Debut Author Bash – Prisoner of Ice and Snow Ruth Lauren

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When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

Jan’s Review

The story starts out with our main character Valor just after her sister has been arrested for stealing a price jewelry box. We are plunged right into the midst of the action and are pulled along as Valor works a crafty plan to free her sister from a prison no one has escaped in over 300 years. Their are echo of frozen in the amount of sisterly love Valor shows for her dear younger sister Sasha. Their not a whole lot of world building that is set up the story moves along a great pace so that the main audience that the story is meant for does not get bogged down in the details and is very easily drawn to turn the next page to see where the action goes. I am intrigued and wonder if we get more story as the main objective is achieved it not quite where i thought the story was going to go.

Interview with Ruth Lauren

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Ruth Lauren, author of PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW and its sequel SEEKER OF THE CROWN. I live in the West Midlands of England with my family.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Mostly look after my kids! But I love reading, the cinema, and planning where I’m going to travel next.

Do you have a day job as well?

I write full time now, but I had a lot of different jobs before that. The last one was as a primary school teacher.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I can tell you exactly. I started writing in April 2010 and I finished the first draft of that book (I ambitiously went straight for a novel – it wasn’t necessarily a success) about three months later.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

PRISONER is actually the first fantasy book I’ve ever written – what I wrote before was contemporary. But I’ve always loved fantasy and at the point I wrote PRISONER I really needed a change.

Where do you get your ideas?

Other books, TV shows, films, written articles, news pieces – so usually media of some sort.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I can’t say that I do. I do get problems with plotting, problems with motivation, issues with self-doubt, but I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I couldn’t just eventually make myself write anyway.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I like a good outline (or even a mess of one). I tend to write a general idea of where I’m going then fill it in in more detail as I move through the draft.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I was a voracious reader as child and I think becoming a writer is a culmination of all those many books I read. With PRISONER I think THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE and probably the wintry setting in Narnia were in there mixing with the Prison Break TV show.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Well, it’s been seven years since I started writing, took two books to get my first agent, then three books on submission to publishers before PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW sold. Then a further two years after it sold to get to this point where it’s out in the US and about to come out in the UK where I live. So . . . not dying of old age before all that happened? I’m kidding (I’m really not)—the biggest challenge is just to keep persevering in the face of inevitable rejections and a lot of waiting.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

No! After the above, which was difficult at times, PRISONER itself sold very quickly and at auction and to my dream house, so there’s really nothing I’d change.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Since I live in the UK and the book is only out in the US at present, I did a blog tour, I have a website and I’m on twitter and Instagram. I’m very new to this whole author thing, so I have no experience as yet, but after the book comes out in the UK, I do have a book signing at a local store.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I have a middle grade contemporary story that I still love. I’ve been told it’s too ‘quiet’ but I do sometimes think about it and hope it gets published someday.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW is a middle grade fantasy set in a Russia-esque fantasy land. Think Prison Break meets Frozen.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I’ve never fired a crossbow at a member of the royal family or attempted to escape a fortress prison made of ice and stone so I’m going with all fantasy!

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I do love the very first chapter because it leaps straight into an intriguing situation and ends on some exciting action, but my very favourite bit is in the middle of the book and involves a girl, a bow, a mad dash across a snowy plain and a pack of wolves. It was a lot of fun to write.

How did you come up with the title?

The title is pretty descriptive of the storyline, although I did originally call it PRISONER OF ICE AND STONE and stone was later changed to snow.

What project are you working on now?

I’m currently editing a middle grade sci-fi story that I hope you’ll get to read one day.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW is coming out in the UK next week, and the sequel SEEKER OF THE CROWN is coming from Bloomsbury in April ’18 in the US and September ’18 in the UK.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I’d love to write further books set in the world of Demidova!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’ve been very fortunate with Prisoner so far—most of the criticism I’ve had was for previous books which were rejected (or, which was actually much tougher, got close, but then ultimately still got rejected).

The best trade review has been a starred review from School Library Journal, who called the book a ‘page turning tour-de-force’, but the best compliments are really from young readers.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Read a lot, accept that you’re going to collect rejections, and persevere anyway.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for being so kind so far, and I hope you enjoy PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW and SEEKER OF THE CROWN!

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