I can’t believe it! My very first post as a 2021 Debutante Ball Author! Give me one second to freak out…
Okay. That’s done. Now on to this week’s topic: the inspiration behind The Frozen Crown. This is one of the hardest questions for me to answer, because so much of what makes The Frozen Crown special has been swirling around in my head for years. But if I had to pinpoint one moment of divine inspiration, it would have to be a daydream I had well over ten years ago now. I saw a woman sitting atop a horse, an army at her back, her expression unreadable as she looked down at the city below.
Some early readers may recognize this scene—but what led to it? What helped me shape my wild and fierce heroine, Askia? Sooooo many things.
I was the youngest of four children growing up. And while I idolized my older sister, she was so far away from me in maturity and interest that she might as well have been another species. My rambunctious older brothers, on the other hand, not so much.
I tagged along with them whenever they let me, whether that meant getting whooped in a cut-throat game of NERF, or (later on) piling on the couch to watch one epic war movie after the next.
I wanted so badly to see myself in these films, but all too often, the women who populated them were hardly more than set dressing. Their point was to pine after the hero while he went off to have adventures—or worse, to give the hero a motivation to stand up and fight… usually by dying some brutal and terrible death.
Little wonder that when I sat down to write Askia, she was far away from these cardboard cut-out impressions of womanhood. She feels most at home on the back of horse with a sword in hand. Which is why it was such wicked fun to yank her off the battlefield and plant her in a refined foreign court where manners are wielded as deftly as any blade.
It gave me the opportunity to play with another stereotype that is often seen in fiction—that a woman can be smart, but not pretty or funny but not powerful. Rejecting these ideas and embracing what makes a person whole is part of growing up—it certainly was for me— and Askia was no different. When her sword-arm failed to impress, Askia will have to use other forms of warfare—and learn that a person doesn’t need physical strength to be powerful.
I’m so excited to share Askia and The Frozen Crown with you! (Is it January yet?)