I’m thrilled to join in the blog hop for the launch of some exciting new books–the THAW series, which are wintry fairytale retellings!
Make sure to check out the other posts in the tour!
Today I’m privileged to interview Miss Elizabeth Kaiser about her new series, and there’s a giveaway at the end of the post (make sure to enter!) but first, the books themselves…
The first two books released this last week, and book 3 is releasing on Amazon Kindle
today soon! (EDIT: Prince of Demargen is actually now releasing January 20 — which is also when the giveaway runs to!)
THAW: books 1 – 3
1: Winter’s Child
A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way.
Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don’t know what to do with it.
2: Winter Queen
A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world… and it’s only when she takes the final step that the realizes the wall she’s built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever… unless she discovers how to destroy it.
The only one who can break a neurosis… is the one who has it.
3: Prince of Demargen
The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?
Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?
The only person who can help him… is the one he most deeply wronged.
Interview with E. Kaiser Writes
1. Is there a story behind how the titles came about?
Well, I’d wanted to write a piece titled Winter Queen for some time now, it just seemed like such a great title and there was a lot of heavy drama in it, to my mind. (Also I had a lovely picture for the cover, of a white dress taken by my sis that evoked a story-tale feel.) But I had another person’s story in my head (basically a maiden ends up married to Winter itself, and she becomes the Winter Queen and lives forever while everyone else dies, but that’s okay because she’s protected from the cold by her husband.) I didn’t want to go that route, but nothing was materializing. Then when Frozen came out, and I liked some of what they did, but felt there was so much missing… especially the Christian themes in Anderson’s original. While researching that the idea came to combine the Snow Maiden tale with the Snow Queen, borrow a bit from Disney’s version, (it is a universal truth that as soon as they do a version of a tale it immediately becomes the stock version for American audiences!) add in some historical aspects, toss it into a not-quite-Europe world and add a generous helping of “what it then?”
After that it just grew, and became three books. Winter’s Child just made sense as the prequel’s title, and once the full scope of the project became evident, Prince of Demargen was a natural follow up.
The other two in these “first five” will be Reindeer King, and Princess of Noran. So there’s sort of a theme through there, going Child, Queen, Prince, King, Princess… and they each have their slightly different arc focusing on another character of the original four that get introduced in Winter’s Child. That really is the origins book that sets up the rest of the series… I think a person could read any of the others as stand-alones just fine, but they’d be missing some of the subtle hints that start out in Winter’s Child.
2. If you had to describe subgeneres/categories for the books, besides fairy tale retellings, which would you pick? (action/adventure/romance/humor/historical fiction/fantasy etc.)
Definitely historical fiction and fantasy. This has a majorly hist-fic feel, readers often comment on the “realness” of the settings and the culture, and I love being able to give homage, so to speak, to real history, without actually hijacking it and making it suit my needs. This is a fantasy tale, with prayers answered in supernatural ways; it is a fairytale in the most wonderous sense of the word and anything can happen here. But there is a firm foundation from history underneath it all, and that just enhances the marvelousness, to my mind.
3. How long did it take you to write these first three THAW books?
They had percolated in my mind a long time, as I resisted writing them down. I had “better things to work on” and I was trying to “finish the WIPs” that pack my docs folders… but then, just to get the plot out of my head and encourage it to fly away, I told my sister about it. She got so excited that she insisted a write it down, even if just to make it a story or novella length. “Just write the really good parts.”
As soon as I started writing is all came pouring out in a huge tangled mass and there were no “not good parts” I could throw away. It quickly escalated to a novel, then two, and I was really hoping to keep it there. But no… Winter’s Child splintered off as a origins prequel, and then Reindeer King and Princess of Noran insisted on happening, and we were up to a five book set up.
Then… our boy Hess, (did you know that Hess is named after a place in Germany? Also, we once had neighbors with the last name of Hess, and as soon as I cast about of a name for our beloved Prince of Demargen, Hess just stuck to him like glue. As a nod to the historical origins, his mother Queen Agatha, says it’s from her side of the family… and she is a inner kingdom princess, from the area on the map, if correlated to the Europe’s map; would be approximately Hesse. With a silent “e”.) Anyway, our boy Hess is one of 13 princes, (which we borrowed from the Disney version, it was too cute to toss, and the sequels it leads to…!!!!) So… his 12 older brothers all get spin-offs, retelling other fairytales. Princess and the Pea? Yep. Snow White? Yep. Cinderella? You got the picture!!!
But first, we’ll travel back in time to when our boy Hess was only a little tyke, too young to be out of the nursery, and the year that his 12 older brothers got into trouble of a nasty sort in Twelve Dark Knights, (a 12 Dancing Princesses twist.) (I absolutely love this one! It’s going to be so much fun!)
Anyway, to answer your question, Winter’s Child, Winter Queen, & Prince of Demargen came out in one year; I started letting them onto the page last January. Those 3 are finished, and I have 56k on Reindeer King, under 10k on Princess of Noran (a super fun book!) and 17k on Twelve Dark Knights. (Another super fun one!)
So yeah. We’ll have to see how this year goes, but I hope to have 3-to-5 of the others readied, possibly out, by 2016. I have to move fast, because they’re putting so much pressure on my poor brain! I’ve got to get them removed…
4. Do you have a favorite character in these books? Tell us a bit about them! (A character for each of the three books is allowed, if you have to. ;))
Oooooh!!!! Okay, hard one.
My favorite character is probably Princess Ilise, later Queen Ilise. She is the most like me, and I based a lot of her flaws on my own. The tendency to withdraw from conflict, and then suddenly blow up icily when she reaches a tipping point… her arguments were so easy to write because they came filtering through my own teen explosions. Her triumph is what I’d love to be like some day, and her ultimate happy ending is possibly the sweetest one ever.
A close second would be Hess… even though he goes through a bout with the Devil’s Mirror consuming his heart, he makes such a pitch perfect performance in Prince of Demargen.
5. What authors/books do you think have influenced your writing the most?
Oh, yes! Definitely J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander and the KJV. I love the rhythm of the words, and they paint such brilliant pictures.
6. Just for fun: do you have a favorite color? (Hey, I’m one for classic questions. ;))
I’ve long held my favorite color to be blue, but as an artist they are all indefensible. (Except many fluorescent pink/green/ orange… 😉 )
7. Thanks so much for joining us! Any closing thoughts?
I’m so excited to be putting these first three of the series out pretty much simultaneously, and I can’t wait to hear what more readers think of them! There will end up being a lot in this series, (I’d love to hit as many tales as I can,) so I’m very thrilled about beginning this path with so many enthusiastic people, and I hope we just continue to be joined by more and more fans as we go along it!
Thanks so much for hosting me, and I’m very glad of the chance to be here!!!
Be sure to click through to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of the books! There will be six winners! 🙂