Have you ever witnessed a casting call for quite the unique weddings?
I asked author Heather Frost for a little chat with the characters of her brand New Adult Fantasy Romance trilogy, Esperance, before they got married—to strangers. She kindly pulled some strings for me and had the royal record keeper do a brief interview right before the weddings took place. So, check how (not) ready the 12 chosen are in my stop for the Esperance Blog Tour!
ESPERANCE CASTING CALL: WHO IS ‘READY’ TO GET MARRIED?
by Heather Frost
- Your Highness, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me. I know you’re busy, what with the weddings happening in just another hour. But as the royal record keeper, Emperor Vayne asked me to record a brief interview with each of the individuals who are about to get married.
Of course. I’m happy to answer your questions.
- Would you state your name for the record?
- Prince Argent, would you please tell us—in your own words—what’s happening here at Esperance?
Well, my grandfather—the emperor—wants to strengthen peace within the kingdoms of the empire. To do this, he asked for each kingdom to select an eligible individual and send them to the remote temple of Esperance. He’s arranged marriages among the twelve of us, and the ceremonies will be taking place this morning, as you already stated. And, of course, we’ll be living in this compound for a year, to keep us from any outside influences as we solidify these new alliances.
- How are you feeling right now?
Excited. This morning signifies the start of the rest of my life. I’m about to marry Jayveh Umbar, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
- Do you have any fears?
None. I know this will be a difficult year for many of the selected individuals, but I believe peace is worth any cost.
- You sound very confident.
I am. I believe in the goodness of people, and I think good things will come from this.
- Your name, please?
- What was your first reaction when you learned the emperor would choose your husband for you?
I was nervous at first—I think anyone would be. But I knew I would do my duty, and I can’t express how happy I am to marry Argent. I think I’ve loved him since I was a little girl, when he tended to my skinned knee.
- I didn’t realize you had such a close relationship with the heir to the empire. I haven’t seen you in the capitol for many years.
My uncle, the king of Xerra, has had his reasons for keeping me home. But I can assure you that Argent and I are indeed close, despite being kept apart for years.
- Are you looking forward to the coming year?
I am, yes. I’m excited to get to know everyone else here, and I truly believe in the emperor’s plan. Also, being relatively alone with Argent for a year sounds lovely.
- Would you state your name?
- General, you were recently fighting on the front lines in Harvari, where you sustained injuries, correct?
Yes, but I’m fully recovered and ready to serve the emperor in this new role.
- You have always had a close relationship with Argent Vayne and the emperor, haven’t you?
Yes, our families have been close for generations. Argent is my best friend.
- Perhaps it is a comfort to have him here with you, then. I will admit, I was surprised that the emperor included his only grandson—and his heir—in this venture.
I was surprised as well, but the emperor has his reasons—and so does Argent. Still, I plan on keeping an eye on Argent while we’re here, just in case.
- Do you expect trouble?
Always. It’s how I’m still alive.
- Could you tell us your name?
- You’re from Ferradin, correct? That’s quite the distance to travel to reach Esperance.
Yes, Ferradin is on the opposite side of the empire.
- What was your first reaction to receiving the news you would be marrying a stranger?
I was nervous. My first reaction was to say no, but that wasn’t possible. So, I am resolved to do what I must.
- That sounds quite final. And if you don’t mind me saying, you look a little pale. Are you feeling all right?
I’m fine. And I’m from Ferradin, so I’m always pale.
- Of course. One final question: You will be marrying General Carver Vincetti, as you just learned a moment ago. How do you feel about that?
Unnerved. But then, since he’s known as the Butcher, I think that’s understandable.
- What is your name?
- Ivan . . .?
- You’re from Sibet?
- I, ah, don’t—
Yenn. It is Sibeten for yes.
- Ah. Thank you. You are part of the elite fighting force known as the Wolves, correct?
- Ivan, you seem to be a man of few words. Is there anything you would like to state, for the record?
- And that means . . .?
- What is your name?
- The emperor allowed each person to bring an escort to Esperance. Who did you bring with you?
My older brother, Kian.
- And how are you both feeling this morning, now that you are moments away from your marriage to Ivan Baranov?
Well, I don’t know anything about Ivan. I’ve never even seen him. So, I suppose I’m nervous.
- And your brother?
He is . . . resigned. Saints, I shouldn’t have phrased it like that. Can you please not write that down? My brother will obey the emperor—as we do in all things.
- Could you please state your name?
- I believe you were once considered a friend of Carver Vincetti’s, is that correct?
Yes. Once. But that was years ago.
- Would you like to talk about your falling out?
- Very well. Your family holds some very important positions in the church, don’t they?
Yes. My father and older brothers all currently serve as Knights. They protect the interests of the church, as well as the clerics who serve the Divinities. My family has led many hunts against the empaths—who I don’t need to tell you are dangerous monsters. By killing them, my family has helped protect the entire empire. And that is a tradition I will continue to uphold here in Esperance—protect the empire, always.
- And what is your name?
- You will be marrying Rivard Quinn, I believe.
I would think one of the emperor’s record keepers would know better than me; after all, I was simply told to show up.
- Would you like to expound on your feelings about marrying for the good of the empire?
I will do my part. As I always do. And that’s all I would like to say at this time.
- What is your name?
- What do you think of the emperor’s plans here in Esperance?
Oh, I think the whole thing is brilliant! Political marriages are a completely sound idea, and I’m more than happy to participate in making history.
- What do you think of the rumors that the Rising (a quite insignificant rebel group, I’m assured) might have plans to stop these marriages and everything else at Esperance?
Oh, I’m sure they’re only rumors—nothing to worry about. The emperor has put in every safeguard for us here; after the weddings today, no one will be allowed in or out of Esperance. We’ll be perfectly safe. Besides, I think history has proven that no one can stand against the empire—certainly not a rag-tag group of rebels!
- What is your name?
Marriset Navarre, from Palar. My family is quite influential there, so I’m sure you’ve heard of us.
- Ah, yes, I have. Would you like to tell us something about yourself?
Well, my family is very important in Palar, so naturally I was selected to come to Esperance for this important undertaking. I will say that—despite all the time spent in important endeavors at home—I tried to fill my days with charitable work. You know, to help the less fortunate.
- What was your first reaction when you learned the name of the person you’re about to marry?
To be honest, I was expecting a different match. Darrin Fythen is fine, of course. But with the Navarre name, I thought I might be in the running for someone more notable. I hope you understand, I don’t say this to be rude—It’s just factual!
- What is your full name?
- Do you have a life motto?
Not a motto, as such. But I believe there is always more to be learned. I’m from Wendahl, so I suppose it’s no surprise I’m an advocate for education—we have the largest universities in the empire.
- Do you have any expectations for your future bride?
No, I just hope we can be friends.
- Do you feel safe here at Esperance?
Oh, uh . . . yes, I think so. Nowhere is ever completely safe, is it? But I know precautions have been taken, and we have many guards here. So, yes. I feel safe.
- What is your name?
- Would you care to share something about yourself?
I enjoy reading. As I child, I often disappeared in the library. My family learned to always look for me there, if I was missing.
- You are the last one I’ll be interviewing today. Would you like to give us a final thought about what you think is coming?
I’m not sure what will happen at Esperance. But I know it’s going to change my life, and I have a feeling it’s going to change the empire as well.
Esperance by Heather Frost
Click on the cover to read my review!
TWELVE STRANGERS. SIX MARRIAGES. ONE YEAR IN ESPERANCE.
Amryn has many reasons to hate the empire. Her latest is her forced marriage to General Carver Vincetti, better known as the Butcher. If he learns even one of her secrets, he will kill her. And Amryn has many secrets. Not only is she an empath with forbidden magic, she’s also a newly recruited rebel intent on destroying the empire—starting at Esperance.
Carver knows the rebels have infiltrated the remote temple of Esperance. His job is to hunt them down before they can wreck the emperor’s new peace. Despite the demons that haunt him, Carver is intent on his mission—but he’s not prepared for Amryn. From her fiery red hair to her surprising wit, his new wife has captured his attention. The attraction that flares between them is undeniable. Now he just has to determine if she’s the enemy.
When the newly married couples become targets in a violent game, Esperance becomes more dangerous than anyone anticipated. Carver and Amryn are about to discover that no one is exactly who they appear to be—especially each other.
The author is offering the opportunity for everyone (yes, open internationally!) to receive a bookmark when pre-ordering Esperance on Kindle (or buy the paperback on or before November 18th). All you have to do—after you pre-ordered it—is to fill out this form.
Heather Frost is an #1 Amazon bestselling author of YA/NA fantasy romance. Her books have been Whitney Award and Swoony Award Finalists, and Royal Decoy was a 2022 semifinalist in The Best In Indie Awards. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework. Heather lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains in northern Utah.