As soon as I saw the cover for FORGED IN FIRE AND STARS, I contacted Andrea Robertson, also known as bestselling author Andrea Cremer. FORGED IN FIRE AND STARS was published on May 5:
Ara has always known about the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of every generation to protect the kingdom. It was her fate to inherit the title–though she never truly believed it would come to pass since the monarchy’s downfall years before.
But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne–and take her place as the Loresmith–her whole world turns upside down. Their journey will take Ara on a dangerous adventure to discover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even to face the gods themselves. And with a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, Ara must use all her skills to figure out just who she can trust, and forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.
According to your website bio, you wrote your first book after a horse broke your foot. In what ways, if any, did this shape you and your writing?
The summer of 2008 I had just finished up my first year as a history professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN – my first job out of grad school. I decided that summer would be my own – where I’d take a break from all the academic work I’d spent the last five years devoting my life to. I’ve been a horse crazy gal for as long as I can remember, so I leased a horse to ride during the fleeting warm months in Minnesota. The first day I went to ride I was leading my horse out of the stable, he was spooked by another horse, jumped and came down right on top of my right foot. It was broken in several places. Fortunately I didn’t have to have surgery, but I was told I’d have to stay off my feet the rest of my summer.
I’m a stubborn person and I was determined that I would still have a summer focused on what I wanted to do rather than what I thought I should do – so I turned to the next idea: writing a novel. I’ve always been a writer, but I’d never given myself permission to work on a novel-length project. The moment I began working in long format, I fell in love. I realized that I wanted to make writing novels a fixture in my life. I spent the next year learning about the publishing industry and finding an agent. My first novel, Nightshade, was published two years after that horse broke my foot!
What a great way to turn something negative into an opportunity! In FORGED IN FIRE AND STARS, Ara seeks to find her right path. How did Ara first come to you, and how did she develop as you wrote her?
Ara appeared in my head one day when I was walking my dogs (my characters often show up when I’m out for a walk). I knew she was a blacksmith and that she lived in a tiny, isolate village in the mountains. From there I had to figure out why it was important that she was hidden away and what the world she lived in was like.
Writing Ara has been particularly rewarding because she’s determined while still being unsure of herself. She is very much on a journey of discovery. Finding out how she wants to move through the world and what her relationships will be are key to her own fulfillment and to succeeding at the quest that’s been set before her.
And I can’t wait to see what that quest reveals. You’ve written previous books and series under the name Andrea Cremer. What brought the name change, and what advice, if any, do you have for authors looking to brand themselves?
Cremer is a name from a previous marriage. I published all of my novels, until FORGED IN FIRE AND STARS, under that name. Unfortunately it was an unhealthy and destructive marriage – one that I believe my writing saved me from. However, my ‘brand’ became established as Andrea Cremer so I continued to publish under that name well after I was divorced. The chance came to write as Andrea Robertson (my maiden/legal name) because I had a multi-year gap between novels due to a long illness. It’s been incredibly freeing to be able to write under my own name and I’m so thankful that the opportunity presented itself. Just like a broken foot, a negative circumstance led to a hopeful new beginning in my life.
Indeed! What are some of your current projects?
I’m currently working on the sequel to FORGED IN FIRE AND STARS, which continues Ara’s search and adventures with her companions. That’s about all I can say as my other projects are secret!
You can find out more about Andrea and her other books at: https://www.andrearobertsonbooks.com/