Winter Queen is a little different than my previous two books though. The tone is much darker. There's more violence. And there's one sex scene. *cringes* Let me be clear: THE SEX IS "OFF SCREEN". But it's still there. Because it has to be.
You see, one of the themes in Winter Queen is the treatment of women. It wasn't very long ago that women were thought of as a commodity (we still are, in some places/situations). I wanted to explore that in Winter Queen. So Ilyenna, cherished daughter and leader that she is, is basically thrown to the wolves to save the majority of her people.
So why the sex? Well, rape was and is one of the ways women are controlled. Ilyenna gets tired of having the threat of that thrown in her face and decides to take control of her own body in the only way she can. By choosing how and with whom.
I explore the consequences of that decision, but I can't get into much detail without spoiling parts of the book for you.
So why choose to write this book in the first place?
I remember watching Last of the Mohicans as a young teenager. One of the characters, Alice, watches her love interest die, and then is faced with a choice: kill herself or be forced to marry--be raped by and bear children for--her father's murderer. That theme--that choice--tore at the core of me, at what it meant to be a woman (note, the movie/book also explores what it is to be a man--a theme I also play with in the novel).
And I had to wonder, were those really the only two choices Alice had? What if she'd just waited few minutes longer? What if she'd survived that moment? What would have happened next?
That's what Winter Queen is about. I hope that girls, women, and mothers can see past the "oh my gosh! There's sex in this book, ban it!" and see the themes woven throughout are there for a reason. I hope young girls can read this book and realize that the only person who owns their body is themselves.
And they ALWAYS have a choice--one that doesn't have anything to do with a cliff.
Just a little hint, Winter Queen's ebook has gone up for sale early. *nervous!* We've been having problems with the print version, but hopefully the paperback will follow soon.