Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Interview with Claire Eliza Bartlett for The Winter Duke

The Winter Duke

by Claire Eliza Bartlett
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT, Queer, Magic, Retellings, Romance
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An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke's daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.

When Ekata's brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family's icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.

In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother's warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love...or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family's power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.

Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what's right in the face of danger.

Can you briefly describe THE WINTER DUKE and its characters?

I like to summarize THE WINTER DUKE as, “Political Lesbians on Ice.” It’s a YA political fantasy, set in an ice kingdom and featuring a sarcastic middle child who suddenly finds herself the Grand Duke of her country after her entire family falls mysteriously ill. Ekata is headstrong, unfit to rule, and really needs to learn to look before she leaps. Trying to rescue her from imminent disaster are her maid, Aino, who’s more like her mother than her own mother, and Inkar, the charming warrior bride she marries in a panic. Trying to control her are Eirhan, her father’s prime minister and a politician as slimy and devious as they come, and Sigis, the manly man who’s come in to sweep Ekata off her feet, solve all her problems - and annex her home into his own kingdom in the process.

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

I really enjoyed writing Inkar. She’s charming, disarming and fun, and writing her scenes gave me the opportunity to push Ekata off-balance and make her feel awkward, which I just loved.

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

I had the setting of THE WINTER DUKE in mind for some time - some years back I tried to write a Nanowrimo novel about the city Above and the city Below, both tied to each other. The plot itself didn’t take shape until shortly before we sold the novel. I was reading a history of the Romanov family and I came across the story of one Peter Ludwig von der Pahlen, a man who orchestrated the assassination of the tsar Paul in 1801. Von der Pahlen played both the tsar and his son against each other, essentially ensuring that when a coup did erupt, he’d be on the winning side no matter what. While the story of THE WINTER DUKE deviates significantly from this, I kept it in mind when constructing all my political machinations.

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

While I was writing, I really loved “It’s Always Summer Under the Sea,” from the Game of Thrones soundtrack. But not just any version of the song - Karliene’s version. She sings wonderfully and her harmony and the orchestration are so unnerving! It’s exactly the feel I wanted when I was writing scenes set in the duchy Below.

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

I think Kiernan Shipka would make a great Ekata. Izabella Alvarez has this great confident, charming look for Inkar. And I can’t help feeling that K.J. Apa would bring some great swagger to the role of Sigis - it would be fun to see him playing a bad guy!

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

The perfect place to go with THE WINTER DUKE would be an ice hotel. There are a couple of options but check out the amazing pictures on the icehotel website: https://www.icehotel.com/. While there, you must drink something warm: coffee or hot chocolate or tea, sweet and thick and a little bit sinful.

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THE WINTER DUKE?

Definitely! If you’re looking for more f/f adventures in the snow, check out GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS by Melissa Bashardoust. And for an intricate, beautifully plotted YA political fantasy, read DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE by Joan He.

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

The editing! It’s a process I both love and hate, because I love picking apart the problems in things, and that includes my books. For me, there’s no feeling like that beautiful feeling when you realize exactly what’s wrong and how you can fix it. On the other hand, the actual fixing of it is so hard.

What’s next for you?

My next project is a foray into contemporary fiction, with a YA thriller called THE GOOD GIRLS hitting shelves in December. Right now I’m writing what I hope will be a super fun mashup of Fight Club, Greek mythology and New York during the art deco period.

I am a writer and tour guide in Copenhagen, Denmark. Though I originally come from Colorado, I left the US when I was eighteen and I haven’t lived there since.

More permanent stops on my travels have included Switzerland, Wales and Denmark. The arrival of a Danish husband has somewhat cemented my living situation, but I get my travel in smaller doses these days.

I like to write fantasy, mostly, though I dabble in soft sci-fi. My short stories are more adult, my novels more YA.

I’ve studied history, archaeology, and writing. I like to take my inspiration from historical events, and the more unknown and inspiring the event, the better.

I am represented by Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary.

To keep up with what strange things I’m researching and writing, you can sign up for my newsletter here. I send out a short newsletter once a month.

❄ G I V E A W A Y ❄ . . Happy Wednesday, beautiful bookish people! . . I would like to get to know you all a bit more. Could you tell me your favourite colour and 1 personality trait of yours? My favourite colour is coral (because I have been told I can’t choose black) and I am a bit loud and fierce, but kind, loyal and honest. . . Today is celebration day. Yesterday, @bartlebett new novel #TheWinterDuke came out in stores and we are so happy! It is the first LGBT royal novel I read and I loved it! It is full of mystery, betrayal and adventure. I loved every minute of the book seen the main character Ekata, grow into her role, and her romance with Inkar. . . If you want to have the chance to snatch a copy of the book for yourself, we are currently giving away 1 finished copy of the book (US Only). . . Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @bartlebett ▪︎Follow the publishing house @thenovl ▪︎Comment - Answer my question above ⬆️ #qotd . . Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any of the FFBC tours team members below (comment who did you follow): @l.m.durand @utopia.state.of.mind @libri_draconis @booking_belle @everlasting.library @bibliobibuliya @whispersandwonder @The.magicalpages @caitsbooks @onemused @novelknight @jessicabeckett @thereadingchemist @love2dazzle @ya.its.lit @womanon @inkymoments @magicalreads7 @moonlight_rendezvous @sometimesleelynnreads @inkandmyths @morganvegawrite @obscure.pages @ kaitplusbooks @thereadingcornerforall @frayedbooks @confessionsofayareader @yourwordsmyink . . #TheWinterDuke #NOVLnation #thenovl #bookishflatlay #bookstagramit #yafantasy #yabooks #lgbtbooks #ireadya #booknerd #claireelizabartlett #booksbooksbooks #bookcommunity #allthebooks #bookstagrammer #booksofinsta #beautifulbooks #booktography #mybookishfeatures
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1 comment:

  1. Apa and Shipka would definitely be adorable in this! Sounds like fun!