Today we're excited to chat with Jill Criswell, author of
Kingdom Of Ice and Bone.
Read on for more about Jill and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Jill Criswell!
JILL CRISWELL is a writer of young adult historical fantasy. Born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida, she earned degrees in English and psychology and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland). Beasts of the Frozen Sun is her debut novel. For more information, visit JillCriswell.com.
Meet Kingdom Of Ice and Bone!
In her veins, the blood of gods. In her heart, a thirst for vengeance.
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other.
Lira of Stone watched her home burn and her clan fall beneath the sword of the warlord known as the Dragon. She believes the man she loves, a warrior who defected from the Dragon’s army, is dead. Alongside her exiled brother and his band of refugees, she will fight the forces that conquered her island. But the greatest danger may come from Lira herself—with the blood of banished gods running through her veins, she’s become a weapon, and no one is safe from the power of her wrath.
Reyker Lagorsson thought he was done being a Dragonman. That was before he saw Lira leap from a cliff and vanish into the sea. Determined to honor her memory by protecting her people, Reyker must feign loyalty to the warlord, undermine him at every turn, and seek alliances with renegade soldiers—without succumbing to the battle-madness that threatens to possess him once more.
When the Fallen Ones offer Lira a chance to defeat the Dragon, her quest leads her to a place she never expected—Iseneld, the warlord’s homeland. Her journey into the heart of the Frozen Sun will put her on a collision course with Reyker, costing both of them more than they ever imagined, and leaving her with a terrible choice: to save their countries, she must forsake everything she loves.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Kingdom of Ice & Bone is a sequel (to Beasts of the Frozen Sun)
and continues the story of Lira and Reyker. Most of the second book takes place in Iseneld, a fantasy realm inspired by Iceland and its Viking culture. I’ve traveled to many places across the world, but Iceland is my favorite, and Kingdom includes settings based on real iconic places I traveled to in Iceland, such as Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Dettifoss, Reynisfjara, Skaftafellsjökull, Eldhraun, Jökulsárlón, Kjölur, Námafjall, and Haukadalur (check them out on Google images—they’re beautiful!).
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
After I finished writing Beasts of the Frozen Sun (the first book in the trilogy) I came up with tentative titles and outlines for the second and third books. The original title of the second book was Kingdom of Ghosts, but that wound up being too similar to the title of another YA Fantasy that was recently released, and it really only fit with Part One of the book.
The heart of the second book is Lira and Reyker’s journeys in Iseneld (based on Iceland), and when I was brainstorming alternative titles, Kingdom of Ice & Bone stuck with me. It’s a fitting, foreboding title that hints at some of the mysteries awaiting the characters on the island of Iseneld.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are several related scenes that I’m really proud of: Lira’s journey across Iseneld. She travels for days, climbing a wall of stone, passing waterfalls, hiking across a glacier and into a volcano, among other things. I’ve traveled to many of the places these landmarks were based on, but I still did a lot of research, looking at images of the places, reading information about them and blogs by people who hiked across Iceland, trying to make Lira’s journey interesting, but also authentic to the landscapes of Iceland.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Everything, honestly—the cover is gorgeous (thanks again to my brilliant cover designer, Kurt Jones)! But two things stick out most. First, the ominous volcano that plays an important role in the story; it’s based on Katla, an active volcano sitting in the middle of a glacier in Iceland that’s so awe-inspiring I named my daughter after it. Second, the way the image of Lira has changed between the first and second covers: the set of her shoulders, her wilder hair, that she’s wearing trousers instead of a dress and carrying an axe instead of a sword. She’s tougher, more confident, angrier—ready for vengeance.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’ve finished a draft of the final book in the Frozen Sun Saga, tentatively called Souls of Fire & Steel, so I’ll be working on edits of that later this year—look for it in the fall of 2021!
As for other projects, I’ve finished a YA Fantasy inspired by ancient India that I describe as Uglies meets Rebel of the Sands, and I’m currently working on another YA Fantasy about three unlikely champions battling to the death to become the next ruler of their continent, along the lines of Three Dark Crowns.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Tiptoeing around spoilers, I’ll reveal that several important characters from the first book meet their end in Kingdom. One of those death scenes in particular is probably the most emotional scene in the whole book (and might earn me some hate mail)—but it’s beautiful and tragic, and I think it came out just right. To all my characters who don’t make it to the third book, R.I.P.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Draki, the story’s main villain, was not taking it easy on me this time around. I really wanted to flesh out his character in the sequel, to reveal bits of his backstory, his personality, and his motives, while still leaving an air of mystery around him. But I had a hell of a time showing enough without showing too much. It took several rounds of drafting and editing to get it there, but in the end, I’m happy with this scary, seductive monster who calls himself the Dragon.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Lately, I’d say my superpower is keeping my sanity. It’s been a rough year for everyone across the globe, and in light of that, it’s sometimes hard to make myself write. It feels trivial, even pointless, to spend so much time creating fantasy worlds when there’s real suffering all around us. But I try to channel that angst into my writing, and into my characters, and when I occasionally get a message from a reader saying my book helped bring them escapism in these dark times, I realize spending time in a fantasy world is exactly what a lot of people need right now.
Kingdom Of Ice and Bone
By: Jill Criswell
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
Three winners will each receive a copy of Kingdom Of Ice and Bone (Jill Criswell) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*