I’m excited to be interviewing Tara Grayce, the author of FIERCE HEART, one of my favourite novels of 2019! Before we begin, here is a quick summary of the book!
Essie would do anything for her kingdom…even marry an elf she just met that morning.
When a diplomatic meeting goes horribly wrong, Essie, a human princess, finds herself married to the elf prince and warrior Laesornysh. Fitting in to the serene, quiet elf culture might be a little difficult for this talkative princess, but she’s determined to make it work.
With impending war and tenuous alliances, it will be up to Essie to unite her two peoples. And maybe get her hands on elven conditioner while she’s at it.
You can buy it on Amazon in both Kindle & Paperback!
1: Can you share the inspiration behind this novel?
I was reading Lindsay Buroker’s Agents of the Crown series where the elf was a sidekick character with secrets and a reason he’d been kicked out by his people. He was my favorite character from the series, and that sparked the idea for Fierce Heart with the elf warrior starring as the main character. Plus, I really love the marriage of convenience type stories and thought it would be a fun twist to have an elf caught up in one. Fierce Heart just kind of took off from there.
2. Do you have a favourite scene/line (that is free of spoilers, of course)?
It is so hard to pick a favorite line or scene! One of my favorite, short scenes is the moment Essie decides to wear some of Farrendel’s clothes, and his befuddled reaction to her doing it. But I also really love the elven wedding scene and the scene where Essie sees Farrendel’s morning exercise routine for the first time. 😉
3. This book is defined as a romantic fantasy (or fantasy romance?), yes? What are your favourite aspects of that genre and do you have any tips for those of us looking to start writing in it?
I used to not be much of a romance person. Give me all the action and adventure and death and destruction. But authors like K.M. Shea and Lindsay Buroker have shown me that you can write great romances with lots of actions that are also extremely hilarious. People are funny. A lot of situations can be humorous, if you look at them the right way. My favorite romantic fantasy books are ones that have that right balance of humor, romance, and adventure.
The adventure and the world is what sets romantic fantasy apart from the general romance category. It is expected to have something more of a plot since it is also set in a fantasy world. It is expected to have a cool world, even if the world isn’t as developed as an epic fantasy.
If you are setting out to write a romantic fantasy, you will want to brush up on the genre tropes for both romance and fantasy since you will be writing a book that balances tropes from both those genres. You’ll have to study both what makes a good romance work and what makes a good fantasy work. Reading other romantic fantasy books also helps to give you a feel of what other authors are doing, what the genre expectations are, and what books you can mention as similar when marketing.
4. The characters in this book are fabulous, so relatable. How did you go about crafting them, and the world in which they live?
Fierce Heart was one of those shiny new ideas that I wasn’t supposed to write. I got the idea, set aside what I was currently writing, and wrote the book without any outlining or pre-planning. It was a rush, let me tell you!
I am a plot first writer, so my initial ideas for stories usually include a pretty decent plot arc. My character development and storyworld development are designed as I go along to do whatever is necessary for the plot to work. I don’t usually develop plot, character, theme, or storyworld fully separate from each other.
For example, I knew early on that I wanted Essie, my human princess, to be a very cheerful, very talkative type of person. I was going for humor, so pairing someone so very un-elf-like with my elf warrior prince was sure to give rise to plenty of funny situations. I also knew I wanted to write a story where the princess actually cheerfully agrees to a marriage alliance. It is expected for the princess to object to a marriage of alliance. To hold out for true love and do whatever it takes (like run away and make bad decisions) to get it. Thus, for the sake of my plot, the humor, and the theme, I developed Essie into the person she is in the book.
5.) Is there anything you can share about the upcoming sequels? Hints? 😉 How many books will be in the series?
War Bound is book 2, and I have already started writing it! Essie’s family plays a bigger role in this book, and I LOVE how the interactions with her brothers and Farrendel are going.
I am notoriously bad when it comes to deciding how long my series are going to be. I tend to get ideas for 2 or 3 books, but as I write those books, I get ideas for 2 or 3 more.
My initial plan was for the series to be 3 books. BUT as I have been writing and brainstorming, a few of the side characters have been calling for stories. Right now, I’m thinking the series will be around 4 or 5 books, but I am not opposed to keeping writing the series as long as I keep getting ideas.
6. Do you have any book recommendations to help tide us over til the next book releases?
If you haven’t read anything by her yet, the first author that comes to mind is K.M. Shea. She has two books (Red Rope of Fate and its sequel Royal Magic) that feature elf-human romances. She also has a number of fairy tale retellings, twists on legends, and even an urban fantasy series set in Chicago that is absolutely hilarious. All of her stuff is completely clean, and I highly recommend everything she’s ever written.
Another good author to check out would be W.R. Gingell. She writes everything from fairy tale retellings to urban fantasy. Her stuff is always very plot twisty and slightly crazy and blows my mind every time I read it!
If you want something a little darker with more adventure, Sylvia Mercedes writes books with magic powered by possessing spirits called shades. She’s working on a series retelling Beauty and the Beast right now, and the cover for the first book looks amazing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tara Grayce writes YA fantasy and romantic fantasy filled with lots of humor, spunky leading ladies, and broken heroes. When she isn’t writing, she spends time with her chocolate lab, Miss Kisses.
You can purchase Lost in Averell, the first book in her Princes by Night fantasy series, on Amazon.
You can also receive a Free Novella!!! Tara’s Beauty and the Beast retelling set during the Regency, Torn Curtains, is available for free for newsletter subscribers. You can sign up here.