Welcome to YA Books Central’s “Indie Superstars” column. This monthly event will spotlight the best and brightest of the indie community.
You don’t want to miss out on these talented authors!
This week we’re interviewing Frances Ellen, Author of A Queen to Come.
Caitlin Haines: Can you tell us a little about A Queen to Come?
Frances Ellen: A Queen To Come follows five magically gifted 20-something-year-olds as they prepare their people, the Affinites, and their protected island, Saluverus, for their future Queen to come home. All five of them come from a different part of the world, but are bound together by their magic. Sophie is from London and can heal any injury with the touch of her hand. Lian is from Tokyo and doesn’t feel the pain of the injuries he bears. Nathan is from San Francisco and has control over the natural earth. Matu is from Nairobi and can throw the strength of a thousand men in a single punch. And Sky is from Sydney and can fly and transport to anywhere in the world. They are the Asters, and it is their job to make sure their Queen comes home safely. To do so, they must be smarter and stronger than a Dark King who wants the Queen, and her ancient re-incarnated magic, dead more than anything in the world. They have never faced him, and initially they under-estimate his brilliance. They are always one step behind, which is an incredibly dangerous place to be. Not just for the Queen, but also for their people—especially those who do not take up residence on the island. It’s the ones who live on earth’s continents who are in danger as well. And the Asters must find a way to protect them all.
Caitlin: Where did the inspiration come from?
Frances: I’ve always loved fantasy stories, and I loved learning about places and people from all over the world. The idea of creating my own story with main characters, each from a different continent, came very quickly. The addition of magic quickly followed. I didn’t want one main character that was of one specific ethnicity that only some people could relate to. I wanted multiple characters from everywhere. Even the side characters should have a unique place they come from and a different story to tell. I love the research that goes with writing the backstories of these people.
Caitlin: What is it about fantasy that draws you in so much?
Frances: I love the unpredictability of the adventures that fantasy stories take you on. You can’t expect anything because everything is possible. Each world in each book is new and exciting. Characters have capabilities that go beyond your own imagination and it is fun to discover the world they live in. Sometimes their world is entirely different, and sometimes their world is so similar to our own. Each one is new and exciting in their own way. And still, you find something relatable in every story. Because no matter what otherworldly things the characters face, they stumble upon the most mundane things as well. As superhuman as their magic can have them become… they are still human. And they are relatable.
Caitlin: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Frances: I love various aspects and characteristics from each of my five main characters. But if I would have to pick one, it would have to be Nathan. He is the quiet one. The under-estimated one.
I love how you see glimpses of his kindness, while on the battlefield see how fierce and deadly he can be when protecting the people he loves.
Caitlin: If you suddenly found out you had magic, what would you do with it?
Frances: I would do everything in my power to bring as many animal species as possible back from the brink of extinction. I would try and give all creatures, beautiful and scary and ugly alike, a place on earth, without fear for mankind taking over their home more than it already has.
Caitlin: What’s one thing you have to have while writing (music, quiet, snacks, coffee, etc.)?
Frances: I don’t drink coffee and I don’t need music or snacks, or even a pet lounging nearby, to write. What I used to need to write was complete silence. Background traffic was the most I could handle to be able to concentrate. Nowadays I can write almost anywhere. All I need is something to write ON. I’ve found myself pulling over and standing still in a parking lot for an hour to fill my phone with part of a chapter that just came to me. Though my perfect situation would be with my laptop at my dining room table back at home, surrounded by multiple notebooks and screens that hold all the scribbles of my sudden ideas
Caitlin: Can you give us a hint at what’s to come next? This is part of a prequel series, correct?
Frances: A Queen To Come is indeed part of a prequel series, the Aster Prequel Trilogy. The other two in this series are also published: A World To Lose (2) and A Threat To Remain (3). I can reveal that the very first book, following this novella trilogy, which will be part of a six-book series, will be coming out this summer. This series, known as the Aster Original Series, picks up one month after A Threat To Remain closes, and continues to follow the five magical main characters as they finally come face-to-face the new Dark King of South America.
Meet Frances Ellen
Frances Ellen writes YA fantasy stories full of magic and adventure, action and jeopardy, sacrifice and betrayal, deep bonds of friendship, and a light touch of romance. Her first series describes a world where humans with exceptional affinities for specific traits, the Affinites, led by a magical elite known as the Asters, protect humans from the ever-present threat from Dark Kings.
The Asters are a diverse group of teenagers, magically and culturally, whose adventures take them to all parts of the world, both above and below ground, filling a gap in the YA fantasy genre that Frances wanted to read but couldn’t find. In 2021, the Aster Prequel Novella Trilogy to the main series was first published. Frances is currently working on the novels in the multi-book Asters Original Series, with the first expected to release in summer 2022.
Frances Ellen is a Dutch-English native. She graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a degree in English Literature and from London Middlesex University with a Master’s in Novel Writing. Next to writing, Frances trains guide dogs for the blind. Her dream is to support herself with her writing so she has the time to foster and train more guide dogs on the side. She currently lives in Amsterdam with her flatmate.
A powerful, ancient magic. In the wrong hands it will mean death to the Affinite race. Can five siblings save their people from a Dark King’s terror?
The Affinites have been keeping the Dark Kings from taking over the surface of the world ever since their first, all-powerful Queen, Aiyana, led them to victory 500 years ago. Now, Aiyana’s ancient magic has been reincarnated. It can only mean one thing – the Dark Kings are rising again.
Brought up as human, and without knowledge of her magic or her destiny, Gayle Mendosa is set to return to her people as their new Queen. Desperate to capture the ancient power for himself, a Dark King plots her death before she ascends the throne.
Lian, Matu, Nathan, Sky and Sophie are the Asters, an elite group of Affinites, each with a unique magic. They have trained and fought alongside each other all their lives. They have deep bonds of friendship. They will lay down their lives for each other, their Queen, and their people. With a new and unknown Dark King to face, they may yet pay the ultimate price.
A Queen To Come is the first in a new ya fantasy series full of magic and adventure, sacrifice and betrayal, friendship and banter, and a light touch of romance.
Enter to win paperbacks of the Aster prequel trilogy, including A Queen to Come, A World to Lose, and A Threat to Remain
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