Happy August, friends!
Today I get the pleasure of introducing E.J. Kitchens, author of a number of books including a special Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling today, Wrought of Silver and Ravens. In just a little bit, I’ll be sharing my own review of the book right here on the blog, but for today we’ll focus on a mini interview with some fun questions for the author.
But first, about the book:
The rarest magic is the most dangerous.
Athdar Owain is a hunted wanderer, one determined to keep his secrets and the treasure he carries safe at all costs. When he rescues the Kingdom of Giliosthay’s prince from raiders, he’s rewarded by being forced into the king’s elite Silver Guard. While this gives Athdar a temporary home and some protection from those hunting him, it also makes him responsible for the young prince, who still bears curses from the raiders, and seven enchantress princesses with curses as mysterious and dangerous as their brother’s.
Princess Thea of Giliosthay is a Realm Walker. Betrayed by a trusted guard, her rare gift of enchantment is used to curse her brother and trap herself and her six sisters into a nightly dance with dragons in a secret Realm. The Realm’s prince has the ability to take and twist her magic for his own purposes, and Thea fears what those might be. For when one dances with a prince, a kingdom might be at stake.
Athdar alone can save them, but to trust enchanters is to risk exposure. And Athdar isn’t sure where his loyalties lie.
Wrought of Silver and Ravens is a clean adventure-romance retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses set in The Magic Collectors story world.
Chatting with E.J. Kitchens
Welcome Elizabeth! I’m so happy to have you here today to celebrate the release of your newest book! It really sounds fascinating, and ancient fantasy? Awesome!
Let’s just get right into it. The idea of an ancient fantasy is so cool, and my readers know how much I love a good retelling. Can you tell us what exactly, besides the fairy tale itself, inspired the book?
Oh, lots of things! It’s a long book with lots of fun things.
The biggest two influences, however, are places (Ancient Greece and Crete and the deserts of the Middle East) and stories of lady Biblical manuscript hunters (the fictional Where We Belong by Lynn Austin and the true The Sisters of Sinai by Janet Soskice). Wrought of Silver and Ravens is set in my Magic Collectors story world but in the distant past, so I decided to set it in a land similar to ancient Greece, with a gorgeous walled city overlooking the sea.
I later discovered the heroine’s mother is from a desert kingdom, so I managed a trip to an oasis. I once listened to a textual criticism course, and I loved learning about the ancient manuscripts and the monasteries where some of the early copies of the Bible were found—including one monastery in the Sinai desert that, at one time, you could only get into by being pulled up and over the wall in a basket!—and wanted to include a bit of hunting for old manuscripts (magic-related ones, however) in desert monasteries (this will be in the next book though).
Several movies—Five Weeks in a Balloon, King Solomon’s Mines, and The Moon Spinners—helped inspire me and helped me envision some of the lands for this and future books in the series.
That’s really fascinating! It’s really something how so many things can inspire a single piece of work. And I love the desert angle!
Now that we have the inspiration out of the way, what was your favorite part of writing it? Did anything surprise you?
I was surprised by the characters and how the story turned out! I quickly fell in love with the hero and the group of special guards (the Silver Guards) he joins. The ‘bromance’ between the men, especially the father-son relationship that slowly develops between the loner Athdar and the Captain of the Silver Guard, Galen, is a big part of why I love the book.
Originally, I was focused on getting Athdar, a wanderer, to the castle to meet Princess Thea. The story starts when Athdar is found by Galen near the kingdom’s borders after Athdar rescues the prince from raiders. Originally, I had only a few paragraphs between that and Athdar reaching the city. But, fortunately, I decided to delve into that journey a bit, and I’m so glad I did! I got to meet some of the other Silver Guard in that journey in a way I couldn’t have if they were safe at the castle. Those few boring paragraphs I originally had turned into a couple of my favorite chapters, with characters I love showing and having adventure and doing brave, difficult things.
Also, I was surprised that the story ended up being grittier and the characters, as a critique partner described them, “more real” than in my other, more lighthearted books. It’s not dark, but it is grittier, yet with humor as well.
It’s definitely fun when we, as they authors, get to dive into things we hadn’t initially thought to explore. It opens up so many possibilities!
Okay, I have one more question.
If you could bring one thing from our book into the real world, what (or who) would it be and why?
Oooh. Tough one! I would love to meet some of the characters, Galen especially, but putting them in a modern world, and one without magic, that just wouldn’t seem right somehow. Maybe Athdar’s very special breed of lion? The cubs are pretty cute. Thea’s medallion that lets her travel wherever she’s been before would be pretty handy, however.
Ooo, who doesn’t love cute animals? And I have to say… having a medallion like that would certainly cut down on my commute time!
Thank you, Elizabeth, for joining me today, and best of luck on your release!
Readers, if any of this has piqued your interest, you can grab your copy here or add it to Goodreads here! Don’t forget, you can buy this book on other retailers, too. The author had some issues with the first link, but it should be available here as well.
About E.J. Kitchens
E.J. Kitchens loves tales of romance, adventure, and happily-ever-afters and strives to write such tales herself. When she’s not thinking about dashing heroes or how awesome bacteria are—she is a microbiologist after all—she’s taking photos, reading, or talking about classic books and black-and-white movies. She is the author of the historical fantasy series THE MAGIC COLLECTORS and of several fairytale retellings. She is a member of Realm Makers and lives in Alabama.
Continue the tour!
Tattered Slippers is a joint release of Twelve Dancing Princess retellings. You can find out more about this release or the other books in the collection here.
You can also participate in the Tattered Slippers Challenge! Just use the Instagram post hashtag below and post your pictures.