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Karah Sutton Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Wolf for a Spell (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Karah Sutton
Karah Sutton was born and raised in Kentucky. She is a former bookseller at Joseph-Beth Booksellers and a current bird watcher, writer, and Baba Yaga enthusiast.

She has loved Baba Yaga, blini, and ballet ever since she had to do a research project on her Russian heritage during the third grade. It was her hunger for adventure that inspired her to move from Kentucky to New Zealand, where it was rumored she’d find talking trees and an occasional wood elf.

Karah’s debut middle grade fantasy adventure “A Wolf for a Spell” is inspired by her own Russian heritage and all the fairy tales that have enchanted her since childhood.

Her mom shared a book of Russian fairy tales with her and she’s loved them ever since. It’s stayed pretty consistent from her childhood in Kentucky to her adulthood in New Zealand, so she finds feelings of nostalgia, peace, and consistency from reading them. Almost like she is catching up with old friends.

The idea that started the whole book off for her was “What if the wolf’s actually the hero of the fairy tale?” She went through so many approaches to this: what if a wolf learns that her brother ate Little Red Riding Hood? What if a wolf’s similar to the little mermaid and has dreams of becoming a human? Nothing really clicked until she made the connection between the wolf-as-hero concept and the Gray Wolf from a Russian fairy tale called “Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf”.

Once she realized that she could link these two things, her excitement for this story snowballed. Because from there, it became obvious to include Baba Yaga, who is such a fantastic character and an icon. And she became the glue that ended up binding the story together, because here is a witch that is totally ambiguous, sometimes helping out the hero in fairy tales yet usually threatening to eat them. So you throw one morally gray witch with a wolf that’s navigating whether she is a villain or a hero, and from there the tale starts coming together.

Her favorites have always been “Maria Morevna, the Feather of Finist the Falcon” and “The Firebird and the Gray Wolf” story. She loves the way that Russian fairy tales incorporate animals and how you end up meeting many of the same characters and creatures over the course of various stories.

Karah wishes that these stories were much more widely known, and it’s one of the things that she hopes to inspire through her books, even if they may not be direct retellings of any one tale.

Besides those, she has always had an affinity for Cinderella, most likely due to reading and adoring “Ella Enchanted” at the age of nine. It is a book that Karah holds up as her favorite fairy tale retelling, and she can really see its fingerprints all over “A Wolf for a Spell”, from select laugh-out-loud scenes to the focus on strong heroines.

Karah’s always loved the way that fairy tales can feel like “anything goes”, where a wolf can turn into a witch or a cottage or can run around on chicken legs and characters won’t even bat an eye. It was a challenge for her to figure out just how personified versus “wolfish” she wanted her wolves to actually be.

In some earlier drafts, they were a lot more like the typical fairy tale wolves, where they had human characteristics and Zima did things like use a leaf as her napkin while eating. However when she decided that this was a story set in a fairy tale world, her wolves became that much more wolf-like.

“A Wolf for a Spell” was a Junior Library Guild selection, an Indie Next List Top 10 selection, a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Best Middle Grade & Children’s for 2021, an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce selection, and a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year.

She works in marketing for the video game industry, and has had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most well loved and respected entertainment companies like Fox, Disney, Cartoon Network, and DreamWorks. She is the Chief Publishing Officer for New Zealand based video game developer/publisher PikPok, whose games have been downloaded almost half a billion times in over a hundred countries worldwide.

“A Wolf for a Spell” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. In this fantastical story about a wolf that forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from an evil tsar.

Zima, since she was a pup, has been taught to fear the humans (particularly witches) but when her family’s threatened, she’s got no choice but to try and get help from the witch Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga never does any magic without a price, however it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s sharp nose for a secret plan that she is brewing up. Before Zima even knows what is going on, the witch has cast this switching spell and run off into the woods, as Zima is left behind both in Baba Yaga’s hut and Baba Yaga’s body.

At the same time, a young village girl called Nadya is also trying to get the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (who’s still in Baba Yaga’s form), and they find that they face a common enemy. Zima, with danger closing in, has to unite the witches, the wolves, and the villagers against one evil that threatens all of them.

Karah has crafted a rollicking and vivid adventure which proves that a wolf does not have to just be big or bad to win the day. Those that haven’t ever ventured into the dark and deep magic of Baba Yaga’s hut are going to find themselves entranced by Karah’s engaging style and her imagination. This is an elegant fairy tale retelling which feels classic yet still fresh, and beautifully explores the power of generosity, the magic of finding your own pack, and the many ways of being brave.

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