Today, we have a wonderful guest post from Frostblood author Elly Blake, talking about the teacher who made a impact on her life. Then, be sure to keep reading to learn more about her thrilling new book Frostblood, the first in a fantasy series about a world in which people have the powers of fire and ice. Plus, we’ve got your chance to win a copy!
Most students don’t end up with the same English lit teacher for every year of high school, but as it happened, I did. In my small town high school, Tony Nespolon was pretty much THE English teacher.
This was fortunate for me.
First of all, Mr. Nespolon was exacting. When he gave us guidelines, he expected us to follow them. Margins were measured. Footnotes had to be perfectly formatted. Typos were slashed with a red pen. Sloppy thinking and clichés were called out. We learned to pay attention to detail.
More importantly, he made the classes interesting. Fascinating, even. His enthusiasm for literature was genuine, heartfelt, and dramatic. We put on debates, performed plays, wrote short stories, and memorized Shakespeare. When Mr. Nespolon offered a class in Old English, the class was full. (It was actually Middle English—Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, etc.—but Old English must have sounded better in the course catalogue.)
Finally, he engaged us as people. We liked him, so we wanted to impress him. I once did a project on ballads, and found several versions of the song Barbara Allen, including a clip from a Loonie Toons cartoon where Porky Pig (as Friar Tuck) sings a few bars. We went out of our way like that. One of the best indicators of your success during a presentation was whether you could make Mr. Nespolon laugh. It was a well-known fact that if you made him snort, you’d get an A.
After high school, a surprising number of graduates chose English literature as their majors, and I think that’s because he had made English a favorite subject for so many. Me included.
It was many years after high school before I started writing fiction, but the lessons I learned in Mr. Nespolon’s English class stay with me. Good educators set the foundation for success in many ways, and some of those ways are so subtle it takes you years to realize where they came from.
Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.
All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.
Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.
In stores NOW!
Elly Blake loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of seemingly random jobs, including project manager, customs clerk, graphic designer, reporter for a local business magazine, and library assistant. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky mix who definitely shows Frostblood tendencies.
Her work is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media.
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