(Frozen Sun Saga, #1)
by Jill Criswell
Publication date: August 6th, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.
Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.
When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.
As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.
~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Jill Criswell~
1) What gave you the inspiration for the storyline?
Years ago, I journeyed to Iceland and fell in love with its stark landscapes and Viking heritage. Inspiration struck when I toured the Saga Museum in Reykjavík: there was an exhibit about the legend of an Irish princess who was kidnaped by Viking invaders and taken as a slave to Iceland. I got an image in my head of a girl standing on the coast of Ireland, watching Viking longships come ashore, filled with terror and awe. “That,” I said to myself, “is a story.” That idea became Beasts of the Frozen Sun.
2) Are there any hidden (or not so hidden) themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?
One of the main recurring themes throughout the book is rival religions, the idea of history being written by the victors that encourages characters to question which holy text is true.
Another major theme is slavery and ownership. Sometimes it’s about controlling women, who are often revered yet oppressed on the island of Glasnith. Other times it’s in relation to xenophobia—both the Glasnithians and the Iseneldish are guilty of enslaving members of other tribes who are seen as being inferior.
3) Are any of the characters based on real people you know?
Not specifically, but I do often pull aspects—sometimes on purpose, and sometimes subconsciously—of real people and literary/film/TV characters to create my own characters. Lira has a little bit of me in her, a little bit of other women I’ve been inspired by, and bits of literary heroines: Joan of Arc and Queen Elizabeth, Hermione and Katniss, Arya and Sansa.
4) Who has influenced you most as a writer?
It depends on what I’m writing. For Beasts of the Frozen Sun, my biggest influences were Juliet Marillier (especially her Sevenwaters and Saga of the Light Isles series), Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series, and Mary E. Pearson’s The Remnant Chronicles. I also got a lot of inspiration from Game of Thrones (the books and the show) and the History Channel’s Vikings.
5) If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?
I would invite Jude (from The Folk of the Air series), Kestrel (from The Winner’s Trilogy), and Sage (from The Traitor’s Trilogy) to play Risk, because I’d love to see their brilliant minds at work and find out which of these strategists is the strongest. I’d serve cake and wine—lots of fancy wine, the kind fit for queens and ambassadors. That would be an awesome game night.
6) Do you feel that you can ever have too many books?
Never! I love books, and I have lots of them around me all the time, ones I’ve bought and ones I’ve checked out from my library. The only downside is feeling overwhelmed because I want to read them all at once and I agonize over which one to jump into next!
Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was 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).
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