Interview with Kate Avery Ellison, author of The Frost Chronicles

December 18, 2013 Giveaways, Interviews 0

Interview with Kate Avery Ellison, author of The Frost Chroniclesfrost by Kate Avery Ellison
Series: The Frost Chronicles #1
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, compassion might get a person killed, and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After the monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides, she can't afford to let her emotions lead her astray. But when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest, a young man from beyond the Frost named Gabe, Lia does the unthinkable. She saves his life. Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the "Farthers," as ruthless and cruel. Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent-and handsome. And she might even be falling for him. But time is running out. The monsters in the forest are growing bold and restless. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Is compassion-and love-worth the risk? Finally, when a startling discovery challenges everything she thought was true about her life, Lia realizes exactly what she must do.

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Interview with Kate Avery Ellison

Can you talk a little about what the book is about?

The Frost Chronicles follows Lia Weaver, a newly-orphaned girl trying to protect her brother and sister in a harsh world. Her parents were recently killed by the monsters that roam the wilderness beyond her farm, and if she can’t keep up her quota of yarn and follow her village’s rules, she might lose the farm. So she’s really a very driven individual, completely focused on survival. But then her sister finds a fugitive from the land beyond the Frost, a “Farther,” and he’s bleeding to death. Lia saves his life against her better judgement, and that action changes everything. The entire series consists of 5 books, and it has spies, intrigue, lots of twists, romance, and some steampunk and sci fi elements.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

So Frost was originally supposed to be a short story set in a completely different world–another series I’m writing. I had the idea of a farm girl helping a fugitive, a stranger, in the middle of a snowstorm. But the story had a mind of its own and turned into an entire novel–then five novels.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

A few things, really. Love is risky, because people can die or be taken away, but without it life is bleak. Love transforms you–sometimes it makes you stronger and braver than you ever thought possible. Also, insular societies tend to become suspicious of outsiders, even hostile to them, viewing them as “other,” “different,” and sometimes dangerous, but everyone needs compassion and help, and when you reach out to help, you might find yourself transformed in the process.

How long did it take to write the book?

I wrote Frost very quickly, in about 3 months. I’m a fast writer. I finished the entire series in about a year and a half.

Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?

Well, this is a character who does not appear until book 2, but my favorite character in the series is a guy named Korr. He’s fun to write and he’s my favorite.

Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?

With Frost, I write quickly and the story just came together easily. The sequels were harder–they got increasingly complicated with added characters, secrets to keep track of, twists to remember and tease without giving them away, etc. I outlined a lot, but gave myself freedom to make changes that seemed right, and some of those unplanned scenes really paid off.

A few plot elements took me in unexpected directions. Several characters were interested in each other and I wasn’t expecting it. Characters sometimes have a mind of their own that way. So some love stories took me by surprise. There were a few twists that I hadn’t planned on originally but as the story took shape, they made sense. That kind of thing.

If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?

I really like the books as they are. I guess maybe I would make Frost longer–I got a lot of complaints that it was too short, and so I made sure the other books were longer. I was working on a second edition that added some scenes and a subplot, and I may release it sometime in the future. That’s all I can think of, though.

How did you come up with the cover?

I design my covers myself, because I love doing it. I wanted something both beautiful but slightly ominous. I had the image I wanted but it wasn’t quite conveying creepy, because the model’s eyes were smiling. So I cropped it so her eyes were hidden and I gave the image a blueish filter and that really helped make it embody the tone of the novel, I think.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was about six, and my mother informed me that there were people who got paid to write books. I was already a voracious reader of chapter books by about first grade, and I decided immediately upon hearing that “author” was a job that I would have it. It was kind of a pipe dream for the next 15-ish years, and then I got serious about really pursuing it.

What are you favorite books and authors?

Let’s see. I really love John Green, Maureen Johnson, Megan Whalen Turner, Robin McKinley, Daphne Du Marier, Sharon Shinn, etc. A list of my favorite books would be impossibly long, but I love stuff like The Queen’s Thief series (favorite: The King of Attolia) and Harry Potter.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the first book in my new series, called Sea Captive. I don’t have a summary composed yet, but if I had to sum it up in a couple words to pique your interest: underwater steampunk civilization, kidnappings, political intrigue, romance, war.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Write as much as you can, read as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to suck at first–everyone does at some point, and you get better with practice. Let yourself write a bad first draft, because you can fix it in revision. Just get it written. Also, if you’re self-publishing, learn about the business, get an editor and a proofreader, and having some alpha and beta readers is a good idea, too.

How do you juggle writing with family time?

I’m pretty fortunate right now. I write full time, and I work mainly while my husband is away at his job or when he’s engaged in some individual hobby. We don’t have any children right now, although I often take care of several adorable children who are either nieces/nephews or honorary nephews, and I spend a lot of time with them when their parents are working, so sometimes I will write during nap time or type frantically while trying to distract a child with inane questions. “What does the doggie say?” is a classic. I also have two cats whom I consider family, and they contribute by keeping my feet warm while I work. 🙂

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a free ebook copy of Frost. Contest ends 12/31/2013.

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About Kate Avery Ellison

I’ve been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I’m thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I’m not writing, I’m creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.

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