Lisa (@ Over the Effing Rainbow), Jorie (@ Jorie Loves a Story) and imyril (@ One More) are delighted to bring you WYRD AND WONDER, where they plan to celebrate all things fantastical throughout the month of May!
Today I am interviewing Kathryn Troy, author of the new fantasy novel, Dreams of Ice and Shadow, second book in the Frostbite series.
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DJ: Hi Kathryn! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Kathryn: Hi DJ! Thanks again for having me back! For people who don’t know me, here’s the run-on version: I have a B.A. in history even though I love literature and cinema too but when I went to law school I didn’t like that so I got two more degrees in history and wrote a nonfiction book about ghosts but when I decided to become a baker I realized that what I really wanted to do was write romantic fantasy. I still have day jobs (a few of them), but I’ve been writing fiction for a few years now, and can’t seem to stop producing more of my favorite things, which include dark fantasy, romance, horror, and a smattering of historical fiction.
DJ: What is Dreams of Ice and Shadow and then the Frostbite series about?
Kathryn: Dreams of Ice and Shadow picks up right where the first book, A Vision in Crimson, left off. Luca is on the outs with the love of his life, Katelyn, because he’s decided he needs to track down his father alone, so that Kate won’t do something impulsive with her magic that will end up hurting her. To keep herself from going crazy, Katelyn decides to join Alaric over in Likhan and help him start a revolution, but there’s just as much danger there. Twice as much if you consider that Alaric has the hots for Katelyn, always has, and now she’s hiding out in his room.
As far as the series as a whole is concerned, it’s a lot of things, genre-wise. It’s undoubtedly romantic fantasy, but there are also hefty doses of Gothicism and adventure, with some slight horror and weird fiction undertones. The series’ trajectory will take it into more solid fantasy territory, and deal more with mysticism and origins for the world, the source of Katelyn’s powers, etc. If I had to define the arc of the Frostbite series in a nutshell, it would be the perils of Icarya told through the eyes of a couple in love.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the Frostbite series?
Kathryn: Dracula is the obvious starting point, as the progenitor of all vampire fiction. Which technically Frostbite is, although in fantasy trappings. I’ve also taken from vampire lore itself as well as Vampire Hunter D, the concept of which I love, but the stories just can’t hold my interest for too long, because all the characters are ephemeral. I like being able to develop a tighter cast of characters over several books, because I see that as more compelling story-telling. Which brings me to Xena: Warrior Princess. The show’s been a huge inspiration to my idea of how to blend fantasy with action and the idea of story structure. Each book in the series has its own plot, but it also is part of a larger trajectory, and characters experience significant events and personal changes. My vision of fantasy realms and their mysteries comes from things like The Chronicles of Narnia, where worlds are populated with both good and evil, but all are depicted with a sense of wonder. Anything monstrous or horrific has been tainted by the weirdness that is the Lovecraft Mythos.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Kathryn: I think part of what makes Luca and Katelyn interesting as characters are their flaws. That’s probably true for most fiction, but the point I’m trying to make here is that both of these characters are high-powered, and therefore it was imperative for me to show that that does not make them invincible. They are human and vulnerable and can make bone-headed decisions just like anyone else, with terrible consequences. A lot of their flaws stem from their childhoods and centuries of solitude and how that affects their navigation of a passionate, committed relationship. It’s also a question of how they deal with danger and their own misdeeds. We get a lot more of Katelyn’s backstory in Dreams of Ice and Shadow, and the amount of change she’s undergone since first setting foot on Icaryan soil couldn’t be more dramatic. Nevertheless, she wouldn’t be who she is without all her memories, and that’s the main thrust of her character’s journey in this book.
DJ: What is the world Icarya and setting of the Frostbite series like?
Kathryn: Icarya proper is a primary location in the first book, A Vision in Crimson. It is lush and verdant, and heavily forested. Economy and architecture are fairly simple in places like these, and with a well-loved monarch like Katelyn, everyone seems fine with this for the time being. Their harbor town Cathair is exactly what it seems – a harbor town, with a diverse population of aquatic and air-based creatures, that is besieged by the vampire that Luca is there to hunt, and becomes a focal point for the new book, Dreams of Ice and Shadow. You get an introduction to Likhan here as well, which is very different- their politics and gender dynamics are a lot more complicated than Icarya’s, and are inspired by ancient civilizations like Egypt & Rome. In the third installment, which I hope to have out next year, Likhan becomes the heart of the story in many ways. Each time I write a book, my hope is for the Icaryan map to get a little bit bigger. Each place will have their moment, and characters (and readers) are exploring new areas and meeting new people along the way.
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first book of the Frostbite series? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
Kathryn: My readers and reviewers have been generous with me for A Vision in Crimson. Some have fallen in love with my characters as much as I have, and generally people are satisfied with the world I’ve built, which makes me feel awesome, because conceiving of these places is one of my favorite things about creative writing.
I’ve also come to realize that the genre-bending that is prevalent in this series is not for everyone. If you’re looking for the next Twilight, you might enjoy my writing, you might not. Those on the prowl for cheap vampire erotica might be drawn to this book, but put off the fact that I’m more concerned with fantasy and solid writing, despite my penchant for steamy scenes. Hard-core horror fans will wish for a different tone. It’s not a question of open-minded to different genres, however; it’s simply a preference for what people are looking for in their reading experience. I try to pack a lot into this series, so if you’re looking for a book that really zeros in on something, Frostbite might not be your cup of tea. If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, well then, you may have found it.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Dreams of Ice and Shadow?
Kathryn: Getting to spend more time with Alaric. Some characters are just more endearing and fun to write than others, and the ex-assassin sort of wiggled his way into being one of my favorites, across all my projects. When he’s happy, I’m happy. When he’s sad, then I feel terrible for it, though I know it’s for the sake of a better story.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing the Frostbite series? The series is not yet complete, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Kathryn: It seems funny to me now, but this was not originally intended to be a series. When A Vision in Crimson became impractically large, I decided to split it into two volumes, at a place where a break was organically appropriate. As I began revising the second volume, I realized that I was laying groundwork for certain things, especially in Likhan, but that I wasn’t resolving them. Hence the requirement for a third book. There’s at least 2 more after that, based on where my head’s at right now in terms of where certain characters are in their own story arcs. What might happen after that is anyone’s guess.
DJ: Now that Dreams of Ice and Shadow is released, what is next for you?
Kathryn: I’m just about wrapping up the outline for the third Frostbite book, Night of Storms. After the outline is done I’m going to put it down for a while to polish up my horror novella Notes from the Undead and get that into a query-able state, and there are a few other story concepts that I want to push into the development phase before I come back to Frostbite. Writing this series has brought me immense joy, but keeping my writing projects varied helps keep my writing fresh across all my projects, which is the goal. I don’t want Frostbite to go the way of the formulaic, which has been the kiss of death for fantasy series far greater than mine.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B06XNJNH7Z/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Where to Buy Dreams of Ice and Shadow: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BJMDJ2V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Dreams of Ice and Shadow and the Frostbite series that we haven’t talked about yet?
Kathryn: It’s just as steamy as the first 😉
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** Dreams of Ice and Shadow is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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Luca has discovered his father’s hideout. He hunts the legendary vampire alone, pushing Katelyn away to safety. But Dracula is not so easily bested. He evades Luca so he can tap into Katelyn’s power—the magic that lies at the heart of Icarya. Luca’s heart sinks as his father draws him further and further from his eternal love.
Across the Great Sea, Katelyn is summoned to the slave city Likhan. After the death of Seht Reza, Likhan teeters toward revolution as her nephew Darien seeks the throne. To help him, Kate must work alongside Alaric, the assassin who will stop at nothing to win her back in Luca’s absence. The dark forces mounting against Darien leave Kate vulnerable to the destructive pull of her elemental nature.
Dreams of Ice and Shadow is the heart-stopping second volume of the Frostbite series, where gothic terrors invade epic fantasy. Sinister, unnatural horrors are unleashed, and Katelyn and Luca’s passions burn brighter than ever as the dangers facing Icarya threaten to separate them forever.
About the Author:
I’m an historian by day, a novelist and baker by night. My nonfiction book, The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender, and Ghosts in American Séances, 1848-1890 wasreleased by SUNY Press in September 2017. So was A Vision in Crimson, the first book in the Frostbite series. My academic expertise in the supernatural and the Gothic inform my fiction at every turn. I live in New York with my husband and two chilluns.