by Sharon Ashwood, author of Valkyrie’s Conquest
Hot and cold makes a lot of steam, and that was exactly what I wanted for my tale of a sword maiden. Imagine an urban fantasy landscape, complete with marauding demons. Imagining an ice queen of an immortal reaping the souls of the dead, blind to love until a smoking hot dragon shifter awakens her heart.
I didn’t have to look far for inspiration for VALKYRIE’S CONQUEST. I was driving home with my radio tuned to an opera—which has nothing to do with my story except that it got me thinking about Norse myth. I’d read and reread those stories as a child, loving the tales of Odin, Loki, and Thor. The old gods were immortal and powerful but still subject to trickery and the Fates. As a consequence, they were always in some kind of trouble.
And, of course, there were the stories of the sword maidens, the beautiful Valkyries who reaped the souls of fallen warriors. Right there was the kernel of my story, because in the old myths, the youngest Valkyrie was trapped in a ring of fire until a mighty warrior kissed her awake from a magical slumber. The original kick-ass, sword-toting heroine, she’d been punished by her father, Odin, for disobedience—and for falling in love.
Like any good author, I plundered the story elements I wanted, added others, and came up with my own tale. The flames needed a personality, and so I gave my Valkyrie a dragon to love. And they needed a fight to win, and so I sent in demons—not to mention Odin and the Fates. It takes a dragon’s fiery heart and a Valkyrie’s sword to earn their happy ending, and sacrifices must be made.
The best folk tales are all about courage and faith and learning to love. That’s what I remember from the old myths, and those are the parts I didn’t change at all. Good stories are timeless, and even if I did send my sword maiden into coffee shops and gave her high heels, she has the same true, brave soul of the original. And as for Bron the dragon, with his brutal honesty and huge heart, well, he knows how to melt an ice maiden.
Fire ice = steam. Enough said.
About Valkyrie’s Conquest:
As a Valkyrie, Tyra was created for one purpose: to reap souls for Odin’s army. After centuries of walking among mortal warriors, she finally discovers what it is to want a man during a chance encounter with a dragon in human form.
Bron has no part in the war between the demons and the gods’ chosen people—nor does he want one. Finally free from the oppressive rule of the dragon queen, he desires nothing more than his independence. But, when Tyra is betrayed, he finds he has no choice but to take a side in the struggle between good and evil.
Once he joins the battle, Bron is subject to the Fates, whom Tyra serves. Will she defy the will of the gods to spare the dragon she loves?