Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Elly Blake, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Elly Blake loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of random occupations before becoming a library assistant and writer. FROSTBLOOD is her YA fantasy debut.
(FROSTBLOOD, Jan 10, 2017. FIREBLOOD, Sept 5, 2017. DARKBLOOD, June 2018)
The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.
In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat - until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.
But Ruby's powers are unpredictable... and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King's men, she's taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her - and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she's spent her whole life withholding.
Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies - but together create a power that could change everything.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Maybe it sounds a bit cliché to say “it came to me in a dream,” but I really did have a dream about my heroine, a girl with power over fire and a king with an icy heart. I’d also watched Avatar: the Last Airbender a few months before, so I’m sure that had something to do with it. When I started working on the concept, I knew I wanted to focus on two elements: frost and fire, and I spun the ideas from there.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Well, of course Ruby and Arcus are near and dear to my heart, and I’m very fond of Brother Thistle in all his wise but grumpy glory.
But as for secondary characters, I have a soft spot for Brother Gamut. His gentle nature is loosely inspired by my Oma, who passed away several years ago. Kindness through and through.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. Actually, the original title was different. The current title was suggested by the amazing team at Little Brown, and I loved it immediately.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The Ruby/Arcus scenes are the ones I love the most. Even when he’s pushing her away, I adore the longing she has for him: uncontrollable and passionate. I hope that intense feeling comes through to the reader.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Wow, yes, this has been a huge learning experience! I had written a few unfinished manuscripts before, but Frostblood was the first book I've ever finished, revised (then revised some more, and then more and more). Thanks to Frostblood, I've had to learn how to revise and edit, finding out through trial and error what works for me and what doesn’t work. I’m so lucky to have an excellent support system, both professionally and personally. I lean on people when I need to, and that’s pretty often. I think that might be the most valuable thing I’ve learned actually, that I should reach out for help and support when I need it. Trying to go it alone has never worked well for me.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I adore the font. Little Brown decided they wanted a cover with amazing type and arresting imagery. They hired a super-talented freelance artist, Sean Freeman, who does a lot of work with three dimensional type. For the cover of FROSTBLOOD, he sculpted the letters out of clay, placed them in a tray of water, and froze the whole thing to make an icy background. Then the clay letters were removed and the letter-shaped holes filled with dark liquid, which was frozen as well. The result is unique and eye-catching. I think he did a fabulous job. And then the designer, Sasha, put everything together with the drops of blood and the pops of red in the tagline and author name, which really makes the whole thing stand out.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
I’ve been lucky enough to read a few wonderful books releasing in 2017.
I’ve loved the fantasies WINTERSONG by S. Jae Jones and DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller, and I’m looking forward to CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION by Rosalyn Eves, and soooo many more.
I’ve also enjoyed a wonderful, heart-tugging YA historical, WAIT FOR ME by Caroline Leech, and a beautiful contemporary YA, A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe. I look forward to reading THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas and THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT by Chelsea Sedoti, among others.
Also looking forward to middle grade books like THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING by Jeff Giles and FORGET ME NOT by Ellie Terry.
Oh, and the new Laini Taylor. And gosh, so many more books that I’m dying to read!
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2016?
Thanks to my writing, I’m super behind on my reading, so I have a pile of books I’m dying to catch up on, including books by my some of my favorite authors: Marie Rutkowski, Leigh Bardugo, Morgan Rhodes, Victoria Aveyard, Jodi Meadows, Julie Kagawa and more.
I’m also eagerly looking forward to reading THE READER by Traci Chee, TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim, and ROOT BEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES by Shari Green.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Finishing FIREBLOOD, book 2 in the Frostblood Saga!
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Oh boy. All of them. ☺ I would say the villains gave me the hardest time, though. Some of the characters kept trying to be nice when I wanted them to be terrible. I had to evil them up in rewrites.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I enjoy drafting more. That is, I enjoy drafting once I get in the zone, which means the point at which my unconscious is doing the work for me and it doesn’t even feel like work. That requires shutting out the real world and making a mental switch that’s sometimes hard to achieve while dealing with the busy-ness of life.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I think empathy usually comes naturally to me, sometimes more than I’d like. It can be a strength and a weakness.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Romance Writers of America has been instrumental in my journey. I definitely would not have even tried to write a book if I hadn’t joined the Toronto chapter of RWA. I’ve learned so much through workshops, mentorship, and friendships from that organization.
Also, the contest Pitch Wars, organized by Brenda Drake, was vital to me. I signed with my agent because of that contest, and I’ve met some of my closest writing friends as a result of Pitch Wars.
Most (though not all) of my closest writing friendships came as a result of RWA or Pitch Wars.
By: Elly Blake
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
One winner will receive a SIGNED ARC of Frostblood & a Tote Bag (Elly Blake) ~ (US & Canada only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*