Make sure to pick up Heartstone wherever books are sold!
KRK: When you were writing Heartstone, how much did you let the original Pride and Prejudice influence you? Did you reread it multiple times to get the feel, or did you set it aside so you could create something all your own?
- EKW: I re-read P&P a lot. Certainly more times than when it was required reading in school. As the story progressed it became its own animal, but it's deeply rooted in the original tale.
- KRK: I've reread it quite a few times myself. *Hitches up trousers with a smug look on her face*
- EKW: Tobble the Hobgoblin is my favorite. Troublesome, mischievous, yet it's somehow impossible to stay angry with him. Come to think of it, same goes for Aunt Lissa. Those two are tied for favorite.
- KRK: He is kind of a kick. But we both know Charis is my hero :) Then Akarra <3
They were in a stone tunnel, unadorned save for a number repeated on the walls. 105? One hundred and five of what? Anjey's breath came in white clouds as she puzzled over their possible meanings. People in bizarre clothes bustled around her. Some bore signs written in an unfamiliar script; others had painted their faces as if for battle. Blue and yellow seemed the colors of choice, and most people also wore what Anjey assumed was the crest of some powerful family on their surcoats and jerkins. A Rider's family, perhaps? It made sense; the crest featured two drawn swords and a creature that looked a little like a humpbacked beoryn. From somewhere quite close came a thunderous roar and -- what in the world? -- the sound of an organ.
"Uh, Lady Charis?" Anjey moved closer to the Rider, thankful at least one familiar face had followed her into this mysterious . . . whatever it was. "Please tell me you recognize this place."
"I'm afraid not." Charis didn't take her eyes from the opposite end of the tunnel, where it sounded as if something quite dreadful was happening. "In fact, Miss Bentaine, I don't think we're in Arle at all."
"I had the horrible feeling you were going to say that."
Charis rested one hand on the hilt of her sword. "We should investigate. Stay close."
I also had the feeling you were going to say that, Anjey thought, but followed Charis out.
They emerged, blinking in the stark daylight of an unfamiliar sun and surrounded by hundreds, no, thousands of screaming strangers. Anjey turned around to take it all in. Seats rose on all sides, higher than she could see. An arena? A chant ran through the crowd, the words incomprehensible but the emotion unmistakable. These people, whoever they were, were positively drunk on excitement.
Anjey bumped into Charis's shoulder. She'd loosened her grip on her sword and stood staring at the spectacle in the center of the arena. "Is that . . . ice?" Anjey asked.
"It must be," Charis said. "How curious."
Not far beyond them, behind panes of dirty glass, figures moved across the ice with an elegance Anjey had only ever seen in dragonkind. Half wore the familiar blue-and-yellow surcoats with the crest of crossed swords; the others wore red. Each carried a long staff. They seemed to be locked in a vicious albeit graceful struggle for a small black object, which each color tried to steer toward the net-draped boxes at each end of the arena.
"Oh! It's a game," Anjey said under her breath.
"Don't you see? It's a game!" Anjey said. "Watch."
Just at that moment, a bearded figure in blue broke from the line of red guarding the opposite box. The crowd roared. The player drew back his staff, sighted aim, and--
A red player slammed into the man in blue, sending them both crashing into the ice. The arena erupted. Boos, hisses, and cries for justice filled the air. As they watched, the two players rose and exchanged words; inaudible of course, but even Anjey could see their intent. Gloves fell to the ice. Helms and staves were thrown aside. They circled each other, fists raised.
The crowd went wild.
Charis turned to Anjey with a smile. "I like this game."
KRK: When you were little, what characters and in what books were your heroes - who made you want to tell stories?
- EKW: When I was very young, I had an entire shelf dedicated to the Boxcar Children. I admired their independence, and I loved following their adventures. Fast forward a few years; I discovered Narnia with the Pevensie children. They were the ones who made me want to tell my own stories, first in other worlds, and then in my own.
- KRK: I definitely read some of both of those...*hangs head in shame* I was a Potter girl myself - that and Ella Enchanted.
KRK: If you were attacked by a sorceress and turned into a bird, what kind of bird would you be turned into (based on your personality and preference)?
- EKW: Snowy owl. Likes the cold, good night vision, only wears two colors and still looks super classy. It would also be my magical tribute to Hedwig. (Too soon? Too soon.)
- KRK: I LOVE IT. Not too soon (okay maybe too soon), but I can totally see it.
HEARTSTONE by Elle Katherine White
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.
They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.
Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.
Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.
It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.
Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.