[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Andrea Robertson and ask her five(ish) questions. Andrea’s novel ‘Forged in Fire and Stars‘ is out now!]
Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
Andrea Robertson: My novels are usually character driven and Forged in Fire and Stars is no exception. Ara crept into my head one fall – I have a specific memory of walking (my ideas attend to appear while I’m out for a walk) on a crisp, cool day surrounded by trees with leaves of gold, bronze, and red. I knew Ara was the heroine of the story, but that she was unusual. Unlike many protagonists, Ara wasn’t a warrior. She was a blacksmith. I loved the idea of a role that you often find in the background of a fantasy being brought to the forefront. From there I moved onto building Ara’s world, answering key questions: Why is Ara’s role as a blacksmith important? Where does she live and what is happening there? And, most importantly, what does Ara want most and fear most in her life?
What character do you most relate to and why?
I think this answer will surprise readers because it’s Eamon. The younger of Saetlund’s exiled royal twins, Eamon is an important character but he has an unusual role in the book. I relate to him the most because he loves history and scholarship (I have a Ph.D. in history) and he suffers from a chronic illness. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 18 months ago. My life transformed completely when I developed this condition and I empathize with Eamon’s frustrations at the way he feels his illness limits him.
Why do you feel young adult books with strong characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?
When I was a teen in the 90s we were less engaged with social and political issues. I’m so impressed that today’s teens are leaders in climate change, economic inequality, and civil rights. That kind of leadership requires courage and determination. I think (and hope) that strong characters are popular because today’s teens can relate to and are inspired by characters who fight for what they believe in.
Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.
Ara has always known the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of Saetlund, forging legendary weapons to arm warriors and protect the kingdom. She’s been told it’s her fate to inherit the title and become the next Loresmith. But since the monarchy’s downfall in a vicious conquest years before, Ara has never truly believed she would be able to take up her duty.
But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne and return Ara to her place as the Loresmith–Ara’s whole world turns upside down.
Suddenly, Ara must leave her small mountain village and embark on a dangerous adventure where she will uncover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even face the gods themselves. With a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, and dark forces following their every move, Ara must use all her skills to forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.
Readers will discover a unique world full of magic, twists, thrills, and romance!
What’s next for you in the book world?
I’m currently working on the sequel to FORGED and have a couple of secret projects that I can’t talk about yet.
Who is your favorite writer right now and why?
Oh dear. This is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many incredible writers out their right now. Since I have to pick, I’ll say Leigh Bardugo. I adore her Grishaverse series – what an extraordinary, captivating world and her characters are irresistible.