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.
This week I’m participating in the blog tour for Jill Criswell’s new release, Beasts of the Frozen Sun, book one of the Frozen Sun Saga. I’m always excited to help authors promote their work, so without further ado, here’s Jill Criswell!
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).
Tell me a bit about the book you’re promoting. What inspired it?
Beasts of the Frozen Sun is a young adult fantasy inspired by Viking invasions in Ireland. It’s about a girl with the power to read a person’s soul who saves the enemy warrior sent to attack her village, and the forbidden bond between them that sparks a war between gods and men.
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.
For adult fantasy, I love Juliet Marillier, Jacqueline Carey, and Karen Marie Moning. For young adult fantasy, I love Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, and Marie Rutkoski.
Favorite underrated read?
Sanctum by Sarah Fine. It’s a young adult urban fantasy that takes place mostly in the afterlife, because the main character dies early on in the book! There are creepy demons, badass warriors, and an epic romance—Lela and Malachi are one of my all-time favorite couples.
Who/What influences your work?
Books, movies, TV shows—ones I’m a fan of now, and ones I’ve loved for years. Travel is another big inspiration. I never would have written Beasts of the Frozen Sun if I hadn’t traveled to Iceland and fallen in love with it.
What’s your ideal writing space? What’s your actual writing space?
I’d love to have an isolated writer’s cottage, preferably overlooking a forest or an ocean or something beautiful and inspiring. But my actual writing space works fine most of the time (as long as my three year old is away). It’s just a room with my desk and my computer, and a window overlooking the woods. Virginia Woolf would approve.
How do you get in “the zone” before sitting down to write? Do you have any rituals?
I like to start by reading a chapter of whatever book I’m reading at the moment, to get me into story-telling mode. Other essential are 1) coffee and 2) an album or playlist that captures the mood of whatever scene I’m working on. I make a lot of mood playlists for myself for that purpose.
What’s the first thing you ever wrote?
I started writing stories when I was in elementary school. I kept on as I got older, majoring in creative writing in college. The first novel I finished was an urban fantasy about angels and demons—it was basically Supernatural, but with sisters. It didn’t get published, but it was a good learning experience for me, teaching me a lot about writing.
What piece of advice would you give a young writer just starting out?
Don’t just study the craft of writing—learn about the publishing industry too, especially how it relates to whatever genre you’re writing in. You could write a good book, but if no agents or editors think they can sell it (because it doesn’t fit the genre or it’s an idea that’s already been done, for example) it won’t matter.
Also, along those lines—read in your genre, especially works by debut authors currently being published. Know what the market is like right now for emerging authors in your genre, so you can understand (and explain to people in the industry) how your book will fit into it. I recommend reading blogs and articles by authors, agents, and editors so you get a sense of what it takes and what the current trends are.
When you’re not writing, what are you up to?
I read a lot, mostly young adult fantasy. I put in some hours at my day job, teaching writing at the local university. I try to work out a little every day to stay in shape, and I binge-watch shows (often while doing my workouts) when I can. I just finished watching season 1 of The Boys, and now I’m getting caught up on Season 6 of The 100.
You can purchase Beasts of the Frozen Sun below:
- Amazon: https://books2read.com/u/3kpvWR?store=amazon
- B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beasts-of-the-frozen-sun-jill-criswell/1130074830
- iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/beasts-of-the-frozen-sun/id1455347076?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
- Kobo: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=ZmCADwAAQBAJ
If you’d like to learn more about Jill Criswell and her work, check her out online: