Interview with Michael Haddad, author of YA fantasy Frostborn
The Frostborn—the one destined to end the war, the one blessed by the magic of Aether—was supposedly nothing more than a hopeless fairytale, a myth lost to time. But as the centuries-long war between the kingdoms of Eljud and Surtrol forces Elias Jökull to evacuate his village, a run-in with the fearsome Gjallarhorn army awakens within him a dormant power long since forgotten by the people—a power signaling the existence of the Frostborn.
With such critical news, hope of victory against Surtrol becomes contagious, yet Elias’s former life of slavery leaves him apprehensive about lending a hand to his own flawed kingdom. Even still, knowing the world will soon be in search of him, the newfound Frostborn must choose his allegiances quickly. And after encountering a ranked Surt captain, he does just that.
But while acting as a double agent, feeding intel to Eljud’s southern enemy and working both sides of the same border, his conflicted self struggles to anchor his loyalty to a single kingdom as buried secrets begin to unearth.
The incessant clash between the north and south is soon coming to an end and Elias will have to find a side to stand on. The hard question is: which side? Everyone wants the Frostborn for themselves, but for how long can Elias let the world string him along?
This post contains affiliate links. View the full disclosure policy here.
She holds the child close to her chest, cradling the head with a mother’s delicate touch. The other infant is nestled in a crib only a few feet away. Winds rattle the glass panes of the cracked window and some of the winter air seeps through. The rough and tattered curtains dance with it—the only movement in the room besides the woman’s near-chattering teeth. She does her best to keep the children warm, but for some reason they sleep soundlessly, soothed by the whistling of the wind.
The woman brushes a gaunt, wrinkled finger along the pudgy cheeks of the bundle in her arms. The shackles on her wrist jangle, anchored down by a bolt at the centre of the room. The tight, unrefined metal leaves behind blisters, but to her it is worth it. The young child’s skin is stone cold to her touch, but soft and full of colour. He breathes evenly and she can feel his pulse just fine when she moves her finger to the child’s neck. He feels dead, yet is as alive as anyone.
“Freezing cold. Ah, but look at these pudgy cheeks. You remind me of those statues in the hall,” she whispers, pinching his face until it is ruddy. “I’d be scared if you weren’t so adorable.”
The woman lifts her head as the sound of rushed steps echoes in the hall outside the door. She hears the jiggle of keys and a mechanical click releasing the lock. The knob turns and the door swings open…
Interview with Michael Haddad
-What inspired you to become a writer?
My inspiration to be a writer and an author stems from a lot of different areas. I’ve tried other forms of art—visual art, dramatic arts, musical arts, etc.—but none have influenced me as much as literary art. To me, words have so much power. They’re the core of our communication. I find so much enjoyment in the way authors are able to build worlds with only words alone, and how they hide meaning beneath the obvious. I’ve been reading since I was a young teenager and I’ve noticed that books offer a different experience than simply absorbing visuals from television or movies. Books feel more interactive and immersive. They are flexible in the sense that the mind visualizes the story differently for everyone, and that at times, there’s no right interpretation. At some point in my adolescence, as I got caught up in the magic of fiction, I imagined this dream that I could be like those skillful authors. I wished that people would one day appreciate MY work the very same way I adored the works of other famous writers. So from then on, I put more focus on learning how to write and practiced at every opportunity. Years later, here I am, doing my best to put my story in the hands of fascinated readers.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
I would want to visit the Utgard Palace in the city of Aurgelmir. Although the climate may not be the most bearable, as someone who was born and raised in Canada, I’m accustomed to the cold. It would be worth it for me to brave the winter and sight-see the entire castle. I envisioned it like a palace for the gods but used by humans. I wish I could draw because that would be such a fantastic construct to design.
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
It’s not explicitly said in the novel, but Elias, my main character, is actually asexual and aromantic. If he were having a late-night chat, he would most likely open up about his struggle with this identity. Many other characters have flirted with Elias or teased him about certain romantic relationships, but instead of clarifying his attraction to others, he stands there awkwardly in hopes the conversation will move on. I think this is an extremely relatable character trait even if the reader does not identify the same way. In our world today, where people are beginning to embrace their identities, Elias delivers an insightful perspective of the inner conflict one must face in order to overcome decades of social prejudice.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Khai Calland knows how to have a good time and I think drinking with him would be the most entertaining. However, he’s incredibly mischievous and although he knows how to defend himself, we may be stuck in some awkward situations due to his conniving tricks. That is, unless we never get caught. I’d also bring him gambling because he’s a master with cards and could probably score some big money!
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
Decline! There’s no question I would lose. In a fantasy world, if I were to have been trained in combat, I would picture myself as more of a ranged fighter anyways. I’m also not the confrontational type. I’d use my words before I could ever use my fists. Plus, I have too much of a slender build to tough it out with brutes in the dueling arena. However, hand me a bow and some throwing knives and I might be able to pose a threat!
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I’d have to say, out of the biggest genres, romance is one I would not enjoy writing. Although I agree that romance spices up a story, I don’t like having the entire arc focus on a relationship. I would want to write more than just that type of interpersonal conflict. Maybe if it were a specific subgenre like epic fantasy romance, I could probably finish it up, but it would be painstakingly hard. Please note, this is not to discredit the work of romance novelists. I respect their ability to craft such complex relationships, but it’s just not for me.
About Michael Haddad
Hardworking university student and recent John Abbott College graduate, Michael Haddad doubles as a fiction author of the fantastic who throws himself into his own writing—who can’t stop imagining new worlds, new ideas, new characters. His passion for roleplaying games has earned him his fair share of teasing, but he’d be lying if he said it didn’t open his imagination. When not at his computer, typing away, Michael is often with his friends and family, losing terribly at tennis, hunkering down for movie marathons, and trying to get a good night’s sleep. As someone born and raised in Montreal, he is no stranger to having ice rinks for streets and snow up to the knee—but that’s nothing a warm cup of coffee can’t beat.
CONNECT WITH MICHAEL HADDAD
Michael Haddad will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Additional Goodreads Giveaway!
Follow Kit ‘N Kabookle
Book tours, writing resources, and more. Never miss a post!