I've been sharing quite a bit about my upcoming Snow White retelling, The Ruin of Snow. If you subscribe to my newsletter you've already gotten to read the first chapter and met protagonist Neyva, but here's a little more about her for all of you.
Playing the part of Snow White, Neyva is the youngest of the three Morningspell daughters, heiresses to a noble fortune and born witches. Trained from birth by her fearsome mother, she's skilled in curses and other enchantments and was raised to act more as a weapon than anything. But despite the heartless mask she's worn since childhood, Neyva is a brilliant and determined girl who will fight to the end for what she believes in. When she begins second-guessing her upbringing and her family's ruthless ways, she finds herself thrown into a life-or-death struggle against her two sisters, who have been sent to bring her home--or eliminate her. I've never been a huge fan of the original Snow White as a character, as she's always felt very plain and submissive to me, so Neyva became a big twist. Though she follows Snow White's core journey she takes a little bit of a darker path, unafraid to manipulate and fight when necessary.
I really do love the way her story turned out, as she fights for not only her life but her own identity and independence. And her relationship with the seven "dwarves"--her unexpected allies in her fight, who you'll meet in an upcoming post--is honestly one of my favorites I've ever written.
There were some definite challenges to writing Neyva's character, as much as I loved it. Taking on her as a protagonist went a little out of my comfort zone and it was daunting to make a coldhearted character who doesn't shy away from death and violence likable. As much as I like a good antihero, and Neyva does fall into that spectrum, I'd never written one in the narrator role. But knowing so much else was beneath the surface waiting to be forced out by her circumstances was a lot of fun. Exploring the nuances of good and evil throughout the story was a big undertaking as well and all I can do is hope it came through as I wanted.
Check out some of the music that inspired Neyva and her journey:
And meet Neyva in the sneak peek below
There was silence as we finished, and when the powder was gone Tulia paused at the door and watched me. I waited. “Do you remember,” she started, “the year Father and Alaric died?”
But she remembered something I didn’t from the way she tilted her head. “We had a celebration for Alaric’s birthday. It was during the plague, not long before he caught it, so it wasn’t a public one—they were too worried about all the children—but we had one on the estate, just us. Sarafine had concocted some game for us to play and assigned all our roles. She was the queen, Alaric the king. You were a servant. And after some time of us ordering you about, making you do things you didn’t want to do, you suddenly…started yelling. You were so upset that someone had to come take you away.”
“What are you trying to tell me, Tulia?”
“I mean…” She paused as if to gather her thoughts, and then shook her head. “Are you ready for your nameday?”
“Of course I am.” I’d been preparing for it all my life. Mother had been making plans since I’d been born. Both of my sisters had faced their eighteenth namedays without so much as a stumble, and I would be no different.
Like every Morningspell woman before me.
Tulia didn’t move her gaze. I busied myself with the magicked powder rather than look at her. “You know what it will involve.”
I knew well. “And?”
“And it’s not as simple as I think you believe.”
I refrained from rolling my eyes. “Tulia, I’ve all but properly sworn to Her. The one difference will be receiving my full magic. You and Sarafine did it. Mother did it. It’s the way of things.”
As every witch did on her eighteenth nameday, for centuries and centuries past, I would swear myself to Nalcai, give my heart to Her, and be gifted the full extent of my power in return. It would be the final night of my studies, and I’d be, by all laws of magic, a true witch.
“That it is,” Tulia murmured.
I had stopped walking at some point, the stone bowl clutched over my chest, and I forced one foot in front of the other again. It was merely my nameday, so why did the thought make my heart race? Once I swore to Nalcai that would be gone. Never again—no heartbreak, no foolish trust. Only clarity.
I tossed the last pinch of powder, turned on a heel, and set the bowl in its place on the table. The tall candlesticks vibrated with the force. “Mother will be waiting,” I said.
Tulia returned hers and linked her arm with mine. “I hope all goes to plan, little sister.”
“It always does.”
The Ruin of Snow is currently available exclusively as part of the Enchanted Kingdoms box set--22 full-length novels for just $0.99, and all proceeds go to a children's autism charity!