Who's Jane Kindred?
Jane Kindred began writing fantasy at age 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. Although she was repeatedly urged to learn a marketable skill, she received a B.A. in Creative Writing anyway from the University of Arizona.
She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
About The Fallen Queen, Book One of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.
The Fallen Queen is available now at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | The Book Depository | Books On Board | Diesel | IndieBound | Powell’s Books.
About The Midnight Court, Book Two of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
The exiled heir to the throne of Heaven, Grand Duchess Anazakia and her demon companions, Belphagor and Vasily, have made a comfortable home in the Russian city of Arkhangel’sk, but their domestic bliss is short lived. When their daughter Ola is taken as a pawn in Heaven’s demon revolution, the delicate fabric of their unorthodox family is torn apart—threatening to separate Belphagor and Vasily for good.
Anazakia is prepared to move Heaven and Earth to get her daughter back from Queen Aeval, risen in Elysium from the ashes of temporary defeat. But Aeval isn’t the only one seeking Ola’s strange power.
To conquer the forces amassing against them, Anazakia is prophesied to spill the blood of one close to her heart, while Vasily’s fire will prove more potent than anyone suspected. In the battle for supremacy over Heaven’s empire, loyalties will be tested and secrets will be revealed, but love will reign supernal.
The Midnight Court is available now in ebook from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books On Board | Powell’s Books. Pre-order the paperback edition, available August 30.
And, here's the big surprise! Jane gave me an interview, and is willing go giveaway to one lucky winner, a copy of either one of her House of Arkhangel'sk books. Read on to learn how you can win!
V (a.k.a. Vanya D.): What's the feeling to have a second book published in a series?
Jane: I’m very excited that readers of The Fallen Queen will finally have an opportunity to read The Midnight Court and find out what’s next for Anazakia, Vasily, and Belphagor, but I’m also a little anxious, hoping the book will fulfill their expectations. Every reader brings her own personal experience to a story, separate from the author’s vision, and as a writer, it can be hard to let go of the desire to please everyone and just remain true to the story you feel compelled to tell. I’ve already gotten some very positive reviews for The Midnight Court, but I’ve also seen one reader who loved the first book but was extremely unhappy with a choice I made in the second. I feel as if I’ve let that reader down. It’s different from getting a negative review from a completely new reader; people have vastly different tastes and what one person absolutely loves, somebody else will hate with equal passion. But it’s a little heartbreaking to know you’ve disappointed a fan.
V: What inspired you to write "The House of Arkhangel'sk"?
Jane: I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the last tsar of Russia, might have survived the brutal execution of her family at the start of the Bolshevik Revolution. The bodies of two of the children, the young Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters, were missing for many decades from the mass grave where the others were dumped, leading to speculation about their survival, and several women over the years have claimed to be Anastasia. When the last two bodies were finally found and identified a few years ago by Russian forensic scientists, it came as a devastating blow to the community of Anastasia devotees around the world who still believed in and hoped for her survival—and I have to admit, it made me sad to know none of the family had escaped such a tragic fate. I decided to write a fantasy version of the story in which my “Anastasia” would survive.
V: Which of the two installments was more difficult for you to write, The Fallen Queen or The Midnight Court? Why?
Jane: The Midnight Court was a little more of a challenge. I had to make sure I was including enough information so that new readers who picked up Book 2 without have read the first installment wouldn’t be confused, and to refresh the memories of existing readers who might have read The Fallen Queen a while ago, without bogging the story down with boring info-dump. I also had an important subplot with two new characters that I wanted to do justice to without taking the focus away from the main plot and characters. It was a balancing act to get it all to fit together.V: There are a lot of controversial themes in this series. Do you think this would push readers away?
Jane: Although Anazakia, the main character, is seventeen at the start of the series, The House of Arkhangel’sk definitely isn’t YA. It contains adult sexual situations—including m/m romance and BDSM—as well as some very dark themes that won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. Since my celestial world parallels that of imperial Russia, and the real-world scenes take place in modern Russia, there are some scenes that deal with those realities without any sugar-coating.
I also took some advice from Stephen King to heart years ago, who tells writers in his book On Writing to “imagine the worst possible thing that could happen…then make it ten times worse.” As a person with major anxiety and post-traumatic stress issues, I can imagine some pretty awful things, and I have a tendency to push my own comfort level by writing about what I fear the most. But for readers who aren’t put off by the gritty realities, the payoff is a tale of romance and fantasy adventure that I hope transcends the dark moments along the journey.
V: Do you think there are things you've forgotten to mention in either book? What may they be?
I wouldn’t say there’s anything I’ve forgotten, but there are a few things that are deliberately not fully explained in these first two books in the series. Most of them will be wrapped up in the final book of the trilogy, but there may be one or two things left open-ended for readers to discover more about in the follow-up trilogy I’m currently working on. There may also be some stand-alone companion shorts about Belphagor and Vasily, exploring their history, if I get time to write them. :)
Thanks for having me on YA Story Teller today and for the great questions! As a thank-you to your readers, I’d like to give away an ebook copy of either Book 1 or Book 2 to a commenter.
So you see guys, all you need to do to win a copy of either one of Jane's books, is comment! Yes, it's that simple!! a Rafflecopter giveaway