Cursed. Betrayed. Imprisoned..
Frost isn't your every day girl and just so happens to be possessed by a wolf demon that brings death everywhere she goes.
But on fleeing her home, Frost is captured by a band of warriors sworn to protect their country from rebel fighters and trapped until she can proved she is not an enemy, she grows close to the warriors' charismatic leader, Luca, and his second in command, the tortured Arian.
Torn between these two very different men, Frost fears she may not be able to protect either of them.. from herself.
Hi Zoe! So your books often seem to draw on fairytales, but with some sort of twist that makes the completely new - What is it that made you interested in using this kind of theme in your writing?
I've always been fascinated by the empty spaces you find in fairytales. When I was really, really young my sister bought me this cancelled library book - a slightly raggedy picture book with the most gorgeous illustrations. It was Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Wild Swans'. I used to stare and stare at the pictures, because they seemed to be telling me all kinds of stories that the simple words of the tale didn't touch. What was that wilful look in the princess's eye? The frozen regret that marked the queen's face? I was fascinated because it made me realise that you never get to see the why of things. You'll be told the wicked stepmother did that, the prince did this, the king decreed that - but never what was going on in anyone's head, how they felt, what motivated them to do these terrible or wonderful things.
Those empty spaces in fairytales make it so tempting to weave your own story in and around the bare bones of the original, because all you have to do is ask 'why' and the whole thing can turn on its head. What if the wicked queen thought she was actually acting in her country's best interest? What if the princess was insane? And the thing about fairytales, too, is that girls and women are nearly always front and centre. They have power. They are enchantresses and rulers and heroes and villains. But they're very flat and stereotypical. So when you retell a fairytale you're getting a chance to reassess these classic female characters, to see them from an entirely different point of view, which is very rewarding.
We read that when you were writing FrostFire, the characters of Frost, Luca and Arian were something that came to you as one idea - why are they so interconnected and what’s the dynamic that shapes them?
Luca, Arian, and Frost are such different people, but they're drawn together - they understand each other - because they all have something very important in common. They are all survivors. And each of them is still trapped in the pain of the past in some sense, and unable to get free (although Luca pretends that he has!). Frost's past made her afraid. Luca's made him feel guilt. Arian's made him full of self-loathing. And you can see the way that each of them reacted to that. Frost tried to run away from everyone, never let anyone get close. Luca tried to take responsibility for the whole world, fix everything, take care of everyone. And Arian lashed out at others as a way of punishing himself. They were each defined by what they had lost.
And then the three meet, and that begins to change as they transform each other. You start out by seeing Luca as Frost does, as this perfect, bright star that is out of reach. But by then, in the process of fighting for herself and for Luca, Frost becomes the strong one, the bright one, the star that Arian and Luca worship. And by the end, Arian finally comes to terms with himself and what the other two mean to him, and he's the hero, the shining one that the others look up to. Each of them has the chance to be the pinnacle of that triangle - the chance to redefine themselves as a new person, and leave the past behind.
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