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Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Greta K. Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with offerings of too-beautiful-to-use journals and Butterfingers candy. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband EJ, daughter Lorelei, and a cat who may, or may not, control the weather.

Greta Kelly author photo_pc Holen Photography

In this post, Kelly reveals the biggest surprise of her publication journey, how her novel changed over time, and much more!


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Name: Greta Kelly
Literary agent: Jennifer Udden
Title: The Frozen Crown
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: January 12, 2021
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Elevator pitch for the book: A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.


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What prompted you to write this book?

I always find it impossible to trace back the exact root of this story simply because it’s been percolating for so long in my brain. But I think it all comes back to a daydream I once had: a woman sitting atop a horse looking down at a city below, an army arrayed at her back. Who was she? Was she there to conquer? Surrender? What did she want? What were her hopes, her dreams? Answering these questions (and many more) was what brought The Frozen Crown into being.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

I first started writing The Frozen Crown back in 2016, and while it seems like everything has changed from those original chapters, the core of the story really hasn’t. My main character, Askia, has always been at its heart. Her drive to save her people—and be worthy of her title—has remained strong over all the years of edits.

(Building Better Worlds: Five Tips to Guide Your Planning Process)

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 

This is my debut novel, and the novel that caught the eye of my amazing agent, so it is fair to say that the entire process was a surprise! But if there was one thing that I wasn’t quite prepared for, it was the timeframe. I always read that publishing was a marathon, but I had no real concept of how long. The Frozen Crown sold to Harper Voyager back in 2019 and will be released this January. That’s a long wait, but so, so worth it!

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Once upon a time, I was a die-hard pantser—that is someone who writes without an outline in mind. And, well… let’s just say that that method was not working for me. This was the first book that I ever sat down and wrote a detailed outline for, and I will never look back. Even though that outline changed many times from the first draft to the last, it was invaluable—not only in helping me write those early drafts quickly but so much more cleanly than the books I had written previously.

(20 Things to Consider When Building Fantasy Worlds)

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope that readers will dive into Askia’s story and see a woman capable of wielding many different kinds of power, from martial to political. Askia is someone who, even when she gets knocked down—and she gets knocked down hard—always gets back up. I hope that her perseverance and determination will resonate with readers in a way they can truly identify with.


If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Finding good critique partners is truly vital. If there aren’t any writing groups in your town, look online. Having your work critiqued by a skilled reader, and learning how to critique, is an invaluable education that will truly help you grow as a writer. 

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