1. Who is your favorite character?
This is a difficult question to answer! I love so many of the characters in Her Frozen Wild. I really like Opyea. She’s a Scythian warrior. She can do anything. I like capable people, and I’d love to have her as a friend. You’d know that she’d always have your back. Actually, I’d love to be her. I really like Sergei, too. We see him through many time periods and at different ages. He goes through so much during the course of this book, but he’s always devoted to Ursula. He loves her unconditionally. But probably my favorite character is Ursula.
2. Why is she your favorite?
She’s the main character of the book, and she goes through a lot of changes. She starts out being afraid of many of things. For instance, she’s afraid to fly. Her marriage has just ended. Her mother disappeared in a Siberian cave years earlier and she was raised by her grandmother, so she’s never felt like she’s been on stable ground in her lifetime. Ursula goes to Russia in spite of her fear of flying, and she begins a relationship with the mysterious Sergei, which I thought was quite brave. Then he tells her he’s known her before and she’s destined to save the shapechanging People. She wonders if he’s crazy, but her life is such a mess that she decides to see if there’s any truth to what he’s saying. She lets a shaman tattoo her back in a mysterious cave. In the next moment she ends up alone in another cave in Siberia--practically freezing to death--but she doesn’t become catatonic: She goes with it! She wants her life to have some meaning. I think most people do. Later she ends up with a group of Scythians and she learns survival skills. She learns how to ride and hunt and generally take care of herself. She doesn’t whine about her situation-which is what I would do!--but just keeps going. I admire her for carrying on and becoming the hero of her own story.
3. How did you come to create her?
I saw an article in National Geographic magazine about the discovery of ancient tattooed mummies in in Siberia. The researchers believed one of the mummies was probably a priestess or shaman. She was buried with a long conical hat and several other items which indicated she had some status in the tribe. I was completely entranced by the story and the idea of this woman. What would she be like? How did live? What did the tattoos mean for her? And what would happen if they took her DNA and it happened to match up with an American archaeologist’s DNA, an American archaeologist whose mother disappeared in Siberia decades earlier? That gave me chills! And that becomes a major question throughout the book: Is Ursula the “Lady.” And if she is, how is that possible? And if she isn’t, why does her DNA match? That was the beginning of Ursula.
4. When did she first enter your mind?
After I read the Nat Geo article, Ursula knocked on my imagination door and said, “Tell my story.” That’s what it often feels like to me: as though the character comes to me and asks me to tell her story. Characters are always central to my stories, and what they have to say is the heart of my books.
5. Where was she given life in the creative process?
Ursula came to me pretty early on in the process, probably right at the beginning, and she was whole and real right from the start.
6. What do like the most about her and what do you dislike the most about her?
I liked that she’s one of those people who others don’t notice at first, and when they do, they’re not really comfortable with her. She stays to herself, for the most part, but she’s not anti-social. She has a gift with languages, for instance. She can learn a language almost instantly. Since other people find this bizarre and fascinating at the same time, she doesn’t broadcast this particular talent. I like that even though she’s afraid, she keeps going forward. When people says they are fearless, then they’re not really brave; they don’t actually have courage--they just have no fear. But if someone has fear and she still acts, that’s courageous. I like that about Ursula. I don’t dislike much about her. I wish she hadn’t stayed with her twit of a husband for as long as she did, but it all worked out in the end. She didn’t see her own worth and abilities for a long time. I don’t dislike that about her--I understand it--but her life might have been easier if she’d known herself better sooner.
Scientists in the Altai in Siberia uncover the 2,500 year old frozen mummy of a tattooed priestess or shaman. This mummy has the same mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) as American archaeologist Ursula Smith whose mother disappeared in Siberia 30 years earlier. Ursula travels from the U.S. to Siberia to unravel the mystery of the “lady” and meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who graciously invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers he has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. A shaman takes Ursula to one of the sacred timeless caves where Ursula’s mother supposedly disappeared. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she must unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei—even if it costs her her life.
price: print: $16.99, e-book: $6.99
number of pages: 372
genre: adventure, mainstream, fantasy, science fiction
publisher: Green Snake Publishing
release date: January 2012
buy links: Print, Kindle, Barnes&Noble.com, Smashwords
About the Author
Kim Antieau has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s SF, The Clinton Street Quarterly, The Journal of Mythic Arts, EarthFirst!, Alternet, Sage Woman, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She was the founder, editor, and publisher of Daughters of Nyx: A Magazine of Goddess Stories, Mythmaking, and Fairy Tales. Her work has twice been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and has appeared in many Best of the Year anthologies. Critics have admired her “literary fearlessness” and her vivid language and imagination. She has had nine novels published. Her first novel, The Jigsaw Woman, is a modern classic of feminist literature. Kim lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.
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