LAWRENCE—Growing up, Sarah Henning would draw pictures and attach them together to make a story. When she learned to read, she replaced the pictures with words. Now, this Kansas native is writing stories for others to read.


"The Princess Will Save You," published by Tor Teen, Henning’s newest young adult novel, became available on July 7. This is Henning’s fourth YA novel - her third fantasy.


Although Henning lives in Lawrence, her heroine resides in a make-believe-land filled with sword fights, royalty and high adventure.


"It’s a backwards damsel in distress," Henning said about her newest title. "My princess is navigating the power roles that a damsel would face."


Henning grew up in Overland Park and attended the University of Kansas. After five years of working as a sports journalist on the east coast, she came back to her love - Kansas.


Along with "Sea Witch" and "Sea Witch Rising," Henning recently released a contemporary YA romantic tale of a young Kansas underdog softball player in "Throw Like a Girl."


In all her books, Henning strives to tell a good story, but usually a theme develops. In Princess, negotiating power structures becomes a motif.


"I like (readers) being able to take this character’s actions and be able to apply it to your life," she said. What also shines through in "The Princess Will Save You" is "asking for what you want and respecting other people’s needs."


With just a little bit of kissing and quite a bit of adventure, this fantasy-romance is geared for ages 12 through 18, but Henning said many older adults enjoy her tales.


"I write them for teenagers, but I know adults read them," She said. And now, because of COVID-19, people want to escape. "It’s hard to get into something too heavy because the world is so heavy right now."


Henning will appear at a free virtual author talk at 6 p.m. July 8 at Watermark Books & Café. Books purchased from Watermark will come with a signed bookplate from the author. Henning spoke at Raven Bookstore in Lawrence on Tuesday.