It’s my pleasure today to participate in a book launch for E. Kaiser Writes’ new series, Thaw. You might remember that these stories (or rather, one continuous story) made it to my top-fifteen list in last week’s post. Yesterday, an interview with Elizabeth Kaiser was posted on Homeschooled Authors, so if you want to learn more about this wonderful series and its author, check it out!
Okay, I can’t wait anymore. Let’s move on to the stories themselves and their covers (which are illustrated by the author herself and designed by her and her sister!)!
Thaw started with the idea to combine the fairytale “Snow Maiden” with Anderson’s “Snow Queen” and form a retelling that would be more satisfying than Disney’s recent version. (While they did some things very well, a lot of aspects fell through the cracks.) Add European history and a dollop of “what if then...?” to the mixture, and out comes a wintery beginning to a series that will span 50 years and at least 16 people’s stories.
The first three books are Winter’s Child (with most of the “Snow Maiden” elements); Winter Queen (the part that will be most recognizable, since it was hard to do anything too different there and still lead into the next book); and Prince of Demargen, which resolves the problem of the Devil’s Mirror. But the entire story arc will be completed in Reindeer King, which is intended for release in early 2015.
Winter’s Child opens the curtain on the kingdom of Noran and tells the story of a long-awaited miracle baby born to the royal couple. Princess Ilise is gifted with special powers, but she must learn how to use them—or harm the ones she loves.
Winter Queen shows Ilise becoming queen and striving to master her gift and be the worthy ruler she longs to be. Meanwhile, her impetuous sister Girta falls in love with Prince Hess, youngest son of the neighboring kingdom whose ambitions may prove to be his downfall. There is no easy path for any of the three, however.
Prince of Demargen picks up the story of Hess and follows him as he must deal with the repercussions of what happened in the preceding book.
Also knitting these three books together are a bevy of intriguing side characters, including Kai the woodsman, Halvor the snowman, the Winter Angel, and the suspicious Earl of Esser!
I had the privilege of editing these stories and providing feedback, so you could say I was sort of involved in their “growing up.” Imagine if you got to comment in one of your favorite authors’ books and tell him/her what you are thinking during a particularly striking passage—if you could say something like, “I love that description!” or “I am dying to know if she’ll ever like him again!” or “I’m almost crying here.” Wouldn’t that be so much fun? That’s what it was like for me. That’s one of the things I enjoy about editing and beta-reading … it’s like being an aunt that can be more involved in the raising of a story (without having ultimate responsibility!) than just a reader after the book is published. You even get a small say in how the story is reared to adulthood, just like an aunt who gets to babysit for a while or is asked for advice.
Enough about the analogy … on to (some of) my favorite quotes and descriptive passages!
That is how you must learn to be with life. Be the rock, Ilise, not the ice. … Let life happen, but not control you.
Then her hands danced outward, playing faster than an orchestra leader’s baton. A row of swans took position along the rail, snowy bodies, glistening wings. Her eyes glowed as she sent them off, and they fell into perfect formation, dipping and rising at her command.
This was fun.
No one could be lonesome while doing this.
She brought the swans back, and they lined up perfectly on the rail, their snowy faces expressionless, their glassy beaks soundless. …
She flicked her fingers again and a sleigh appeared, formed of knitted snowflakes. She traced a finger to each swan and snowy filaments formed a harness on each fowl. The swans rearranged themselves to accommodate this new strategy, and then she lifted them off and into the air again.
They rose upward with the beat of icy wings, and the snowflake sleigh swooped up close on their tails. It sailed through the sky like a cloud, following exactly where the swans dipped and dived to.
(Just about every passage dealing with the ice swans is gorgeous, but I had to pick just one.)
The enchantment on her little sister’s face, the childlike wonder as delicate spirals flowered against the glass beneath her fingertip.
Where had that all gone? Why had this curse turned so desperately dangerous to all around her?
In the center of her heart the young queen knew with awful certainty that she wanted most of all to be warmly loved, and the grim face of her icy powers had cut her off from that possibility forever.
What use was living then, if one lived alone? Always isolated, not just by the demure if chilly distance between passing family members… but the bone-wrenching loneliness that comes from never feeling a human touch again.
The angel snorted. “What nonsense. You were a gift. Your life is a gift, just as everyone’s is. Your origins were special, and therefore you are different from others. But do not deceive yourself into thinking that everyone else is all alike. That would be high folly indeed. As each snowflake is unique, each sunrise, each blossom, so are each of the children of men, and the differences they carry hidden within are sometimes the harder to bear.”
Where was truth? Where was honor? Where was the day that he could look any face in the world full on and not have a single thing to flinch from?
Prince of Demargen
“Never send a snowman to do a man’s job!”
Prince of Demargen
“Sir Halvor the Braver than Brave!”
Prince of Demargen
To connect with Elizabeth Kaiser, here is a list of her social media spots!
E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog http://ekaiserwritesablog.blogspot.com/
Author website EKaiserWrites.webs.com http://ekaiserwrites.webs.com/
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/E-Kaiser-Writes-Author-Illustrator/308540109167073
Amazon author page (with links to books!): http://www.amazon.com/E.-Kaiser-Writes/e/B006RY1L2E
Pinterest group boards:
Winter's Child, http://www.pinterest.com/ekaiserwrites/thaw-winters-child/
Prince of Demargen, http://www.pinterest.com/ekaiserwrites/thaw-prince-of-demargen/
And finally, there is a giveaway going on, so be sure to enter! There will be six winners. Winter's Child is up on Amazon if you want to have a peek at it. The others will show up this week!