Fire and Ice is honored to be part of the official Iron Knight Blog Tour. Today we have author Julie Kagawa on board for an exclusive Q&A.
About the Book: Unable to survive in the kingdom of his beloved due to his supernatural nature, a warrior prince sets out to turn himself human. But first he must cross deadly lands and overcome nightmarish obstacles before reaching the fabled testing grounds, where he will endure a series of challenges. He is joined on his quest by a team of fantastical creatures, each with an agenda of their own—one, a faery prankster whom the prince has vowed to kill for past misdeeds; another, a wise-speaking cat who claims to be a truthful guide; the third, a legendary and villainous beast pulled right from the fairy tales; and finally, the last, a seer who appears to be the resurrection of the prince’s former love, long thought dead but now restored to life and as beautiful and tempting as ever. With these dubious allies by his side, the prince sets off to achieve his ultimate prize, but to do so will require overcoming the greatest challenge of all in his quest for a human soul—himself.
When exiled faery prince Ash swears an oath to his love, Meghan Chase—the half-human ruler of the Iron Fey realm—to return and be with her forever, he knows what that promise entails. Her Iron Kingdom is anathema to a fey creature such as himself, and in order to survive in it he must renounce his powerful supernatural nature and acquire a mortal soul. Only then will he be able to return and be with his love. But even as a prince of the fabled Winter Court, Ash knows only rumors of how an immortal can become human. Ash needs help, even if that help comes from the last set of creatures in the entire Nevernever realm that he would ever want to join him.
The first to join Ash on his quest is his best friend and fiercest, most annoying rival, Robin Goodfellow—better known as Puck the mischievous prankster. Despite their friendship, a bitter chasm exists between them—Puck is also in love with Meghan Chase, and Ash has vowed to one day kill his friend as payback for a past action. To aid them on their quest, they turn to one of the wisest creatures in the mythical realm of Nevernever—Grimalkin, a talking cat who agrees to help in exchange for a future favor. They set out to find a seer to show them the route that they must take, but on the way they encounter a legendary monster—the Big Bad Wolf. The Wolf is perhaps the most dangerous creature ever to walk the wilds of Nevernever, but now it seeks to join them on their journey so it can increase its own legend and power. The last member of the quest, however, is the most shocking of all to Ash. The very seer they have been seeking turns out to be Ash’s first love, Ariella, a fey princess long thought dead. Not only is she not dead, but Ariella is now an oracle who promises to aid Ash on his quest to be with his new love. But can Ash trust Ariella or will she sabotage their mission in order to win him back for herself?
Ariella advises the party that they must follow the treacherous River of Dreams to the final barrier at the End of the World. There, in an ancient place known as the Testing Grounds, a guardian who holds the key to becoming human awaits. But in order to claim it from him, Ash will first have to endure a deadly series of tests.
As Ash gets closer and closer to fulfilling his quest, he finds it more and more difficult to go on. He is being pulled in many directions—by his two loves, by visions of a deadly future, and by indecision that could destroy him, his allies and all of Nevernever. Ash is under oath to Meghan to complete his quest, but can he do it? After all, in some fairy tales, the hero gets eaten by the monster and doesn’t get to live happily ever after.
Q&A with Julie Kagawa: What is your favorite part of being an author? I don’t know if I have a favorite part; I just love it all so much. This was what I always wanted to do, and now that I’m here, it’s a dream come true for me. =)
If you could pick one of the characters from The Iron Fey series to have dinner with, who would it be and why? I’m going to have to go with Ash, because I know he’d at least be polite. Unlike a certain faery prankster, who might put something in my food or turn the waiter into a hedgehog. Meghan would also be a good choice, we could catch a movie afterwards. Grim…not so much; he’d order the most expensive thing on the menu and then turn up his nose at it.
Being that the Iron Knight is written from Ash’s point of view, was it easier or harder to switch over and tell his story? It was a little harder, initially. I knew Meghan; after three books I knew her voice and her personality and her quirks. It was difficult with Ash, because he was such a guarded character, and he never was really chatty. And because he’s lived such a long time, and is an Unseelie fey, he’s done some things in his life that might change how some people view him. It was actually kind of scary putting his story out there; what will people think now that they know the real Ash? But I wrote his story as honestly as I could, and I hope they will come to love the Winter Prince as much as I do.
Do you have a favorite line or two you could share with us from The Iron Knight?Certainly! Here is an exchange between Ash and Puck:
“Hey, ice-boy, you okay? You’ve got your brooding face on again.”
“You’re so full of crap.”
Puck lounged in the cradle of a tree, hands behind his head, one foot dangling in the air.
“Lighten up already. We finally found the cat—which we should get a freaking medal for, the search for the Golden Fleece wasn’t this hard—and you look like you’re going to engage Mab in single combat first thing in the morning.”
“I’m thinking. You should try it sometime.”
About the Author: Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.
Thanks so much to Julie for being with us today! Read our review of The Iron Knight here.