A. R. Winterstaar - Swashbuckling Rascals, Torrid Intrigues, and True Love
A. R. Winterstaar is author of The World of Evendaar series. She writes her books at the top of a tall castle tower, surrounded by mountains and endless swathes of sky. She is an old-fashioned storyteller and a thoroughly modern woman. She loves writing about swashbuckling rascals, torrid intrigues, and true love conquering all at any price. As our Author of the Day she tells us all about her book, The Warrior Revealed.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Warrior Revealed is about.
The Warrior Revealed is a swashbuckling adventure that tells the story of a woman being pushed into an impossible choice. To save the life of her baby daughter she must leave all three of her children in the political snake-pit of the Golden Palace, making them a target for insidious intrigue and nefarious plots. Only the man she loves, Prince Rainere Marchant, is capable of protecting the children but when they are kidnapped, he must risk his own life to see them saved.
Meanwhile, accompanied by her staunch Queen’s Guard, Queen Adelena sets off across Evendaar to journey through dangerous terrain, battling ice bears and hostile mountain tribes, all to find a dragon whose tear will heal her baby daughter, Stella.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
In this story, Adelena grabs hold of her destiny and fights for her family regardless of the consequences for the kingdom she is supposed to be running. My inspiration came from the strong and fierce female monarchs of history, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth the First, Eleanor of Aquitaine - women whose sacrifices and conquests changed the world they lived in, while they remained devoted mothers of both their own children and the states they governed.
This is the fourth book of your World of Evendaar series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in this series tie in with this one?
While “The Warrior Revealed" is not a standalone, I do consider it a second entry point into the series. The issues dealt with are new as are many of the characters new to each other. Though the world of Evendaar is the same as it has been since Book One.
Tell us more about Adelena. What makes her tick?
Adelena is a woman, mother, demon and very reluctant queen. She was living a miserable existence on earth, taking everything but her children for granted. Quite honestly, being abducted by High Wizard Ohren and crossing the universe to be crowned Queen of Unisia, touted as the Lost Child in the Prophecy of the End of the World, was the best thing that could have happened to her. In every book, she grows stronger and more fierce, kinder and more empathetic. It is only through adversity that she has learned how to rescue herself from the predicaments she finds herself in, while also learning how to recognize and trust true friends. Adelena has always been a very romantic soul. In matters of the heart, she is reckless and passionate, qualities that affect every facet of her life as she falls more deeply in love with her prince, Rainere Marchant, and gets herself into even more trouble. She is a hardworking and sensitive mother, and her children are her first concern in all matters of state or personal issues. Adelena is a perfectly flawed woman, learning as she goes what it means to be a good person.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
My secret skills shall remain so or they will be secret no longer. Perhaps my lesser-known skills could be qualified as: patience in the face of ignorance; kindness in the face of anger; an ability to speak with tree spirits, not fluently of course, but the cherry trees in the orchard are a forgiving bunch; I can mix six different champagne cocktails in a blink; I can make the people I love smile as often as I like.
Why fantasy? What drew you to the genre?
It is my beautiful Muse who whispers these stories in my ear, haunting my dreams with faces of characters I’m yet to meet and bewitching songs I’m yet to sing. It is her siren call that brought me to the world of fantasy writing.
Which of your characters was the most challenging for you to create and why?
I suppose I could say my dear Charlie Row was the most difficult character to work with. He came to me secretly, creeping into essentially a romance plot-line. The way I was writing, it had become far too saccharine and then along came Charlie to ridicule and re-frame the scene properly for me. I felt a deep affection for him immediately but it took me years to get his voice correct. Not too old, not to young, not too innocent, not too cynical. He is a complex young man with a difficult past and an unshakable optimism for the future.
What was creating the World of Evendaar like?
The world of Evendaar is an ever-evolving concept for me. A disc-shaped world that sits upon the front step of the Realm of the Gods, it is saturated with myth and magic. As Adelena explores more of the lands of her new home, the more I do as well, finding tundra and mountain ranges when before there was only a sparkling mist in my mind. In Evendaar magic is a sentient primitive force, underlying the very structure of the earth and the people and creatures who live there. It is both good and evil, and depends entirely on the intentions of the user.
I have created a dictionary and a bestiary to keep myself in line with the things I have created, in the hope that I don’t contradict myself in pursuit of more interesting storylines.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
My favorite motivational phrase (depending on the day).
Either: “It’ll be all right in the end; if it’s not all right, then it’s not the end.” John Lennon (perhaps).
Or: “A winner is a loser who tried just one more time.” George M. Moore Jr.
Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
I rise with the sun, I drink coffee and Chef (my companion, chef, fellow guardian of Winterstaar castle) will tease and coerce me into exercise of some description for at least an hour. When I am finally released, I go to my desk and laptop or notebook and fireside armchair to write for as long as Muse whispers and my heart desires. I tend to stop mid-afternoon, lie on a yoga mat and think about stretching my tense muscles for a while. Then Chef discovers my ruse, guides a short yoga session, ending in meditation (I’m up to 5minutes before my monkey mind begins to chatter again). Then it’s time to catch up on letters, events of the day, more writing if the story won’t shake me off. When the clock strikes six in the evening it is the Cocktail Hour, followed by dinner. After which, Chef retires to a bad movie or good book. I will always return to writing when I have a book to work on. Those dark, evenings are usually redolent with inspiration and I sink into a few more hours of writing until sleep drags me off.
What are you working on right now?
I am very excited to report that I have yet another installment in The World of Evendaar series! Book Five “The Angel Revealed” will be published in just a few short weeks, March 2022, in both ebook and print format on Amazon.
To add to this joy, Muse has been explaining in very specific detail the story for the next installment. I have begun to copy her words down and I am working day and night on the very first draft of Book Six. I have promised myself to have this book written, polished and ready to shine within two years.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I treasure the friendship I have with my dear Reader, and write a once or twice monthly love letter posting it on Facebook @A.R. Winterstaar. I can also be found on Instagram @a.r.winterstaar where I’ve posted some little photos of my books making interesting trips around the world. Readers should feel absolutely free to send my their own pictures if they find themselves reading one of my books in an interesting location, or if the mood takes them. My website is under construction and will soon be a beautiful new creature to prowl the internet.