Stop whatever you are doing because Holly Black has graced us with a quick chat on everything The Stolen Heir.
The Stolen Heir is a start of a new duology set in the same universe as the Folk of the Air series. How do you decide how much you are drawing from the previous series, and how much you are making this a more independent duology?
When I was writing Queen of Nothing, I became interested in exploring what became of Suren, who had clearly been deeply traumatized, and learning more about Oak. He’s a character for whom many people in his family made a lot of sacrifices — particularly his sisters Jude and Vivi — in the hopes that he wouldn’t have to live with the kind of tragedy that they did. But he still knows he’s the reason his family has been torn apart and the reason his birthmother is dead. We met both these characters as children, but in The Stolen Heir, they are older and on a quest that is taking then far outside of the Elfhame we know.
Fans of the Folk of the Air series are definitely looking for Easter eggs here. When writing the previous series, have you been planning for these Easter eggs all along?
There are a lot of “easter eggs” in the Folk of the Air series for the people who read my previous faerie books — we see old characters show up in new ways, particularly around the coronation in Cruel Prince. In The Stolen Heir, though, I think it’s less a question of easter eggs and more that the characters from the Folk of the Air series are deeply connected to Oak, so they’re going to organically be a part of the story.
The prologue of The Stolen Heir has been teased around the internet for a while. Have you looked at the reactions or have you been avoiding the comments?
I saw some of the comments on my Instagram. People seemed affected by how tragic Wren’s circumstances were and noted the ways her story paralleled Jude’s — but of course, the prologue only tells us but so much about what is to come!
The prologue often reads differently from the rest of the book, as it carries a more mysterious tone. Is the prologue usually the first thing you write, and is the writing process for the prologue any different from writing the rest of the book?
I do start with the prologue — and I think it sets the tone for me. I am a chronological writer, so I don’t usually skip around. I start at the start and write toward the ending, even when I am sure the ending is going to change several times along the way.
The Stolen Heir has a lot of backstabbing, twists and turns that will have readers screaming, either internally or externally. Can you share with us your usual feelings when you come up with a good twist? Do you pat yourself on the back or do you also scream?
I grin a wicked grin and rub my hands together maniacally.
Get your copy of The Stolen Heir here.