Six Elementals Author Interviews will introduce prospective readers to some of the best writers in their genre you may, or may not, have heard of, via a series of six questions. I encourage you to check out the work of these phenomenal creatives! Links to their websites and purchase links will always appear, accompanying the interview. Check them out!
This is a distinct honour and pleasure, in that I get to interview the fantastic dark fantasy author, the marvellous Sienna Frost!
Sienna’s published works thus far: “Obsidian: Awakening” (Book One “Obsidian”); and the short story “Sirens”.
P.L.: Sienna, thanks so much for joining me for a Six Elementals Interviews chat!
So honoured to be able to interview you! Your novel “Obsidian: Awakening” absolutely blew me away! It was one of my very favourite books that I read last year! It had all the elements of every great fantasy novel I have ever read: fabulous complicated characters, very compelling themes, beautiful prose, fascinating storytelling, and more. And, of course, I love dark and grimdark fantasy! If I may, I’d like to focus on the themes in the novel for a moment. What made you write a dark book, set in a world that – while not completely devoid of hope – is fairly brutal?
SIENNA: Thank you so much for the opportunity! I’m so honored to be here and to know you’ve enjoyed reading “Obsidian”. This is the book I sat down to write almost immediately after I returned from a 21-day horseback tour of Mongolia where we stayed with nomadic families, moving from settlement to settlement. It gave me a chance to witness and learn from some of the toughest humans on earth who taught me one priceless lesson: how to be a survivor, never a victim.
It was something I feel compelled to share with the world, because I do believe we were all born with this inner strength that many of us have forgotten. The title of this series is “Obsidian” because it refers to the property of the rock that must first be broken to form a weapon, and so this is a story of damaged humans who break, like obsidian, into something sharper and more beautiful than when they were whole.
The world of “Obsidian” itself, in truth, isn’t any more violent than your average dark fantasies or the reality we live in. Whatever has been done here has been done ten times worse in actual history around the world, and some practices are still in place today. What’s brutal about “Obsidian” is in how it pulls no punches. Most novels are written with readers’ feelings in mind, and main characters rarely have to make the heartbreaking sacrifices the world demands them to. They are often put to the test, go on to prove they’re worthy, and by some reasonable or unreasonable miracles that rarely happen in reality, are exempt from having to become that monster or from being broken beyond repair. You won’t find that peace of mind in “Obsidian”. This is a story of war, and war, in my opinion, should always be written for its ugliness with everyone involved stained with the blood of innocents, heroes included. In fact, I don’t think anyone coming out of warfare could or should be wholly celebrated as a hero. If you’re a good person, you won’t see yourself as one for being a part of mass killing, however righteous you think the cause may be.
That said, a review defined “Obsidian’s” journey with the sentence, ‘through all the brutality shines moments of heroism, self-sacrifice, love, and genuine devotion,’ which I think best describes what you will get from the series. It’s a show of human capabilities in the direst of situations, and humanity can be brutal, ugly, and at the same time heartbreakingly beautiful. If you read the reviews, you will find that the words brutal and beautiful are used most often, sometimes in the same sentence, to describe this book.
P.L.: I can definitely concur that the review was accurate! What an amazing book! The characters in your book were perhaps my favourite part of “Obsidian: Awakening”. As I said in my Goodreads review of your book, I found them to be highly flawed and complex people, who peddle in revenge, treachery, naked ambition, lust, and their motivations are always complex, however surprisingly these motivations are not typically self-serving. Of these messy, wonderful characters, who is your personal favourite, and why?
SIENNA: It’s a tough question as I love them all in different ways, but my favorite to write has always been Muradi, a character who’s not only larger than life, but one so complex you could dig through forever and never quite reach the bottom. Muradi blurs the line of everything from good vs evil, to right vs wrong, to love vs hate, and every time I labeled him something, he’d prove me wrong again. He has a backstory worth his own standalone that I promised his fans I’d write after the main series concludes. Of all my characters, Muradi is the most lethal of weapons because he’s the most broken among them all. I sometimes don’t know if I want to stab this unimaginable bastard or hug this poor guy. Many readers told me they suffer the same struggle, and I’m not surprised.
P.L.: For sure, no pain, no gain for your characters! You’ve gained a lot of momentum for “Obsidian: Awakening” and it’s becoming a popular book in self-published circles, and you are thus gaining more and more acclaim as a self-published author. Who are some of the other self-published authors whose works you have read and enjoyed? Who are some of the other popular Indie authors you feel are worth keeping an eye on?
SIENNA: The first name I must mention is Richard Nell, author of the “Ash and Sand” series. I stumbled upon his book while I was searching for comp titles for my query letter. I tried a sample and never left until I finished all three books. It was the time when I’d just dropped several traditionally published titles because the writings were uninspiring, the stories predictable, and everything felt so formulaic. Nell’s writing was a breath of fresh air I’ve been needing, and it turned out to be so much more than that. I reached out to him via DM, had a chance to learn about his self-publishing journey, which inspired me to quit querying and self-published. I’ve never been happier, and I recommend everyone to listen to his interviews if you need the inspiration and the courage to go indie. Zamil Akhtar is also an author I look up to whose book I enjoyed very much, and he’s one amazing role model on how to market your book successfully. There are so many promising authors worth keeping an eye on, and I’ve heard great things about “A Drowned Kingdom” (which is on my list) but those two have made a huge impact on my journey, and I encourage everyone to read their books and learn something from them.
P.L.: Thank you so much for the kind words about my book! I’d like our readers to know a bit more about your other works. Can you speak about your short story “Sirens”?
SIENNA: I’ve been a web novel writer before I published and I have a few more stories I’m sharing on Wattpad still (most unfinished because I’m taking a break to focus on “Obsidian”). I have a vampire/werewolf story called Poison, which features quite a unique take on vampires I believe may end up being another long series. Another is a novella I wrote for a contest that made it to the shortlist called “Eros”, a romantic comedy about a woman hell bent on never loving anyone again (and on crashing her ex’s wedding) vs a god of love, namely” Eros”, who gets offended when his arrow doesn’t work.
Sirens, which won the contest it was written for, is the closest to “Obsidian” in style. It’s a 5,000 words short story on the curse of eternal life and one that puts true love to the test in ways that surprise many readers. But throughout my journey of three decades as a writer who spent time writing either for my eyes only or for free, the most successful writing project of my career and what I’ve been most widely read happens to be a 300k fan fiction trilogy based on a lesser known manga involving mafias, which has been fan translated into seven languages and shared all around the world. To this day I am constantly intimidated by my own work, because I’m not sure I can pull something like that off again.
P.L.: That sounds fabulous! I need to read “Sirens”! Can you tell us a bit please, if possible, about what projects you are currently working on? What can we expect to see coming out from Sienna Frost in the future?
SIENNA: Apart from finishing Poison or extending Eros into a full novel by popular demand, which might never happen because I always say I foresee myself writing “Obsidian” until death do us part, I want to write a few spin offs of Obsidian. I’m not a planner in any sense of the word, so I can’t say how long the main series will be. I’m about to finish book two, and I know for sure there will be book three, but I won’t know until I finish book three if there will be book four, five, six, or ten. I am definitely going to write Muradi’s spin off, however, and there may be more spin offs featuring other characters of Obsidian. Readers have requested a backstory of Za’in izr Husari, Djari’s father, who is a legend in his own right, and I’d love to write Hasheem’s life as an assassin one day.
P.L.: Oh, that sounds very exciting! I am always fascinated with multi-talented creators, especially authors who are able to do things like graphic design.. The illustrations in “Obsidian: Awakening” (including the glorious cover) were vivid, absolutely brilliant! How did you get into graphic design? Was it thus, a no-brainer to illustrate your own book, as opposed to hiring another artist?
SIENNA: I’ve been doing graphic design and magazine layouts for my own business for two decades so I have the software and knowledge on how to work these images into the paperback and put together a cover (which I hope is good enough). So when I had to format the paperback, I thought it would be interesting to make it more magazine style than a traditional novel, and I chose to do all layouts by hand. While I’ve always been interested in art, was an art student in high school, and might have been able to illustrate something for the book, I had no time and didn’t feel like I have enough skills to pull off these illustrations to my own satisfaction, so I chose to buy royalty-free images instead. It wasn’t difficult to find the right images for the chapters because I knew exactly what I was looking for, and I wasn’t looking for something specific, but rather something that sets the right mood for the content to come.
P.L.: Sienna, I have truly enjoyed our chat and I really appreciate you joining me on Six Elementals Interviews! Thank you so much!
Official Website: https://Siennafrost.com
Link tree: https://linktr.ee/siennafrst
BUY OBSIDIAN AWAKENING HERE: