Kate Elliott's new novel, Buried Heart
, is the conclusion to her latest YA fantasy trilogy that begins with Court of Fives
. Elliott's fiction is sweeping and rich. The worlds she builds are created from the questions she asks about how people form cultures, societies, and relationships. Buried Heart
is in the same vein, the closure to a story of colonization from the perspective of a young girl with a native mother and a colonial father who is torn between parts of herself.
Elliott has been writing, especially epic fantasy, since the late 1980s, but has never seen the massive success and popularity of contemporaries like George R. R. Martin. Her 2010 Spiritwalker
series, that begins with Cold Magic
, brought many readers, myself included, to her work, and was the first time many of us had heard of her. Elliott describes Cold Magic
as "an Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency novel with airships, Phoenician spies, and the intelligent descendants of troodons"
. It's unfortunate the Spiritwalker
series, published and these days barely promoted by Orbit Books, suffers from white-washed covers, misrepresenting the fact that the majority of the characters in the world are people of color. Elliott often grapples with issues of racism, sexism, and classism in her writing at all levels, from slave to monarch, and has included people of color and women in prominent roles from her earliest works. Additionally, Elliott is a master of using the arc of history to enrich her novels. Her worlds have cultures that grow and change in explicit, perceivable ways.
She's created a lot of worlds, too. Buried Heart
goes atop a back list more then twenty books deep, full of multiple fascinating epic fantasy and science fiction series. Elliott writes long books that reward the time spent inside their worlds and is doing some of the most cutting-edge world building and characterization in the whole genre.
I was lucky enough to get to interview Elliott about her writing, her career, Buried Heart
, as well as about some books and writers she enjoys. ( Read more... )