Interview with Heather Frost
Heather Frost's new novella for the Fate of Erynthia series has released! If you know me, you know I'm a HUGE fan of this world. So it comes as no surprise that when ARC copies came available for Shield & Blade I was clamoring in line, jumping up and down yelling, "Pick me, pick me!" and I became a lucky advanced reader! I LOVED this novella as much as the rest of the series and if you haven't picked it up yet, I strongly suggest you get on this train now! The first book is Royal Spy, start there and you won't be able to stop.
I got the chance to interview Heather for her upcoming release and have to say I am pretty proud of myself for staying on subject and not veering to questions about Bennick like I usually do. Yay me! If you want to hop over to Goodreads or Amazon you can also read my review.
I hope you enjoy the interview below and it answers a few questions about Heather and this newest installment, Shield & Blade.
Hello Heather, thank you for taking the time to do a quick Q & A with me today.
Thanks for having me, I’m really excited to answer your questions!
I just first want to say that I rave about your books all the time and people probably assume it’s because we are friends. I want to make it clear that we are friends BECAUSE of the Fates of Erynthia. I loved the first book, Royal Decoy so much, I couldn’t help but reach out to Heather and yes, I fan-girled! When I say I haven’t been excited about a series like this since the Potter series, I am being truthful, they really are that good. I would hands down wait in line at midnight to buy the next book. I highly recommend these books!
Ok Heather, let’s focus on you. Do you have any habits that you have to do when you write? Like listening to music, or lighting a scented candle? What gets you into the right frame of mind before you start your writing sessions?
When I’m sitting down to write, I try to limit distractions. That means I don’t have a browser open on the computer and I put my phone out of sight. I struggle to write in silence, so I usually have some quiet music playing. I tend to gravitate toward soundtracks or instrumental covers, since lyrics are distracting.
Getting into the frame of mind to write can be different for different projects; sometimes I re-read a few paragraphs of the last thing I wrote, and sometimes I listen to songs that get me into the frame of mind of the characters.
How long do you typically write each day?
It depends on what projects I’m working on, but typically I try to write anywhere from 3-6 hours a day. Of course, sometimes it’s 15 minutes, and other days I write for 10 hours, haha!
You write this epic adventure that is filled with danger that literally gets our hearts pumping, with little mysteries sprinkled about and in my opinion some pretty legendary love stories. I read your Seers trilogy, which I loved, but this series feels like it’s where you belong. Do you feel differently while writing about Erynthia? Do get more excited to write? Do the characters speak to you more? The writing feels different, so it makes me curious.
You’re so kind! I think there are a few reasons that the writing might feel a little different. First, I wrote Seers years ago, so my style has changed—and while Seers will always have a special place in my heart (and it’s my mom’s favorite thing I’ve ever written) I like to think I’ve gotten better. Second, I think fantasy is just more of my scene. I love paranormal, but fantasy just really calls to me. Third, while I wouldn’t necessarily say the characters speak to me more strongly in Eyrinthia, I definitely love how real they are! I think it may have something to do with the fact that Seers was written so quickly; it was one of those lightning-strike ideas where it fell into my head and I wrote it in two weeks. Eyrinthia, on the other hand, has been in my head since 2014. It’s been through more re-writes than anything else I’ve ever done, and I think all of this leads to a finished project that feels deeper. I never have to wonder how characters will react—I know them so well, I know exactly what they’re thinking as soon as I drop them in a scene.
There are some dark pieces in the puzzle that is Erynthia. You’ve created a world with so many characters! I’ve read books where an author puts too many characters and I just can’t keep track of some of them. You however develop your characters so well it’s easy to know who they all are and you make them so real it’s easy to either fall in love with them or detest them completely. Is this character development something you learned in college and is it is your favorite part of writing?
Thank you! I learned some character development tips in college, but I’ve been writing since I was 12, and for me, the characters are always the most important aspect of a story to develop. You can have the coolest plot in the world, but if you don’t have characters that readers care about, it will make it harder for the reader to really invest in the book. So I make an effort to really flesh out my characters and make them as real as possible. They’re not perfect. They make mistakes—some more than others. But that’s what makes them interesting and distinct. I’m glad to hear that readers are able to keep track of them, though—because there are definitely a lot of them!
Ok, let’s talk about Shield & Blade. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read Royal Captive yet, but this story follows Venn and Vera on a separate adventure. Did you know you were going to write this before the end of Captive or did you decide after that you needed to take their part in Captive a little further?
I knew I needed to write their story before I finished editing Royal Captive. I knew there was no way I could integrate Venn and Vera’s storyline into Royal Captive, since it’s already a long book, and a novella seemed like the easiest answer. Especially because it would give us the opportunity to see some of the things that have been happening in Devendra since we left the kingdom in Royal Spy. There are many pieces moving in Eyrinthia, and it was a fun way to set the stage for what’s coming next.
I am a huge fan of love, so the hardest part for me while reading this novella were the feelings Vera was experiencing. She’d been through so much trauma, a lot she blamed herself for and instead of finding comfort in the arms of the man she loves, she punishes herself and in doing so Venn suffers. I know you’re a fan of love, is it hard for you to write such heartbreaking storylines or do you revel in knowing you’re destroying a readers heart?
Haha, I love how you worded that. In all honesty, it does hurt. I don’t like making my characters suffer. But it is an important aspect of Vera’s journey—and Venn’s. And while I wouldn’t say I revel in it (because I do feel the pain I put my characters through) I do find some satisfaction in knowing that these characters are loved enough that readers feel the heartbreak, too.
In this story you introduce three children whose fate hung in the air through most of the story. The fate I guessed was wrong, did you know where they would end up when you started writing or did you discover it toward the end?
I did know from the beginning where the kids would end up. It was the only possibility for this story, and so I simply wrote toward that.
One of my favorite things was watching (yes, watching) Venn with Finn. A man who is strong and protective but also gentle and willing to guide is the sexiest thing ever. There is such tenderness and patience shown in Venn’s actions toward Finn, Sarah, Rebecca and Vera. Did you draw his character from anyone in your life?
I LOVE seeing Venn with the kids! Those scenes were some of my favorite, to be honest. I actually really like how Venn is more experienced and comfortable with children than Vera is, though of course Vera steps up and her innate nurturing side comes out. As for real-life inspiration, I think some of it actually comes from watching my brothers with their children and their nieces and nephews. There’s something so heartwarming about a guy who will pause whatever they’re doing and put kids first. Also, I just love books/movies that feature guys who take care of kids or hold babies—that it just so attractive, and a fun trope to play with!
What’s next for Erynthia? I know you’ve said there will be 6 books total with more novellas. Do you know how many novellas there will be? This reader and I am sure others want to know.
Yes, there will be 6 main novels. I have plans for a total of 5 novellas—though I haven’t completely closed the door on the possibility of writing more. Some of the novellas will be set in the past (like Fire & Ash) and others will be in the present storyline (like Shield & Blade). I write the main series in such a way that one doesn’t have to read the novellas to get the story, but they will definitely get more out of the world and characters if they do.
Before we say goodbye, is there anything else you would like to mention or talk about?
I’m just excited for people to read Shield & Blade! I had so much fun writing it, and I hope it helps tide readers over until Royal Rebel comes out.
Heather, thank you again for your time. It was truly an honor.
Thank you so much for having me! I love chatting with you, and chatting books.