Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....
Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax--which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.
In our last interview, when talking about character fan art, you said, "I enjoy seeing interpretations of the same character, and how each drawing style gives the character different nuances." Do you keep finding new nuances within your characters, and in what ways do they continue to surprise you?
Definitely! I discover characters while writing, so I learn about them as they face new situations. It’s always startling to realize that a character has secrets, even from me. Sometimes a character surprises me by reacting differently to a situation than I expected. For instance, at certain points in Fireblood, Kai shows a softer side that I didn’t know he had. And sometimes Marella’s intentions have eluded me. I don’t always have a handle on what she’s going to do, and I find out in the scenes as I write them.
Probably why she's one of my favorite characters. In FIREBLOOD, Ruby gets more acquainted with her homeland. What about the story's setting connects with her character and the new things she's discovering about herself?
Great question! When Ruby arrives in the islands of Sudesia, she notices the vivid green of the hills, the crystal blue water, and the bright flowers. Everything seems more colorful and more vibrantly alive, which I suppose is a fitting backdrop for some of the lessons Ruby learns there. Firebloods are much more accepting of showing emotion, and less afraid of a little flamboyance, from their clothing to their fighting styles. There are certainly parallels between the setting, which includes an active volcano and secret underground tunnels, and the emotional moments and secrets Ruby faces while she’s there.
Fascinating--and I love the symbolism of fire versus ice. The paperback edition for FROSTBLOOD just came out, and the series also made the NYT Bestseller List. Congrats on being an NYT Bestselling author! Where were you when you heard the news?
Thank you so much! I’ll never forget that moment. I was in the middle of cooking pasta when the phone rang. My editor, Deirdre, said she had some good news and suggested I might want to sit down. I asked my son to keep an eye on the pot of boiling water and I took a seat. Deirdre told me that Frostblood had hit the NYT bestseller list!!! I immediately started to cry. Then I heard a few voices in the background, and I realized I was on speaker phone! Several people in the LBYR office were in on the phone call, and here I was, having a good cry. But they were all happy and supportive. I’m so grateful to all the people—especially readers—who took a chance on Frostblood and made my dream come true!
And we're glad you've written such a compelling series! If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be and why?
I’d say: You can do this. Don’t feel bad for making mistakes. Failure is only temporary if you keep going.
When I was younger, I dreamed of writing, but I didn’t have the courage to try. I was convinced I wouldn’t be good enough. I didn’t want to risk failure. I thought being a writer was a special gift bestowed at birth, and only people who compulsively wrote poetry or journals would turn out to be real writers. I didn’t think that I’d be talented enough or strong enough. It took the fear of possibly never finding out to jolt me into action. I figured I should at least try. I’m so so so glad I did!
Publishing can be tough, but the writing community is a rewarding one and there’s always so much more to learn, which I find fascinating and energizing! You start writing and before you know it, you can’t stop. And then you find the most wonderful people to take the journey with you. If there’s a secret writer-dreamer reading this—especially someone with a lack of confidence, or high sensitivity, or low self-esteem—I’m speaking especially to you. You are capable of so much more than you know. Find supportive people and be gentle and kind to yourself. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to try! Give yourself permission to try and fail and try again. That’s the only way we learn. I, for one, am proud of you!
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