(Once Upon A Curse, #1)
~By: Kaitlyn Davis
~Released: February 17th, 2015
~Length: 215 Pages
~Genres: New Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, Fairy Tale Retelling
This is a KDP select novel. $2.99 to buy or free on Kindle Unlimited!
Will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart?
Once Upon A Time meets La Femme Nikita in Gathering Frost, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.
Jade was only a little girl when the earthquake struck. Before her eyes, half of New York City disappeared, replaced by a village that seemed torn out of a storybook. Horses and carriages. Cobblestone streets. A towering castle. And, above all, a queen with the magical ability to strip emotions away.
Ten years later and Jade has forgotten what it is to feel, to care...even to love. Working as a member of the queen's guard, she spends most of her time on the city wall staring at the crumbling skyscrapers of old New York. But everything changes when the queen's runaway son, Prince Asher, returns. Jade is tasked with an unusual mission--to let the Prince capture her, to make him trust her, and then to betray his secrets to the crown. In return, she'll earn her freedom. But life outside the queen's realm is more than Jade bargained for. Under Asher's relentless taunts, her blood begins to boil. Under his piercing gaze, her heart begins to flutter. And the more her icy soul begins to thaw, the more Jade comes to question everything she's ever known--and, more importantly, whose side she's really on.
I've always been a writer. I grew up duct taping my novels together, started writing complete manuscripts in high school and studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. Upon graduating, I decided it was finally time to actually give my dream career a chance. So, of course, I started writing a young adult paranormal romance series -- and no, I'm not jumping on the bandwagon. I've been a true paranormal supporter for my entire life! I blame my obsession almost completely on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my all-time favorite television show. And, before you ask: Yes, I own every season... even the post WB ones! I especially challenge anyone to watch the first three seasons and not fall in love with Angel, securing a lifelong love of vampires! Other culprits of my paranormal obsession are some of my favorite authors: JK Rowling, Raymond Feist, Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, Lynne Ewing and Tamora Pierce.
~ Connect with Kaitlyn Online ~
This is the scene where Jade and Prince Asher meet for the first time! It's a little different than the Disney version :)
There are no sounds outside of the fire, no moans of pain, and instantly I am on edge. The commander would say it was nothing—that part of a building slipped free and happened to fall on our mine. Nothing more.
But the back of my neck tingles.
Then it is cold.
Metal presses against my skin, the shape of a circle. I recognize the barrel of a gun when I feel one.
"Don't move," a voice whispers, close to my ear. A voice meant to menace, but the ugly tone sounds unnatural, unconvincing.
I should be afraid. I should feel my insides tighten. But they are cool, calm. So hard that I wonder if a bullet would even break my skin.
A second passes and he does nothing. No hand grabs for my shirt. The gun does not press deeper into my skin. I wait for pain, but his touch is gentle. Too gentle for this world.
I react swiftly, throwing my head to the side and reaching my arm back to catch his. I twist my elbow, bending his arm unnaturally until his fingers open and the gun clangs uselessly against the floor. Blindly, I reach down, feeling the tile as I flip myself over. My grip tightens on the handle.
One swing of my arm and we have changed places.
"Don't move," I say, unable to stop my smirk. The gun is aimed at his chest, but I doubt I will use it. Bullets are too precious to waste.
My eyes travel higher, up his neck, past his square jaw, until I meet his eyes. His face holds shock, a little awe. I've seen that look before, during training rounds with the guard. I'm much tougher than I look.
But there is something else.
The fire behind me floods through the window, illuminating his features and I swear that I've seen them before.
"Are you going to shoot me?" His voice holds a musical quality. It captures me, makes me lose myself for a moment. And suddenly I remember. In a burst, recognition shocks my brain.
The ice-blond hair. The perfect pale skin. The only difference is his eyes, which seem dark as midnight in this light.
It's Queen Deirdre's son. Prince Asher.
"No," I say quickly.
Okay, elevator pitch time! If you had to tell someone about your new book Gathering Frost in a minute or less, what would you say?
Ooh, this is always tough! Here goes… Gathering Frost is a dystopian reimagining of Sleeping Beauty—only this time, beauty is a ruthless soldier and the prince isn't her dance partner…he's her target! But will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart and make this unfeeling beauty learn to love? You have to read it to find out!
And if you had to describe the book in three words, what would they be?
Romantic, imaginative, and…thrilling!
This book is part dystopian, and part inspired by Sleeping Beauty. Can you tell us what this crazy world is like and how you came up with it?
As always, my imagination ran away with me! I first got this crazy idea for a fairy tale apocalypse where different fairy tale characters took over our world. And the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. The world I first imagined morphed into this creation that was half fairy tale and half real—two parallel universes have smashed together leaving a patchwork landscape behind. I decided to set Gathering Frost in New York City, and I love the way both worlds in this story intermix in New York. There are towering abandoned skyscrapers paired with an old-European style village—a very cool mash up! And with each new book in the series, the world will be teased more and more!
So, what idea came first? Did you set out to retell Sleeping Beauty or did you come up with the story first and then rework the fairy tale aspect into it?
As the world became more and more clear to me, one character kept invading my thoughts—Jade, my main character! She's a soldier and a fighter, not your average hero. And this single phrase just popped into my thoughts, a line I included in the first chapter: "And I'm not. I'm not the good guy. I'm the one who puts the good guys in their graves." And I loved it! I started wondering how Jade would have become this way and what her back story was, and that's when the reimagining of Sleeping Beauty came to me. Only in my tale, she's not in a coma, her heart is the thing that's asleep, frozen over. And she's just waiting for the prince to make it beat again.
This is the first book in the Once Upon A Curse series. Any idea what comes next?
Of course! I'm already working on the second book in the series, Withering Rose, which is a retelling of Beauty & The Beast—only this time, Beauty is cursed and the beast is the only one who can save her! Beauty has magical powers and she's not being trapped by the beast, she's taking refuge with him. I don't like to just rehash the same old story, so each book will take an original fairy tale and flip it around somehow!
Do you have a favorite fairy tale princess?
Well, growing up I was obsessed with Belle and Ariel! Belle because she was the uber book nerd like me, and Ariel cause, well, mermaids are just really cool!
Is there a message in this series that you want readers to grasp?
As cheesy as it might sound, the moral of my story is fairly similar to that of every fairy tale (it just takes a much more convoluted path to get there!)—love wins! It can conquer any obstacle, overcome any hurdle, surprise you, give you a reason to live, give you the heart and strength to keep fighting. In the end, if you have real love, you can handle anything. Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic, but I truly believe that.
What is the most important thing you've learned as a writer?
Trust in yourself and your fans. In my humble opinion, that is the most important thing I've learned! There will always be an agent who rejects you, a reviewer who gives you one star, or someone else out there to hurt your confidence in some way. But you as the writer must believe in your work and must keep pushing forward. Anytime I have any trouble believing in myself, I think of all of my amazing fans who reach out with such enthusiastically kind words, and I know at least a few other people out there believe in me too.
Do you ever read reviews written about your books?
Definitely! The great ones are amazing, and provide a much-needed ego-boost for those moments of complete self-doubt, but bad reviews have their place as well. No writer is perfect--at least I'm certainly not! And anytime someone gives useful criticism, I use it to improve upon my next project.
What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
What comes after! During the writing process, I get totally lost in my own world and I let the characters take me on a journey. But after, I'm thrown back into real life and that's when the doubts creep in! Will people like it? Does it suck? Is it totally boring? Is the romance completely flat? Can people see the curveball coming from a mile away? The hardest part about writing is cutting off those questions and trusting in the book I spent so much time crafting.
State 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I'm scarily obsessed with puppies.
2) I chipped a tooth while surfboarding.
3) I'm a complete candy cane hoarder around Christmastime (and a total candy corn hoarded around Halloween!).
4) I love happy endings—the cheesier, the better!
5) I detox with reality TV… and justify it as character research.
What's up next for you?
Lots…too many! I'm working on the third book in my A Dance of Dragons series, The Phoenix Born, as well as the accompanying novellas. I'm just getting started with an outline for Withering Rose, the second book in my Once Upon A Curse series. And I'm editing a new novel that I might publish under a pen name—it's a chick lit contemporary romance called Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist! The first book I've ever written without magic of any kind!
Thank you for answering all of these questions!
Thank you so much for hosting me!! :)
By Kaitlyn Davis
Five Ways My Sleeping Beauty Is Way Cooler Than The One We Grew Up With!
Okay, I have to start by admitting that I am totally Disney obsessed and think each princess is absolutely perfect in her own way! I may be partial to Belle and Ariel, but Sleeping Beauty is still a Disney classic I could rewatch again and again and again!
But when updating a fairy tale, a writer is allowed to take liberties—and take liberties I did! Jade, the sleeping beauty in my novel, is completely different than the Aurora we all know and love! She's tougher, more modern, and made for a post-apocalyptic world. So here are five ways I think my princess kicks some Disney ass :)
1) She's not in a spell-induced coma during the major action! Jade's curse isn't one of actual sleep—it's her heart that is cursed. It's frozen over and she's in an emotional sleep—unable to love, but still able to kick butt during the entirety of the novel!
2) No insta-love for our prince and princess! While Aurora and the prince met once upon a dream and fell in love during their first dance in the woods, Jade and Prince Asher don't start out quite so smoothly. He puts a gun to her head, she punches him in the face, he takes her captive, she tries to escape…you know, the usual!
3) She doesn't need a prince to fight her battles! Jade can slay her own dragons, thank you very much! She's independent and a fighter, and pulls off some pretty awesome actions scenes during the course of the novel!
4) No fairy gifts of beauty or song! Jade is just a plain old human, no extra magic-induced gifts or fairy friends! She has to rely on her own strength to overcome the battle ahead!
5) Character growth takes center stage! While princess Aurora pretty much remains her kind beautiful self from start, to curse induced sleep, to finish—Jade has a tough road to overcome and she changes a lot along the way, all for the better. And those are the characters I enjoy reading about the most!
So you might be wondering now, how is Jade like sleeping beauty at all? Well, you can read Gathering Frost and find out! But I will say this—they both wish for more with their lives, they both miss their families, they both have adventurous spirits, they both fall under an evil curse, and without giving too much away, true love's kiss might be involved a little bit too :)
--Grand Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card & 1 digital copy of the Complete Midnight Fire Series
--Two Second Place Winners: 1 digital copy of the Complete Midnight Fire series (INT)
~Materials and images provided by YA Bound Book Tours.