Today we are very excited to host an interview with Kathryn Troy, author of the Frostbite series and Notes from the Undead, to help celebrate her upcoming novel The Shadow of Theron, Age of Shadows book one.

The powers of old are fading. A new Age is dawning. 

Holy relics are all that remain of Theron’s sacred legend.  Now those relics, the enchanted weapons forged by the Three-Faced Goddess to help Theron defeat the wicked Sorcerer Argoss, are disappearing. 

Lysandro knows the village magistrate Marek is responsible, and he searches for proof disguised as the masked protector the Shadow of Theron. But when Marek wounds him with an accursed sword that shouldn’t exist, Lysandro must find a way to stop Marek from gaining any more artifacts created by the Goddess or her nemesis.  The arrival of the beautiful newcomer Seraphine, with secrets of her own, only escalates their rivalry.  

As the feud between Lysandro and Marek throws Lighura into chaos, a pair of priestesses seeks to recover the relics and return them to safekeeping. But the stones warn that Argoss is returning, and they must race to retrieve Theron’s most powerful weapon. But as they risk their lives for a legend, only one thing is certain. The three temples to the Goddess have been keeping secrets: not just from the faithful, but from each other. 

Wheel of Time readers and fans of Sarah Maas, Saladin Ahmed, and Trudy Canavan will delight in this fantasy adventure duology infused with romance.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

*Interview with Kathryn Troy*

I’m a history professor by day, a novelist by night. I like to write what I read – fantasy, romantic fantasy, gothic fiction, historical fiction,  paranormal, horror, and weird fiction. Horror cinema and horticulture are my other passions.

When I’m not reading or writing or teaching, I’m gaming, traveling, baking, or adding some new weird creepy cool thing to my art collection. I’m a Long Island native with one husband, two children, and three rats.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads

What came first: the title or the plot?

The plot, for sure. The romance plot came first, and the fantasy plot followed. Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything else to call it. All heroes’ stories are titled after them.

What research did you have to do to write this book?

This one didn’t require any research, actually. All of the historical tidbits were grabbed from things I already knew about. As a historian, religion is one of my specialties, and I’m always reading about different cultures and their religions specifically, so I pulled from there.

What inspired the lore in The Shadow of Theron?

Oh gosh, so much. I imagined Lighura as a Latin-esque locale, which then got expanded to Mediterranean-esque broadly, but that had me thinking of all the ways that religiosity is part of those cultures, so you see gods and holy orders and a confessional, relics and Examiners (read: Inquisitors)…and then I mixed it up with some ancient mythology from Greece, Sumeria, India, Japan, and Legend of Zelda fan will see its mark on this story easily. The windows, man. That’s all I’m gonna say.

What is the main message you would like readers to get from this book?

I don’t really like to “preach” in my stories, so there’s no societal message broadly, but for the genre, I think my unintended message is clear: adventure-rich, swashbuckling tales have not been in fashion for a while, and that’s a crying shame, because there’s so much more than we can draw from that well. Pulp stories were/are massively popular for a reason-with action, adventure, romance, danger, intrigue, and so much more, these stories have something for everybody.

Do you feel The Shadow of Theron is more plot driven or character driven?

Hmm. It’s both, I think. If I want a certain thing to happen, then the rest of the “plot” follows based on how I think the relevant characters would respond to that impetus. Their actions and dialogue are very organic for me.

If The Shadow of Theron was adapted to the big screen, who would be your cast?

Oooh! I found my Lysandro the other day by happenstance! Sean Teale from Rosaline has a great look for The Shadow. Peter O’Toole (rest his soul) was always how I pictured his father Elias,  Eugenie was inspired by Renee O’Connor’s Gabrielle, and I’d love to see an indigenous woman like Amber Midhunter playing Asha. Oh, and Alexander Vlahos for Fabien- he always was.

Who would you say is your favorite character?

Rough one. Um, I’m going to go the unconventional route and say Marek. I enjoy writing my villains so much. My favorite elements of fantasy are the darker, horror-adjacent sword and sorcery kind, and I love coming up with something gruesome. As a person drenched in gothic fiction and horror cinema, the make-believe spilling of blood, especially when done with panache, makes me smile.

What was your favorite scene to narrate?

I’m gonna be honest and say I got head-over-heels lost in the play at Faelsday. I was listening to the soundtrack for Moulin Rouge at the time. That little script has its own lore.

How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?

Erm…I hadn’t thought of that. Right now I’m in “saving” mode so I can book that trip to Egypt I’m dying to take with my fam. Feb. 2024. It’s happening. All my discretionary funds have been put on ice. Or sand…

Do you listen to music when you write – if so, what is your favorite?

Oh yes, usually when I’m just daydreaming/brainstorming, and then I must write in silence. I don’t have a favorite, it all depends on the mood I need for certain scenes. This book was very heavy on the score for the anime Berserk, which is sometimes very high-octane, and other times has a lot of gravitas. Especially as you get to the final act, there are scenes that I can’t play in my head without hearing certain tracks of that score. So, in the Lost Fortress, this one:

What does your writing process look like?

Like a madman that was given paper to stop him from clawing at the walls. I outline by hand, which is usually a mashup of actual writing and stage directions, type that up, then draft by hand, then type that, then PRINT OUT AND REVISE, with handwriting that is very much like trying to write the U.S. Constitution on a grain of rice, then type those changes, and then FINALLY reading digitally before sending it to betas. I don’t know why I do this, but no other method works as well from a storytelling perspective. I think with my pen, not my keyboard.

How do you beat “writers block”?

With patience and an open mind. I don’t really think I get “writers block” in the way people normally think of the term, like I “can’t” figure out what happens next. I just don’t push it. I let my mind wander, maybe play the right music in the car, and let it come to me when it may. It usually works. I have been working on Theron’s sequel since about Christmas, and for a few weeks I hadn’t done any work on it because I didn’t have any creative juice for how to get from where I was to where I wanted the story to go. It all came together two nights ago when I was asleep, and then I spent my whole day getting it down on paper.

What are you currently reading?

Usually when I’m actively writing, I read very little, or only read genres in which I don’t write, so my brain doesn’t have too much shtuff in it. So I’ve been eyeball-deep in historical mysteries like Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel and the Redmond and Haze series by Irina Shapiro.

What would you say is your super power?

I have no brakes. It’s both a gift and a curse.

What’s up next for you?

I’m always juggling projects at different phases of life- I’ll hopefully be finished outlining Age of Shadows 2 soon, but of course then I have to go back and actually write the thing, and I’m typing up the final draft for Night of Storms, the 3rd book in my vampire fantasy series that is being relaunched with City Owl Press next year. But I also have new projects I want to get to. The Winds of Summer was outlined a LONG time ago but I shelved it before drafting, and I really want to start writing a portal fantasy, working title The Transported Man, which will involve lots of research. I keep a record of all this malarkey on my blog and on my phone, for my own redundancy.

Thank you Kathryn for doing this interview with us! We loved reading your answers and cannot wait so check out all your amazing books.

Be sure to check out an excerpt from The Shadow of Theron here!

Title:  The Shadow of Theron (Age of Shadows Book One)

Genre: Romantic Fantasy/Epic Fantasy/Fantasy Adventure

Word Count: 141k

Date of publication: Feb 28 2023

Price: $4.99 (digital), $15.99 (paperback)

Number of pages: 546 pages

Digital ISBN: 978-1-64898-297-2

Print ISBN: 978-1-64898-296-5