1. For those that haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale, can you tell us a little about it?
The Bear and the Nightingale is an historical fantasy set in Russia during the Middle Ages. It combines events from history with characters and tropes from Slavic folklore and fairy tales. It follows the adventures of Vasilisa Petrovna, the daughter of a minor aristocrat, who can see the world of spirits in Slavic folklore that is hidden to most.
2. There’s an immense amount of detail and mythology in the series, but what drew you to write about Russian folklore?
I have always been fascinated by Russia, the culture and the history. I was a Russian major in college, and I lived in Moscow while I was studying. So I had a background in Russian, and when I decided to write a book, writing a book set in Russia was a natural choice.
3. What was the writing process like for the books, with lots of characters did you have to map them out individually?
No, the characters grew organically out of the plot. Writing the books was mostly a process of trial and error. Emphasis on error.
4. Did you always plan for Vasya’s story to be a trilogy?
I knew what I wanted the story to be, but I didn’t know how much plot I could fit into one book, so as I gradually realized that I had too much plot for one book, it became three.
5. The series already has lots of fans and reviewers who adored it, how did it feel when the early praise started coming in?
Great. Terrifying. Validating. I felt proud, I felt like a fraud. It’s weird seeing people read and respond to a book you’ve been working on by yourself for a long time.
6. Now that The Girl in the Tower is released, what are you working on next?
Book 3 in the series, called The Winter of the Witch, will be out later this year. I just turned a second draft in.
7. Can you give us any little sneak peaks into what will happen in The Winter of the Witch?
Not everyone will survive. There will be a lot of returning characters and a few new ones. Possibly some romance.
8. The cover designs for the series are just stunning. Did you have any input into their look?and what was your reaction when you saw the final designs?
I adore the covers. I had pretty minimal input, just reacting to things I was shown, but Aitch, the artist, and the entire design team did a fantastic job.
9. Can you recommend a great book to read in 2018?
Just finished an ARC of a fantasy debut called The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith that I really enjoyed
10. Thanks so much for taking part in this Q&A, is there anything you’d like to tell readers to
finish us off?
Think that about covers it. I hope you enjoyed the novels!