UFI welcomes Author Elle Katharine White. Thanks for Joining us!!
What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
I love, love, love Agatha Christie murder mysteries. Her books have their own dedicated shelf and I will watch any and every film adaptation of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. For several years now I’ve had a dream of opening an Agatha Christie-themed murder mystery bed-and-breakfast with some friends, if only for the excuse to say once a week, with complete sincerity, “the butler did it!”
What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
I’m an inexperienced but wildly enthusiastic baker, so most evenings when I’m not writing I’ll spend covered in a light dusting of flour as I experiment my way through every kind of bread, scone, and pastry recipe I can find.
What is your favorite part of writing?
There’s a moment, usually around two-thirds of the way through a manuscript, when everything suddenly clicks. It may be backbreaking work getting to that point, but once you reach it, it’s as if a dam has been broken and the story that’s been fighting you the whole time comes pouring out. That’s a magical moment for me and the reason I keep writing.
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
I used to hold to a pretty strict routine when I first started writing: one place, with one chair, on one laptop, for at least two hours. When I started writing professionally, I realized that was never going to work because, spoiler alert, adult life is crazy! You write any chance you get, on anything that happens to be lying around. Putting the words on the page is a huge part of crafting a novel, of course, but there’s much more to writing than that. Character motivations, snippets of dialogue, worldbuilding ideas: they can all come at a moment’s notice and in the most unlikely places, and I’ve learned the importance of not letting those slip away, even if I’m miles from my computer. I keep a journal on me now so I can jot those ideas down wherever I am.
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
A recent book that I loved was China Miéville’s The City and the City, which layered urban fantasy with murder mystery, political thriller, and just a touch of noir. Highly recommend, as I would any of Miéville’s stuff.
How would you pitch Flamebringer and the Heartstone series to someone who has not heard of it before?
Have you ever read or watched Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and thought, okay, this is great, but you know what I’d really like to see? Mr. Darcy riding a dragon. Maybe some monster hunting? Oh, and lots of fantastical creatures.
If you have, the Heartstone series might just be your jam. Heartstone follows the story of Pride & Prejudice, but in a fantasy world where Elizabeth is Aliza, a healer bent on revenge for the death of her little sister, and Darcy is Alastair Daired, who is—you guessed it—a dragon-riding monster hunter. The last two books, Dragonshadow and Flamebringer, answer the question “so what comes after ‘happily ever after’”? (Hint: For our Lizzy and Darcy, it’s more monsters. Lots of monsters.)
Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Flamebringer is set in?
Aliza and Alastair live in the kingdom of Arle, where humans share the land with fantastical creatures collectively called the Oldkind. Among the Oldkind are the Shani, creatures like dragons and hobgoblins who live and work with humans and consider them friends. There are also the Tekari, creatures like ghouls, direwolves, and gryphons, who hate humans and Shani and hunt them for both meat and sport. Between the two are the Idar, those of the Oldkind like merfolk and centaurs who are indifferent to humans and simply want to be left in peace. As a member of the elite warrior class known as the Riders, it is Alastair’s job, alongside his friend and companion, the dragon Akarra, to protect humans and Shani from the creatures who want them dead.
Do you have a favorite scene in Flamebringer?
I loved writing all the little interactions between Aliza and Alastair. Hopefully it’s not too spoilery to say that they fell in love and tied the knot at the end of Heartstone, and as a married couple in the following books they face the gargantuan task of learning to live with each other. They’re still madly in love, but marriage takes a lot of work and no happily ever after comes easy. I loved exploring all the quiet moments that don’t get a lot of romantic press, but are just as important to the relationship as the big stuff. It was so much fun to give the two of them the page and just let them banter, to discover inside jokes, and to laugh with each other.
Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
Of all the characters in the Heartstone series, Tobble the hobgoblin was and is my favorite. He’s tiny, mischievous, has a wicked sense of humor, and can be absurdly petty, but he’s also a loyal friend to Aliza and may or may not be a game changer in the final battle. I loved his voice, his ridiculous quirks, and exploring just how much trouble I could get him into. (It’s a lot.)
What other projects can we look forward to reading from you?
Right now I’m working on a title that will be released from Harper Voyager soon! You can keep an eye on Twitter at @elle_k_writes for release details.
Monsters, manners, and magic combine in this exciting final volume in the Heartstone Trilogy—an exhilarating blend of epic fantasy and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—in which a fearless healer and her dragon-riding husband must stop a reawakened evil from destroying their world.
It starts with the inconceivable: Wydrick, sworn enemy of the Daireds, is back from the dead, possessed by a ghast that grants him immortality and inhuman strength. From the isolated northern mountains, Aliza, Alastair, and Akarra chase him into the dangerous Old Wilds, realizing too late that he’s led them into a blizzard. Before he vanishes, Wydrick utters a warning: A terrible, ancient evil has awoken, hungry for blood, and is headed their way.
The danger is closer than they know. The Tekari—sworn enemies of humans—are openly roaming the kingdom and are headed towards the capital, Edonarle. Then unexpected news arrives: riding like a dark dragon on the winds from the south, an ambassador from the Silent King of Els, has left the shores of the distant desert kingdom for the first time in centuries.
Unknown enemy? Or unexpected ally? Plunged into a dangerous world of royal intrigue and ancient grudges, Aliza and Alastair soon realize it will take more than steel and dragonfire to save their kingdom. For the silence of Els hides a secret that could shake House Daired to its foundations, and the time has come to settle accounts.
Silence, it seems, is about to be broken.
Find Elle and her books