Author of Royal Decoy and Royal Spy
Heather Frost‘s new book Royal Spy will be released on May 20, 2021 and I had the pleasure of interviewing her about the book and her as an author! I’m very excited to share her answers with you. If you haven’t read her books yet, make sure to check them out. My reviews of Royal Decoy and Royal Spy are on this website. If your curious about learning more about the main character, you can read her character interview here!
Enjoy the interview!
Some questions about the book
Which part of Royal Spy are you most excited about for your readers to read?
Ahh, so many parts! I am excited for readers to see the stories weave more together; everyone is headed to Mortise, and one of my favorite scenes in the whole book involves two characters tackling a fight scene together. (Chapter 46, if you wanted to know ☺)
Which character is your favorite and why?
That’s such a hard question, because I love them all for different reasons! Grayson is definitely a favorite, though. He was a character I didn’t plan for, but I can’t imagine the story without him. His scenes flow easily when I’m writing, and my heart just bleeds for him and I want to see him triumph.
What is your favorite kingdom?
Probably Devendra. I’m a mountain, lakes, and open fields kinda girl, so that calls to me. I’d love to vacation frequently in Mortise, though; I love the vibrant culture, and the beaches.
In what time does the story take place?
It’s a medieval type setting. I don’t have a specific year, because it’s a fictional world.
Did you outline the entire Fate of Eyrinthia series at the beginning of writing?
I didn’t outline everything. I generally write more by discovery. But I had some key points in mind, and an end goal. Some of the twists along the way surprise me, but it’s more fun that way. And I have rough drafts written of the next few books, but they need a lot of work; when I was getting ready to publish Royal Decoy, I did some major edits that I need to carry through my rough drafts. In many ways, it can feel like I’m still writing from a blank page, even though I’m not.
How long did it take you to write the book?
Combined, almost a year. In 2015, I wrote the first draft, and it took me about 6 months. When I came back to it after publishing Royal Decoy, I had a lot of re-writing to do, and that took me an additional few months.
Did you do research for fighting scenes and scenes where they talk about wounds?
I do, though I’ll admit a lot of the fighting/training techniques comes from reading other books; I like to put my own spin on things, though. And when it comes to medical questions, I turn to Google, or knowledgeable relatives. (My search history is a pretty scary thing at this point, LOL)
What was your worldbuilding process like?
I sketched out a map, and dropped the countries where I wanted them. Then I started thinking about what their imports and exports might be, because that can tell you a lot about the culture, the clothing, the food. I also wanted each ruling family to feel different, and that impacted the overall world-building. And then of course I relied heavily on the characters themselves, and what they could tell me about their world and experiences. I have characters that walk many different paths; some are royals, some are servants, guards, rebels—it helped to flesh things out a bit more.
How do you hope readers feel when reading the book?
I hope they feel enthralled. I hope the romance sucks them in, that the action and suspense keeps them on the edge of their seats, and that the humor and heart get to them. I hope they enjoy the ride!
Some questions about Heather and her writing
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have always loved telling stories, especially to my younger siblings, and when I was young I would write and illustrate my stories. I was also a voracious reader! When I was eleven, I had pretty much read everything in my small-town library, and I was desperate for a new book. So I decided to write one. I knew what elements I liked in a book (magic, swords, rebels, a strong heroine) and I started writing. I finished when I was twelve, and it was 245 single-spaced pages. And I just kept writing. It’s a part of me, something that I’ll never be able to stop. And I’d never want to, because writing a book is such a thrilling and fun and challenging experience!
At what age did you write your first story or book?
I was 12 when I wrote my first book, though it was never published. I was 21 when my first published book, Seers (YA paranormal romance) came out.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Oh, they come from everywhere! People I meet. Books and articles I read. Movies and TV shows I watch. My ideas usually evolve through asking “what-if” questions; “What if this happened instead?” is a big one that helps me take ideas in a different direction. For instance, “What if the main character wasn’t the princess, but her decoy?” ☺
Do you have a certain way of ‘storing’ ideas so you don’t forget them and can use them later for your story?
I always have a notebook on hand, because sometimes pen and paper just captures the idea better. I also use Google Keep for those snippets of ideas, and I label them in such a way that I can search the ideas when I’m looking for something in particular.
Are there any tips you’d like to share for those who would like to write a book themselves?
The most important advice I have is, don’t give up. Seriously. When you feel like you don’t know enough about writing, write anyway. You learn by doing—and by reading. When you feel like your characters are flat, or the plot is too weak, or the words on the page don’t sound right—don’t give up! Keep working on it. You only fail if you give up. Writing is not an easy thing, and there are many challenges. But if you don’t give up—if you believe in yourself and your story—you will make it.
There are many ways to publish. My first series was through a small publisher, and that was wonderful for me. I chose to indie-publish Royal Decoy, and that has been a wonderful experience. You can choose the right publishing path for you by researching the pros and cons of the different methods (get an agent and a large publisher? Small publisher? Indie?) and by looking at your personal goals.
There are many times in the writing/publishing process that I felt overwhelmed. I have found that having a cheerleader helps immensely. Family. Friends. They can help cheer you on and beg for the next chapter, and that keeps me going. I also recommend having some good self-care to keep you energized, and setting up a routine as well as specific, attainable goals. It can also be helpful to draw out a bigger plan, so you can see what you’re working towards. That helps me stay motivated.
As far as my writing process goes, I usually spend less time outlining and more time diving in and writing by discovery. I always try to have the ending in mind, and some of the twists along the way, but I enjoy the freedom of exploring the world, the characters, and the plot while I’m writing. If I get stuck, then I pull out some of my outlining tools, and that can help me get back on track. But there are so many different ways to write, and while you can learn some great tips from other writers, I really encourage you to start writing and figure out what works best for you. After all, no one else can write the story in your head.