Today we have special guest: Frederica Fitzgerald, teenage heroine of the YA fantasy “Heir to the Underworld,” which is available now from Sapphire Blue Publishing.
Hi, Frederica, and welcome to Lisa’s World. Frederica is an unusual name, isn’t it?
Yeah. My mom went through a HUGE romance novel binge when she was preggers. She named me after the heroine in a Georgette Heyer novel. No one calls me “Frederica”, though. Only when I’m in trouble. Call me Freddy.
All right, Freddy. What’s your favorite food?
Fried zucchini dipped in ranch. De-licious. There’s a great chain in SoCal, Everest Restaurants, that make it just right. Truly to die for. Crunchy breading on the outside and gooey heaven on the inside.
So what’s your hometown like?
Afalton? Meh. Your average smalltown SoCal. Twenty minutes away from anything interesting. Lots of pine trees and foothills everywhere. Although lately…weird stuff has been happening. There’s all these crows flying around everywhere. It’s like they’re stalking me. There’s also these random packs of butt ugly dogs running around. They’re all white and kind of anorexic looking. Totally creepy. *shivers* And…there’s this new guy in town. Tall, dark and dreamy, but he’s really in to the whole “Man of Mystery” act and I’m not sure I trust him. The first day I met him he just kind of appeared on the road on a black stallion wearing Roman armor. That’s a little weird, right?
Well, “tall, dark and dreamy” sounds promising at least. So, what do you like to do to blow off steam?
My dad is really into medieval weapons. He even used to make swords and sell them at the local Renaissance Faire. But, yeah, dad’s idea of “family bonding” is hacking at each other with pointy objects. As a result I can totally kick butt at archery. Although Dad says I need to work on my swordplay. He’s gotten a little fanatical about training lately, but, hey, Dad’s are weird. What are you gonna do, right?
What do you usually wear? Do you have some kind of signature style?
Well, I do have a rather eclectic collection of t-shirts. I’m pretty much a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. Some of my favorite t-shirts are ones with witty or snarky messages like: “I Didn’t Say it was Your Fault—I Said I was Going to Blame You”; “Slightly Used but in Good Condition”; “Shakespeare Hates Your Emo Poetry” and, my favorite, “Never Judge a Girl By Her T-shirt”.
How did you meet your author? What is he/she like? A hard taskmaster? Neglectful? Controlling?
Ah, E.D.’s all right. She had the idea for my story one day while she was waiting for class to start and she just pulled out her notebook and I started talking to her. She can be a little neglectful. It took her a couple years to finish my story, for instance. She kept starting and stopping and putting my book aside. It was kind of frustrating.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Well, I’ve got to give props to E.D.; she did finally finish my book and it just released from Sapphire Blue Publishing. “Heir to the Underworld” has ancient gods, the feral fairies of The Wild Hunt and all kinds of other supernatural shenanigans. And me. J Here’s the, whattayacallit? Blurb? Well, here it is:
Frederica always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even a bit boring. Then a hottie dressed as a reject from Gladiator almost ran her down on the sidewalk. With his horse. The weird keeps coming from there: zombie dogs running around the suburbs, insane crows stalking her, and said hottie asking her on a date. But the cute stranger has secrets he isn’t sharing. Trouble follows him like his shadow. The closer they grow, the weirder life gets, until Freddy discovers something about her own past that changes everything she ever thought she knew about herself. And her world.
Here’s a short excerpt of my adventures if you guys are interested:
The agony of geometry class had ended at last, and Frederica Fitzgerald shot out the back gate of her high school, beating the swarm of her fellow students to freedom. Her mom had told her that morning to make sure she was home early to work on her geometry homework. Freddy trudged uphill to her house without seeing anyone, bummed that she had to ditch her friends in favor of the Dreaded Math.
The sounds of the high school quickly faded away as she walked deeper into the residential streets. Quiet prevailed in her neighborhood, with only the swaying rustle of pine trees and the scuff of her sneakers on the road for background noise. The road didn’t have a sidewalk, but it wasn’t used much by cars. Keeping well to the side anyway, her thigh occasionally brushed the rusted metal of the road divider as she walked. She glanced over the divider now and then, gazing down the incline to the hillside dotted with pine trees and frosted with their needles. The smell of the needles prickled deep in her nose, chalky and dry.
The promise of a storm loomed in the sky and, with a sigh, Freddy pulled the hood of her sweatshirt over her hair.
Yesterday was gorgeous. Sunny. Warm. Now the sky looked like a sludgy dish drain.
She dug her MP3 player out, tucked her earbuds in, and cranked the volume on an old Regina Spektor album, resigning herself to a long, and potentially wet, walk home.
She’d only taken a few steps, though, before halting. Her nerves prickled, a bizarre tension gripping her. The air itself seemed wrong, too thick, sparking with a strange power that weighed her lungs down as she breathed in. She whipped her head around, worried someone was following her, but the road was empty.
A black horse suddenly appeared beside her, almost on top of her, in the road. As she frantically retreated from the huge, bucking animal, she backed into the guardrail so hard she toppled over the side. When she collided with the ground, the air painfully whooshed out of her lungs. Pine needles crunched beneath her body as she slid down the slight incline.
Laying there for a long moment-gasping and shaken as she stared at the canopy of pines-Freddy tried to understand where the horse had come from. Even with her earbuds in, she should have heard the horse coming, should have seen it on the road ahead of her.
Had a freaking horse just materialized out of thin air?
The horse whinnied and she bolted upright, irrationally scared the animal would jump the guardrail, but then she noticed the animal’s rider, muscles straining in his bare arms as he brought the horse to heel with a sharp tug of the reins. The brutish horse glowered at her, but his agitation eased at last.
Freddy gulped in a breath, and her heart stopped trying to batter its way out of her chest.
The rider dismounted, leather soles flapping on the pavement as he landed. A floppy straw hat screened his face from view, and he kept his back to Freddy as he soothed his stallion.
She watched the rider’s back with growing annoyance. Okay, so calming the horse was important so it wouldn’t kill someone-like me. But was the guy so hard-pressed by his now-calm horse he couldn’t ask if she was okay?
The rider wore some kind of historical costume, a molded leather breastplate over a short-sleeved blue tunic. A woolen cloak in a darker blue draped over his left shoulder and fastened to the right one by an ornate plant-shaped pin. He didn’t have any pants on under his tunic. Seriously weird. Sturdy leather sandals laced to mid-calf completed his ensemble. Freddy wasn’t an expert, but she thought he was going for a sort of Greco-Roman look.
Why he’s wearing his costume out and about, trampling people on a monster black horse, I do not know.
After a minute more had passed, with the rider still crooning to his horse and ignoring her, Freddy snapped out, “Oh, don’t bother about me. It’s cool. I don’t mind that your horse nearly killed me.” Nerves still shocky after the close call, her voice broke. Embarrassed, she swallowed the lingering fear, not wanting the rider to see her so scared.
The rider turned to her, mouth open, eyes wide as they flitted all over her face. He half-stepped toward her, his voice harsh and low. “Who are you?”
As far as heartfelt and concerned apologies went, this one was somehow lacking.
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