Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Interview with Mindee Arnett for Shadow & Flame

Shadow & Flame (Rime Chronicles #2)

by Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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From acclaimed author Mindee Arnett comes the thrilling conclusion of the stunningly epic, action-packed, and romantic fantasy adventure about a powerful girl possessed of strange magic, the outcast prince she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.

Kate and Corwin are on the run, desperate for allies in a new world of war among the kingdoms of Rime. As the book opens, Kate suffers a massive loss, one that will shape the struggle for freedom of all wilders and magic folk—that is, if Kate can learn to control her own power.

Can you briefly describe SHADOW & FLAME and their main characters?

Absolutely. Shadow & Flame is the sequel and conclusion to Onyx & Ivory, a high fantasy set in a world divided by magic—who has it, who gets to use it, and who doesn’t. Specifically, there is magist magic, which is controlled and regulated by the government, and then there’s wilder magic which is outlawed. This division is the primary concern of book 1. In book 2, we add a new element to this existing conflict in the threat of the foreign nation of Seva. Seva doesn’t care much about the legality of magic. They simply want all magic for their own. The two main characters of the series are Kate and Corwin. Kate is a wilder and Corwin is the high prince. They’re in love but nothing about their relationship is easy, and the events of Shadow & Flame are sure to put them both to the test. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

Kate is my favorite. By default, the main character usually has to be the favorite since I spend the most time with them. I mean, it would be hard to write a whole novel about someone I didn’t like very much or didn’t find interesting. By definition, Corwin is a favorite as well. But aside from them, I absolutely adore Signe’s character. She’s sassy and tough and fun. Of the new characters in Shadow & Flame, my favorite is a magist named Harue. She’s sort of an absent-minded professor type. The kind of person who’s both really smart and really clueless at the same time. I have a lot of fun with her. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

The core inspiration for Onyx & Ivory was “the Pony Express” meets “Pitch Black.” This sounds a bit strange but the inspiration for Shadow & Flame mostly came from the first book. The events of book 1 influenced the direction of book 2 quite a lot. For some external inspiration though, I drew from a couple of different, and seemingly random, sources such as the first season of Jessica Jones on Netflix, the adult fantasy book The Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn, and the history of the city of Constantinople. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

Gosh, what a fun and ridiculously hard question! I do make playlists for all my books, and every one of those songs represents a theme or feeling or expression from the book. So I’m going to cheat and pick three of them that together represent the emotional arc of the book for me as the writer:


Which book has your favourite cover?

Onyx & Ivory remains my favorite of the two covers. But then again, I haven’t seen the actual printed version of Shadow & Flame yet so that might change once I hold the real book in my hands. They’re both beautiful though. As an author, I’ve won the book cover lottery for sure.

Which one was more fun to write?

Overall, I would say Shadow & Flame was more fun to write, but only in the sense that it was less hard. In my experience sequels are always a little easier because you’ve laid a lot of framework for the story already. There are a lot of decisions you don’t have to make with the book since you already made them previously, such as the main characters, names of places and things, rules of magic and so on. Onyx & Ivory was a much harder book to write mostly because I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t honestly, but I might be a little less clueless, I hope). Seriously, I’d never written multiple point of view and I hadn’t done high fantasy. There was a steep learning curve on that book. Fortunately, I did learn and Shadow & Flame was much less arduous. Also, I’m a huge fan of endings, so the last book usually wins by default.

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

It’s funny, but on the one had I never image anyone actually portraying my characters, and honestly if they ever do get made I hope that someone new and fresh will be cast. But I do usually pick an actor to represent the character to me physically. I’ll take screenshots of the actor from whatever role I find most inspiring as far as aesthetics go and put it in my book bible. For Onyx & Ivory, I used Chris Evans as Captain America for the inspiration for Corwin. For Kate, I used a combination of Mila Kunis and Kirsten Maldonado from Pentatonix. Kirsten in particular inspired the “sideways” smile that Corwin often refers to when he’s thinking about Kate. She has the coolest way of curling her lips to one side when she’s performing that I find charming and attractive.

Summer is coming and we love to go out and enjoy the sun. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

The opening half of Shadow & Flame takes place in what I imagine is a very Mediterranean climate. So I’m going to go with a bottle of red wine anywhere overlooking the sea. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish SHADOW & FLAME?

Well, I do have two previous series that are available—a science fiction thriller that starts with Avalon and a contemporary fantasy that starts with The Nightmare Affair. But the best fantasy book I’ve read recently is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novick. It’s a very different flare from Onyx & Ivory but I can’t recommend it enough. Probably my favorite YA fantasy series of all time though is the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta, which starts with Finnikin of the Rock. 

What’s next for you?

I have standalone fantasy in the works as well as a co-authored paranormal. I’m equally excited about both but I don’t have any details I’m allowed to share yet. Hopefully soon though!

Thank you so much for hosting me and my book.

YA Author of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a contemporary fantasy coming March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan) and AVALON, a YA sci-fi thriller coming Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.


  1. This series sounds amazing! Adding them to my TBR now! I LOVE the covers! ❤

  2. Duologies are my favourite and I love fantasies so this one's definitely on my TBR!