I'm joined on the blog today by author Jane Kindred whose latest release The Fallen Queen–the first in a new romantic fantasy trilogy–released earlier in December from Entangled Publishing. She was nice enough to answer a few questions for me, and I hope you all enjoy the interview!
All the characters have unusual names; are there any interesting stories about how you came to choose each of them?
Many of them are obscure names from classical angelology and demonology. I wanted to use as many actual angelic/demonic names as I could, but I didn’t want the typical “Michael” or “Gabriel” so I did a lot of research using various sources. I came across Anazakia and it sounded so much like the Russian pronunciation of Anastasia that I thought it would be perfect for my heroine. Belphagor is also a classical fallen angel or demon name, while I gave Vasily a Russian name because he grew up an orphan on the streets of Raqia and was given his name by other street demons who spoke the language of the world of Man (or perhaps named himself; he hasn’t told me yet). Aeval is a fairy queen from Irish folklore, whom I particularly liked because of Brian Merriman’s 18th century poem The Midnight Court. And Kae is the little boy stolen away by the Snow Queen in Hans Christian Andersen’s story. I could go on, but suffice it to say, yes there are many interesting stories behind the names. :)
Is there one thing about either the fantasy world you created or your characters that you can remember being the first piece of The Fallen Queen puzzle to pop into your head and get your wheels turning?
The first thing that came to me was a demon gambler and conman with a name that started with a “B.” My story ideas usually start with a character, and the characters usually come with a name. In Belphagor’s case, I just knew the first letter, which is why I started looking up demon names that started with “B.” As soon as I saw “Belphagor,” I knew it was him.
Are any of the details of the setting of St. Petersburg, Russia based on observations you’ve made in person or did they come strictly from online/library research?
All of them came from personal observation. I traveled to St. Petersburg a few years ago with a summer language immersion program and lived with a Russian family. Every location and detail of St. Petersburg and Novgorod in the book are actual places I visited. (The Lesnoy District flat is the flat I stayed in; I feel kind of bad about “destroying” it, because it was lovely, as was my hostess.) I’ve since spent a lot of time pouring over floor plans of the Winter Palace—including virtually crawling around on the roof via the Hermitage’s webcam—and even studying train schedules, because I wanted everything to be as real as it could.
If The Fallen Queen were made into a movie, what would the tagline on the promotional poster say?
Well, honestly, if I were any good at coming up with taglines, there would be one on the book cover. ;) But maybe part of the first sentence would work: Heaven is not the paradise you’ve been told.
Is there one particular aspect of writing fantasy that you find the most challenging or the most rewarding?
I love writing fantasy for the same reason I love reading it: I love to get so caught up in the details of another world that it seems real, and especially a world full of magic. The most rewarding part of creating a world like that is when readers feel they’ve been there themselves and feel the same affection for my characters that I do.
Do we get to meet other types of demons other than air and fire in this book or in future installments?
Every angel and demon has a dominant element, so yes, there are some of each in every book (although now that I think about it, the only waterspirits in the books are full-blooded angels), and there are different characteristics and powers depending on their angelic order.
If we asked Anazakia to sum up her feelings on the events of The Fallen Queen in one word, what would it be?
I think she might sum it up with a tarot card: Bashnya (The Tower).
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Jane! You can find more information on Jane and her books here:
THE FALLEN QUEEN
Heaven can go to hell.
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.