Alternate titles and foppish asses with Beasts of the Frozen Sun author Jill Criswell (and a giveaway)


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Beasts of the Frozen Sun (Frozen Sun Saga #1)

By: Jill Criswell

Publisher: Blackstone

Publication Date: August 6th, 2019

Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.

Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.

When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.

As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.

Before the final BEASTS


Beasts of the Frozen Sun took a long time to find itself—or rather, it took a lot of drafts for me to figure out what the book was really about. I rewrote huge sections of it multiple times, and every time I reread it—which happened many, many times—I changed details. Here are some of the changes that might surprise you. (Warning: Spoilers below!)


1: The original title was Children of the Ruins.


That title never really felt right, so on my first major revision, I axed it. As I revised, I placed more emphasis on the legends of Iseneld, so Beasts of the Frozen Sun became a better fit for the title.


2: Ishleen used to be a boy.

Lira’s best friend was originally her cousin, a boy her age name Carrick. He was a wisecracking prankster, and I liked him a lot, but there was already a plethora of masculinity in Lira’s life, and aspects of Carrick were already being fulfilled by Rhys, Garreth, and Quinlan. I spliced him out and injected a little girl power in his place.


3: Lira had a fiancé (and he was a dick).

There was a whole side plot with Cillian, the guy Torin chooses to wed Lira to.  He was a middle-aged foppish ass who had two previous wives who’d died mysteriously. A visit to Cillian’s manor was squeezed in after the stuff that happens in Selkie’s Quay, and this was where Lira and Reyker originally made their escape from. It wasn’t necessary to the story and it slowed down the pacing. Now, when Lira asks who her father is marrying her off to, Torin can’t even remember the man’s name—a little inside joke.


4: When Reyker met Garreth.

In the original final chapter of the book, Garreth has gone to Stony Harbor to find Lira and he and Reyker run into each other in the midst of the invasion. They wind up fighting each other until Reyker realizes who Garreth is. It wasn’t necessary or logical, and it slowed the ending down, but it was the only scene I cut with reluctance.


5: Lira’s last words.

Between the ARC and the final version of the book, I made some small changes that added up to something big: a more feminist version of the book. Things like Lira killing a Dragonman who threatens her instead of Reyker swooping in to do it, and Lira willingly going into the sanctuary to save Eathalin instead of being captured and dragged there.


The small detail that had the biggest impact were those last words Lira speaks to Draki before jumping from the cliff. In the ARC, she says, “Even in death, I am his.” It’s romantic, but it bothered me on later readings. It sounded too Romeo and Juliet.


In the final version, Lira says, “My will is my own, until the end.”


Goodbye Juliet, hello badass feminist warrior.


Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).

Find the author:

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.

Comments · 5

  1. Every point above made me say “wow” because these were not small revisions and took much courage and effort to do.

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