Solstice greetings, everyone! Today's guest on the blog is A.E. Ross, talking about their new fantasy novel Run In The Blood, which debuts on December 25, 2018. Pirates, mythical creatures, royalty and magic – it sounds like there's everything to love about this book!
Please tell us about Run In The Blood. Is it a story that's been years in the making, or one that just hit you amidships and ran away with you?
Hi Elisabeth! Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited about Run In The Blood. This story actually first came into existence in 2012, as a word doc titled “YA Fantasy.” Five years later, it’s no longer Young Adult and it’s definitely come a long way. It’s something I kind of sat on and added thoughts to for a long time, until one day I decided that if I didn’t just start writing right then I probably never would. The first seed of the story was the main character, Aela Crane, and the rest of the narrative formed around her as I wrote. I really wanted to write about a pirate girl who who could kick ass and speak to dragons.
What is it about the fantasy genre that inspires you?
I read a lot of fantasy growing up. As a kid, I was super into Redwall, and as a teen I read pretty much any fantasy book I could get my hands on. I remember being really into Sara Douglass’ Wayfarer Redemption series. I think the thing that excited me most about fantasy (and still does) is the opportunity to create your own world. You can build it from the ground up, and as a queer person, it’s nice to be able to choose not to include the misogyny, homophobia and transphobia and many other issues that plague us and other marginalized groups in the real world.
Do you write in any other genres?
I do! Fantasy is my first love, but I also really enjoy crime/mystery novels. I have one in the works right now that’s set in a small town based on the one I’m from. I’d love to try my hand at sci-fi in the future as well, that’s what I’ve been reading a lot of lately.
I saw on your website that you are an anthropologist, which I find fascinating. It must give you a little bit of insight into creating fictional worlds. What is the most difficult part of world-building for you? Are you incredibly detailed and have it all worked out before you start, or is it an organic process that just grows as you write?
Yes, I did my undergraduate degree in anthropology, with a focus on the physical and forensic elements. Studying the way culture is created and defined certainly opened me up to understanding the breadth of information it takes to create a world. There are so many elements that go into our societies, and the way they all function together can be the tricky part. I tried to have some major elements figured out when I started the book, like the astrologically-based religion, and what kind of scientific advancements they might have. The story in Run In The Blood has two different cultural groups in it, both advanced in different ways, and it was interesting to find the places where they intersected.
What's your next project?
The next story I have coming out is a fairytale retelling in “Once Upon A Rainbow Vol. 3” from NineStar Press called Green Things Grow From Cinders. It’s a millennial take on Cinderella, featuring a trans man protagonist, some witchy plant magic, and a rooftop wedding reception. That should be released in Spring 2018.
I also have a few works in progress, like my aforementioned crime novel as well as a YA novel set in an alternate history version of Canada, and a follow-up to Run In The Blood that’s still in early stages.
What mythical creature or animal would best represent you as an avatar?
I think probably a mothman. That’s kinda my vibe-- just hanging back and spooking people at first and then before you know it, bam! Your bridge is gone. Also, I don’t know if you’ve seen the statue of him in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, but the Mothman has a rock hard booty.
I always wanted to be Mothra, myself.--EMH
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today! Where can readers interact with you on the web?
You can find me on Twitter at @aeeeross, and follow me for book news on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aeeeross. I also have a tumblr where I sometimes post about writing, that’s at www.ae-ross.tumblr.com.