On their own, the elements of ice and flame are powerful. Together, they have an ability like no other… like influencing author Elly Blake to incorporate them into her debut novel Frostblood.
“I have a pile of unfinished manuscripts, but only two of my story ideas came from actual dreams. Frostblood is one of them,” said Blake. One day after waking up from a vivid dream about “a girl with powers over fire,” the name Ruby jumped into Blake’s head.
Frostblood follows Ruby, a teenage Fireblood who has to hide her powers of fire from the Frostblood reign. After being discovered and captured for her powers, she is approached by Frostblood rebels in a plan to destroy the tyrant king. But even intense training and a handsome, challenging young man cannot protect Ruby from her own unpredictable power or the maniacal King.
The finished novel about Ruby’s life is actually nothing like the way it began. “Not much remains from the first draft,” said Blake. Only the prison scene in the beginning of the book and some of the scenes after are from the original. “I rewrote large portions before I ever sent it off to agents, and then revised heavily after receiving feedback.
“My original idea was more of a fairy tale type thing, but as I wrote, it came out a little more Grimm than Disney. The first draft really lacked conflict, so I’m glad it changed.”
While Ruby is a strong Fireblood, she “has unconsciously accepted many of the false beliefs about herself that were imposed on her by the Frostblood culture.” Ruby herself is very passionate, emotionally open, and has a quick temper. Although she has faults, she is a fierce and awesome female character.
“I identify with a character who is passionate to a fault, who cares and feels more than she should, but someone who also doesn’t hurt anyone unnecessarily,” said Blake. “I truly love that about Ruby, maybe because it helps me explore accepting that side of myself.
“In book two, Fireblood, Ruby comes to terms with her powers more,” added Blake. “So I suppose there are themes around each title. . .”
Where Ruby is passionate, Arcus – the “handsome, challenging young man” mentioned above – is mysterious. A young, talented Frostblood, Arcus not only infuriates but also helps Ruby throughout the novel. He’s emotionally closed off and secretive, the polar opposite of Ruby.
The name Arcus is actually a weather term – “a low, horizontal cloud formation associated with the leading edge of a thunderstorm.” Although the author considers herself an “instinctive namer, which means [she]often [uses]the first name that pops into [her]head and feels right” she did do some research before choosing a name for Arcus.
But some of the characters she did name instinctively: Ruby, Brother Thistle, Doreena, and Marella. “I often have doubts about character names later in the process and have an urge to change them all, but most stay as is.”
At the end of the day, Blake prefers frost to fire. “Frost! It’s so pretty when it covers everything!” It doesn’t hurt that her adopted husky mix Sasha has Frostblood eyes that “make her look like a Frost Wolf.”