Fantasy romance author Hailey Edwards is joining me for a chat today to talk about her new book, A Hint of Frost (which I really liked.) Please help me welcome her to the blog!
Jen: Tell new readers a bit about the A Hint of Frost.
Hailey: Frost is a marriage of convenience story set against the backdrop of an almost medieval world populated by Araneaeans, people with spiderlike traits. They have fangs, some are venomous, and most spin silk. There are mercenaries, herbologists, and spirit walkers. Riding bears and lizards are how the locals get around, and, word to the wise, avoid the Mimetidae clan at all costs.
Jen: I loved Rhys as a hero –all that great vulnerability. Let’s talk about him for a minute.
Hailey: Rhys is a sweetheart. He’s the bastard son of the Mimetidae maven (the clan head), which means he doesn’t belong in his mother’s world or his father’s. He makes his living by hiring out as a mercenary. He loves his family and wants the best for them. It’s not until he meets Lourdes that he discovers what his life’s been missing, someone who will value both the man and his skill, and she gives his warrior’s heart a small measure of peace.
Jen: If you had to do Hollywood casting on Rhys and Lourdes… Who would come the closest to the vision you have of them in your head?
Hailey: Hmm. That’s a tough one. I can’t think of any actors who fit the bill for Rhys, but model Rick Mora is close. As for Lourdes, I can see her as Tonantzin Carmelo.
Jen: I thought the world building was so fresh! Can you talk a little about the spinning element in the book?
Hailey: Thank you! Worldbuilding is my absolute favorite part of writing. For the Araneidae clan, I wanted to create a wealthy clan that would have power and influence throughout the Araneae Nation. Since they aren’t warriors, they needed to have a commodity that would make them invaluable to warriors. With that in mind, I based them on Darwin’s bark spider (Caerostris darwini). Its silk is ten times the strength of Kevlar. So, perfect for making armor and various other items that must be extremely durable. Each clan uses silk differently, and some don’t spin silk at all. As the series progresses, readers will be shown some very, very cool silk applications. Oops. Was my geek showing there?
Jen: What was your favorite scene?
Hailey: My favorite scene is when Rhys takes Lourdes to the river to bathe. I love the end of it most:
The current swirled about him, curving around his waist and drawing my eye to the hard board of his abdomen. Scars crisscrossed roped muscle, pale against his tan skin. My gaze skipped like a stone across a pond, unsure which part of him to admire first. A dark trail led from his navel to the waterline, and my fingers itched to trace its path. His legs were the first bare thing I’d seen of him, and even they fascinated me. He said look upon him. I had. Now how did I stop?
My fingers curled. “Can I touch you?”
“I think that would be unwise.” His gaze cast upon the shore.
“Oh.” My hand dropped. I hadn’t realized I’d lifted it.
“Water is sacred to the Salticidae.” He touched my cheek. “I have a healthy respect for Old Father and his walking stick. Otherwise, I would have left you under Mana’s supervision.”
Better for us both that he hadn’t. “No touching then.”
“Not while your skin is bare and your eyes are willing.” His grin turned wry. “I placed more faith in myself than was wise. Resisting you clothed is difficult, while naked it’s nigh impossible.” His fingers sank in my hair. “I thought coming to the water would be safer for us.”
“You mean with your honor to hold you accountable and my fear to keep me honest?”
He chuckled. “Something like that.”
I touched his arm. “I respect their beliefs, but I know myself and own my desire.”
He cleared his throat. “I believe I said I owned my actions.”
With a careless shrug that cost me the dregs of my modesty, I stood on knees weak enough to be swayed by the current. Sacred waters kept my virtue untouched, but it also kept Rhys untouched. Digging my toes into the sandy bottom, I owned my desire. My innocence was his. He would be my husband. I knew him well enough to understand he would never let me go.
“Come, partisan.” I curled my fingers. “Help me bathe, then take me to your home.”
I heard him swallow. “As my maven wishes.”
Jen: I liked that scene too! We learn a bit about several different clans in the first book. Will the series continue to focus on the Araneidae clan or perhaps one of the others? Will we have character overlap as the series continues?
Hailey: The Araneidae influence is far reaching, their investments are widespread, and their gold crosses many a palm. There will no doubt be a mention or two of them in each novel. I do plan to write Henri, Armand, and Pascale’s novels, so returning to Erania is like going home for me. There will be a lot of character overlap throughout the series. I like to check in with old friends and see how they’re doing, you know? The series will follow stories of several clans besides the Araneidae. I didn’t invent the other clans as window dressing. At some point, my goal is to have the story told of a hero or heroine from each clan.
Jen: Can you tell us anything about the next book? Any idea when it will be out?
Hailey: Yes! The second novel is Vaughn’s book and focuses on the Mimetidae and Salticidae clans. We get to visit Cathis in his book, and we also learn more about spirit walking. Plus, there’s a secondary character that’s a real scene stealer. I can’t wait to hear what readers think of him. I actually submitted the second novel in the series about a week ago, so I won’t have an idea of a release date for a while yet.
Jen: How many do you plan to write in the series?
Hailey: It’s a lush world that lends itself to sequels, but I’ll have to see where the stories take me.
Jen: For fans who want more Hailey Edwards books, tell us a little about your Daughters of Askara series.
Hailey: Daughters of Askara is dear to me. The first novel, Everlong, was the first novel I ever had published. I think that series illustrates my growth as a writer, and for that, it will always have a special place in my heart. The premise of the series is there are winged demons, Evanti demons, from another realm. Born in Askara, they are so desperate to be free that they travel into another dimension, our Earth, and found a colony there. So you have escaped slaves, different dimensions, Askaran royalty, several kinds of demons, all with wicked tricks, and as we get into the second and third novels, the Evanti demons decide they’re tired of hiding on Earth. They want their home world back, and they start a revolution to free their families back in Askara.
Jen: And you have a new release coming in June, right?
Hailey: I do. The third novel in the Daughters of Askara series, Eversworn, will be released on June 26. It’s Dillon and Isabeau’s story. My editor calls Dillon a sexy grump, and I think that sums him up perfectly. I also have a novel releasing in August from Forever Yours. The book is Soul Weaver, and it kicks off a new series called Wicked Kin. Readers can keep an eye on my blog or website for more information.