I have a lot of favorite things about Hunted, but one of the things I like best about it is its setting. The story takes place in medieval Russia, at the edge of a vast and uncharted wood, just as winter is approaching. I’ve always loved winter—that scene in Gilmore Girls, where Lorelei talks about her relationship with winter? Yeah, that’s me—and I suspect it was always inevitable that I was going to set my first fairy tale retelling in a place with one of the deadliest, harshest winters imaginable.
To me, snow is primal—it’s dangerous and deadly, unstoppable and alien. But it can also be stunningly lovely, gentle, breathtaking. It only made sense to set Beauty and the Beast, a story about the duality of what it is to be human, against a backdrop that can reflect such varied natures.
When the idea for Hunted first came to me, I was in the middle of writing what would become my debut novel, Skylark. Hunted seized hold of me, and wouldn’t let me go, so I told myself that I could write a thousand words of it to get it out of my system, and then go finish Skylark. That scene, in which Yeva is stalking her beastly prey through a snowy wood, remains one of my favorites in the whole book—and has remained almost completely untouched and unedited from that day, years ago, when the idea for the book came to me.