Thursday, October 26, 2023

6 Books with Freya Marske

Photo by Kris Arnold

Freya Marske is the author of A Power Unbound, A Restless Truth, and A Marvellous Light, which was an international bestseller and won the Romantic Novel Award for Fantasy. Her work has appeared in Analog and has been shortlisted for three Aurealis Awards. She is also a Hugo-nominated podcaster, and won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent. She lives in Australia.

Today she tells us about her Six Books.

1. What book are you currently reading?

Some time in the last year I've become a horror reader, after assuming for a long time that I wouldn't be because I was far too much of a wuss to watch horror films. Turns out I was wrong! So now I'm having a wonderful time working out my tastes in a brand new genre. Right now, I'm almost done with my third book by Catriona Ward: her latest, Looking Glass Sound. This is a twisty, atmospheric, metafictional book that's sort of about a tragedy that takes place during a boy's holiday at the Maine seaside, and sort of about the fight over who gets to own and manipulate and publish that narrative several decades later. Every one of Ward's books is a unique and amazing creation which bends my mind around a few corners, and this is no exception.

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

I've been watching my mail impatiently for a promised ARC of Not Here To Make Friends, the third book in Jodi McAlister's 'Marry Me, Juliet' series. This is a really fun and tropetastic series of contemporary Australian romances, all set during the filming of a Bachelor-like dating reality TV show. I've loved the first two books in the series, and they've put me into a fever of anticipation for this third one: the story of the series villain and a long-suffering producer with whom she has a secret history. McAlister knows exactly what she's doing when it comes to constructing a good romance, and it's always a wonderful feeling to get to read something set in Australia given how US&UK-centric the genre usually is.

3. Is there a book you're currently itching to read again?

Many years ago, Shelley Parker-Chan kindly sent me a very-very-advance copy of a manuscript entitled She Who Became The Sun, for which the publication deal hadn't even been announced yet. I remember blasting through it in a single weekend, utterly enraptured by the story's propulsive craft, and knowing that it was going to be big. Now that the sequel, He Who Drowned The World, has been released, I'm looking forward to revisiting the first book before I dive into completing the duology. Shelly has an absolutely masterful way of simply telling a good story, and is far more willing than I am to put their characters (and readers) through agony along the way. I'm already donning my emotional armour in readiness to be deliciously destroyed.

4. How about a book you've changed your mind about - either positively or negatively?

It took me a long time to come around on the genre of romance. Not because I didn't enjoy love stories – I kept circling back to SFF books which had strong romantic plots, without questioning what it was about them that I found so appealing – but because I still had a mental block of misconceptions about Romance being a silly genre for silly girls. The authors that helped change my mind on romance were Courtney Milan, KJ Charles and Georgette Heyer. The experience of reading my first Heyer, Cotillion, was like sinking slowly into a warm bath full of bubbles. I couldn't believe I'd been denying myself such a straightforward pleasure, and the books of such an incredibly talented humorist, for so long.

5. What's one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

I can't tell you how many times I read and reread The Little White Horse, a historical fantasy novel by Elizabeth Goudge. In many ways it's a kind-hearted Gothic – a young girl arrives at a grand house and starts uncovering its secrets – and I loved the depiction of a small English town full of interesting people, and a historical cycle of heartbreak and magic that the heroine is determined to break. I can definitely see the echo of it in my own writing. (It also has some absolutely wonderful lengthy descriptions of the food and drink served at parties and picnics, which I firmly believe are always a great addition to a book.)

6. And speaking of that, what's your latest book, and why is it awesome?

My latest book is coming out in November! A Power Unbound is the final book in the Last Binding trilogy, which is a series of queer romances cunningly disguised as a historical fantasy series set in Edwardian England. This third book pulls together all the main characters from the first two, and plunges them headfirst into heists and courtroom dramas and magical houses and bloody rituals. And it also contains the most turbulent and passionate (and kinky) of the three romances so far: the push-and-pull between Lord Hawthorn, posh sarcastic asshole who Would Like To Be Excluded From This Narrative, and Alanzo Rossi, working-class journalist and official enemy of the aristocracy. It's a bittersweet feeling to be leaving the series behind, but I'm wildly proud of this one!

Thank you Freya!

POSTED BY: Roseanna Pendlebury, the humble servant of a very loud cat. @chloroform_tea