Let's take a first-look into this enchanting new series with an exclusive Q&A with Alyxandra Harvey.
BP: Okay Alyx, let's get this out of the way because I just have to ask. Is it true you live in a haunted house?
AH: According to most of my friends, it’s very, very true. The most consistent sightings are the old man upstairs and the lady in the kitchen. My father-in-law once had his hair pulled in our kitchen and he was alone. And he’s not the only one. I’ve never seen any ghosts but I have strict rules: I have to sleep here, so everyone has to have manners and absolutely no scaring me in my own house!
BP: A BREATH OF FROST is the first installment in The Lovegrove Legacy. Can you give readers a brief series overview?
AH: The Lovegrove Legacy is about three cousins, Emma, Gretchen, and Penelope, who discover they come from a long line of witches. Emma accidentally breaks a spell bottle that unbinds the cousins’ powers---and releases the warlock spirits of The Greymalkin Sisters. They terrorize London, murdering debutantes from witching families to steal their magical power. Emma keeps finding the bodies so it’s up to her to figure out why and how she’s linked to the Sisters,all while learning to control her powers and sift through family secrets—before another girl is killed.
BP: What is the high concept in A BREATH OF FROST?
AH: I think of A BREATH OF FROST as "Pride and Prejudice" meets "Charmed".
BP: Please tell readers a bit about the book:
AH: A BREATH OF FROST is a historical fantasy set in magical London in 1814; it’s full of witches, magic, family secrets, goblin markets, deer-people, and boys in cravats.
BP: You have a rich history of writing critically acclaimed Regency and Paranormal Romance. On your work, Publishers Weekly has said, “Harvey…delivers a fun adventure in the form of a Victorian mystery novel that captures the feel (and the flaws) of the age.” What is it about this time period and genre that keeps you coming back?
AH: I adore historical fiction and historical fantasy in particular. The 19th century is one of my favorite places to visit. (I also love early medieval Britain and Iron Age Celtic Britain.) I love the Regency for its elegance and vocabulary. And cravats. I do love a good cravat. And I love the Victorian period because they played at being so proper but underneath the manners they were absolutely nuts. I love that.
BP: With rising popularity of shows like American Horror Story Coven and The Witches of East End, fans will be truly enchanted with this series. What makes A BREATH OF FROST different from other tales about witches?
AH: The Regency time period makes the witches of A BREATH OF FROST different from their witchy cousins in the genre. The juxtaposition of the Regency manners and the strict etiquette, with the wild nature of magic, makes this particular world of magic unique.It’s especially relevant for girls in the early 1800s; they were restricted by so many societal rules that it just feels good to give the Lovegrove cousins an edge.
BP: The Drake Chronicles is a big time fan-favorite, especially among vamp fans, but The Lovegrove Legacy is a departure from this ever-popular theme in genre fiction. What is it about witches that inspired this new series?
AH: I love writing about witches. There’s the layer of a secret society of people (like vampire stories--but I can let them play in the sunlight), and the idea of having magical powers has always appealed. There is just so many delicious ways to complicate a character’s life when you introduce witchcraft and magic!
BP: Do you have a particular favorite among witch books, movies, or TV shows of the past?
AH: I love the Harry Potter books, the first season of Charmed, and the witch elements to the new Sleepy Hollow series.
BP: Are there any plot twists you can talk about without giving too much away?
AH: The plot twists in The Lovegrove Legacy often come out of my determination to make magic messy and unpredictable. There’s no spell to make everything easy and solve all problems. And not all problems are magical… romantic problems with handsome boys in cravats are surprisingly even more complicated when you add magic!
BP: On to the characters...can you tell readers a little bit about Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope?
AH: Emma is the practical one of the trio and she's a little lonely as she's always felt as though she doesn't quite fit in. Once she discovers she's a witch, that begins to make sense!
Gretchen is wild and rebellious and impatient. She feels choked by the rules of society and she isn't too keen on learning a new set of witch-society rules.
Penelope is romantic and spoiled and kind and very talented at the pianoforte. She's mad for anything Shakespearean and likes to use odd random bits of Shakespearean insults. She also has a rather prickly temper when her loved ones are insulted.
BP: We know the story centers on the adventures of three young witches but will readers be introduced to any male leads in A BREATH OF FROST?
AH: Absolutely! The male witches in A BREATH OF FROST are an integral part of the story. Cormac Fairfax is part of the Order of the Iron Nail and he’s sent to watch Emma because the Order is suspicious of her link to the magical murders. Gretchen’s twin brother, Godric, has also had his powers suddenly unbound and he’s not enjoying the process one bit.
BP: Is there romance? Please say yes!
AH: There is always romance! I love a good kissing scene, just as much as I love a good ass-kicking! Emma has to work with Cormac Fairfax, who she was falling in love with just a few months ago, before he grew oddly distant and pretended not to know her. But it’s rather difficult for them to ignore each other now that they are thrown together to solve a murder!
BP: Is this book just for young adult audiences or will readers that enjoy adult fiction want to pick this one up?
AH: Though the characters in A BREATH OF FROST are in their late teens and early twenties, there’s no age limit to the reader. A story is a story, no matter the age of the characters!
BP: Is there a message in A BREATH OF FROST that you want readers to grasp?
AH: I don’t write novels to further particular messages, but looking back at my books, I do notice the recurring theme of “finding your tribe” and I think this is especially true of A BREATH OF FROST.
BP: What local community/charitable organizations or writers groups do you belong to?
AH: I am a member of RWA, SFWA, and am applying to CANSCAIP. I don’t belong to any writing groups because I live out in the Canadian countryside and haven’t had a chance to meet many writers. I do envy writers’ group and writers’ retreats that I hear about online though! It always seems like my favourite writers are hanging out together and I’d love to be a fly on the wall.
BP: Have you won any Honors, Citations or Prizes?
AH: In 2010, HEARTS AT STAKE was nominated for their White Pine award.
In 2011, HAUNTING VIOLET was awarded the Red Maple Award’s Honour Book for the Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading. HAUNTING VIOLET also won the UK Wandsworth School’s FAB award.
Romantic Times chose the first three books in The Drake Chronicles (HEARTS AT STAKE, BLOOD FEUD, and OUT FOR BLOOD) as Top Picks.
BP: Tell us anything about you, as a working writer, that you think might be interesting or unusual:
AH: There is a life-size cardboard cutout of Thor watching me as I type this. In the other corner, a cutout of Snape is looking very disapproving, especially when I get distracted making Pinterest pages for my books. He’s so strict!
BP: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Alyx! A BREATH OF FROST hits shelves everywhere on January 7th. Be sure to pre-order your copy now.
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In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft when their individual magical powers unexpectedly begin to manifest. Now, beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring underworld available only to those with power is now open to the
But by claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the Underworld. Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders … because she keeps finding the bodies. Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed …or even worse, before their gifts are stripped away?
Pre-order A BREATH OF FROST at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound