl. She writes during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims that she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” On occasion you will find her hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. she is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and her YA debut DEFY is coming January ’14 from Scholastic!

Thanks to Sara, we’ve got 5 signed copies of DEFY to give away, along with 3 audiobook downloads!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Sara on her Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Add DEFY to Goodreads
Buy DEFY on Amazon


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Angel (Spare Reads)

    January 2, 2014

    I just finished DEFY about a week ago and I loved it! Hope to see more work from you in the future :) Carry on Sara!

  2. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    I love reading publication stories! It’s so inspiring. Congrats, Sara, on DEFY. It’s an awesome book. :)

  3. Reply

    Erin Arkin

    January 2, 2014

    Great post and thank you for the giveaway!

  4. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    I can’t wait to read this one! I love hearing the path to pub story!

  5. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    Wow what a publishing journey! I’m glad you got Defy published, it looks amazing!

  6. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    What a great story and I can’t wait until Tuesday!

  7. Reply

    Heidi D

    January 2, 2014

    I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Can’t wait to read it.

    Awesome giveaway. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Reply

    Jessica Ward

    January 2, 2014

    Love the concept and the cover is gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    Really looking forward to reading Defy! Wow! You have a lot of commitment and dedication to keep trying after so many rejections (that sounds really blunt but I have no idea how else to word it)! I really hope I enjoy it! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  10. Reply

    susan beamon

    January 2, 2014

    interesting story. love the cover. this is one that, if i were in a bookstore, i’d probably pick up just because of the cover.

  11. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    What an interesting journey. Now I’m even more excited about Defy, it sounds like a good read. *A*

  12. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    Defy sounds like it is going to be a great read! I love the synopsis!!!

    Sara, congratulations on keeping at it and not giving up!

  13. Reply

    Len D.

    January 2, 2014

    Wow! It’s been a while since I see a fantasy book I want to read! Excited for this for real! :)

  14. Reply

    Christina T

    January 2, 2014

    I have had Defy on my wishlist/tbr list for awhile for now and I can’t wait for it’s release. I love fantasy books, it is one of my favorite genres. Congratulations on completing the long road to publication.

  15. Reply


    January 2, 2014

    Thanks for the giveaway!! And happy new year:D

  16. Reply

    Kathy L.

    January 2, 2014

    Wow almost eight years to get published. That’s amazing! So glad she didn’t give up! I can’t wait to read Defy!

  17. Reply

    tawney bland

    January 2, 2014

    What an awesome inspiring story! Eight years? You go girl. This is my kind of book. The concept sounds fabulous and the cover is just gorgeous!

  18. Reply

    R Pratt

    January 3, 2014

    Thanks Sara!
    Good luck to everyone.

  19. Reply

    Ale A.

    January 3, 2014

    Can’t wait to read Defy, I been reading good comments about it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. Reply

    Holly Letson

    January 3, 2014

    Nice cover. And, I have heard this one is very good.

  21. Reply


    January 3, 2014

    Holy crap, I would have given up! Good for you for sticking to it!

  22. Reply

    Danica Cannon (@danitronmc)

    January 4, 2014

    Okay, so I’ve seen this book blowing up ALL OVER. Pretty much everyone is talking about it/anticipating reading it, and I find I lump myself right in with them–I REALLY want to read this! And hearing your story? That gives me SO much hope. I want to publish and just from reading your experience, it shows that you just can’t give up if it’s something you love and something you want. Your determination is potent and seriously inspiring. Congrats!:)

  23. Reply

    Rachel O'Laughlin

    January 5, 2014

    Ahhhhh! So excited for this book, and thanks for sharing your story, Sara.

  24. Reply


    January 5, 2014

    This sounds like something that I would read an recommend to patrons of the library where I work.

  25. Reply


    January 8, 2014

    Can’t wait to read this!

  26. Reply

    katie smith

    January 9, 2014

    this looks like an interesting read!

  27. Reply

    Kelly L.

    January 10, 2014

    This one sounds like something I might enjoy! :D

  28. Reply

    Amanda @ booktalkswithamanda

    January 11, 2014

    This looks so good, been on my TBR since I found out about it a few months ago. Obviously it wasn’t out yet, but still exciting!

  29. Reply


    January 11, 2014

    Thank you so much for this giveaway! I’ve been looking most froward to reading defy! It sounds so good and reminds me a lot of Mulan. :D

  30. Reply

    Kamla L.

    January 11, 2014

    Congrats on the new release and thanks for sharing! Defy sounds like a marvelous beginning to a fascinating new series. Can’t wait to read it!

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