As our first guest editor for the thrilling month of October, Scarlett St. Clair couldn’t be more perfect! This fantasy/horror fan favorite is the best-selling author of the Hades & Persephone series, and is obsessed with Greek mythology, murder mysteries and the afterlife. She’s also a citizen of the Muscogee Nation with a Master’s degree in Library Science (hellloooo book lover!). Her newest book, King of Battle and Blood, is an epic fantasy filled with danger, darkness and insatiable romance.
In King of Battle and Blood, Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be her death day—because to end a years’ long war, she is to marry vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev—and then she must kill him. Her attempt is thwarted though, and Adrian has one thing to tell her: if Isolde tries to kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him. And while she must survive the brutal vampire court, it’s ultimately Adrian she fears most—until she faces their undeniable chemistry. And the question always in the back of her mind: why did Adrian, the king, choose her? The answer is one that will shatter her world.
Here we talked to Scarlett St. Clair about her favorite supernatural creatures, having 13+ million TikTok hashtags, and the new dark world of King of Battle and Blood. And don’t miss the Ten Book Challenge: Scarlett St. Clair’s Book-It List!
What can readers expect from the new dark fantasy world of King of Battle and Blood?
The world of King of Battle and Blood is very atmospheric—it’s both horrifying and romantic, and the characters reflect this. We are introduced to Isolde, a human who must rediscover her identity after she agrees to marry Adrian, a vampire king, to save her people. She’s strong-willed and skilled and she’s very fond of knives—a good trait to have in this world as it is infested with monsters that feed on all manner of life (all the creatures in the book are some variation of a vampire).
You’ve launched into a new realm of worldbuilding, featuring a fearless human female forced to wed a powerful vampire king. What was the inspiration behind this new series?
I honestly cannot think of one thing that really inspired this series, save for their voices in my head. Adrian and Isolde were very strong characters, and both of them came to me already having this power and dominant dynamic. Basically, they argued a lot. I just let them talk. After I had a few scenes, I started doing research on vampire mythology and drew a lot of inspiration from there.
Do you start out knowing how your books or series are going to end?
I usually know how a book will end. I knew how King of Battle and Blood would end, and I have an idea of where the series will end, but it isn’t fully formed. I suppose I mostly know where everyone is emotionally by the end more than the actual events.
What is your favorite mythology character, or supernatural creature (or both!)?
I have a fondness for any kind of witch or characters associated with witches—Hecate and Selene, for instance, from Greek Myth. I read a lot of books on witchery to understand magic for both my Hades x Persephone series and my Adrian x Isolde series. I think the history of witches reflects the fear men have of women, which is why in KBB, only goddesses are women and only witches are women—it’s that idea that they will eventually rise from the ashes.
With your A Touch of Darkness series, you went viral with 13+ million TikTok views on hashtags alone. What do you think is the best, and most challenging, thing that platforms like TikTok bring to the publishing industry?
Some really great books are being discovered on TikTok. I think it gives insight into what readers want to see on their shelves and we should always be paying attention to that. The most challenging is probably weighing what to invest in—how far can you take a brand? I think the publishing industry looks at a career, not just a series.