Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On Thick Ice

When Titanic came out, everyone I knew went to watch it. I didn’t.

Maybe it was the clip I saw where the only dialogue seemed to be “Jack!” “Rose!” “Rose!” “Jack!” or just the fact that I’d prefer to see the disaster minus the romance. Either way, though, I chalked Titanic up as one of those famous films I’d never see, and that was that.

Fast forward to 2014. I’d been working on a series of fantasy romances set on ships. Each story featured an exciting location, from the fantasy world’s version of the Sargasso Sea to the Bermuda Triangle, so eventually I ended up in arctic waters. With icebergs. And since I like watching movies that reflect whatever environment I’m writing about, I bit the bullet and watched Titanic.

What do you know? I ended up enjoying it.

Not the romance part. I read a book while that was going on, and while Rose’s evil fiance was evilling around. But the visual effects were stunning, from the first rush of water into the engine room to the final moment when the ship split in two and went down. All the beauty and grandeur, crushed and swallowed by the sea. I grieved a lot more for the liner than I did for the lovers.

So I bought a book about the sinking, and that turned out to focus not just on the ship, but on the iceberg as well. If I thought the visuals of Titanic were stunning, so are those of icebergs. They can be arched and hollowed with a strange natural architecture, and peaks that rise up for hundreds of feet. Best of all, the book followed the berg from its birth in the High Arctic to its southward journey. There was a fascinating sense that the iceberg and the ship both traced lines that would, eventually, intersect with fatal results.

That was when I knew such an iceberg had to be in my story—a towering mountain of ice that would cross paths with a sailing ship.

Vinsen Solarcis, the captain of Fallstar, knows better than to go near icebergs of any size. Especially when he has a passenger on board, a violinist called Maggie Juell, whom he’s fallen for. He wants more than anything to keep her safe. But his ship rescues a castaway who claims her ship was struck by an iceberg, and the rest of her crew—injured and starving—are on the iceberg itself. Because Vinsen’s ship is closest to the iceberg, he ventures as close as he dares, to try to help the survivors.

The iceberg doesn’t smash his ship. It does something worse.

All About Romance calls The Coldest Sea "a well-written, engaging fantasy romance with a plot that kept me turning pages until well past the time I’d meant to go to bed". Read an excerpt here!

The Coldest Sea is available now on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Samhain.

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