So, you've made it this far, have you? It takes dedication to find this page hidden deep within the Tagonist Knights Website.
As a reward, I present to you five new ways to immerse yourself within this novel. Some of it is insightful, other aspects of it is meant to make you laugh and smile. Hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll be eager to explore the book if you haven't already, or take a moment to read through it once again knowing what you do now.
“You are the sun on a cold winter’s day, providing warmth to the fragile life of a flower that desperately seeks its guiding light.” – Oliver
Say Hello - The Cast of Heart of Ice
“My heart is sealed away in this uncaring prison in my chest.”
The Ice Queen
“When you don’t have anything, you make do with the nothing you have.”
The Guardian Angel
“Did you want me to draw you a map or should I get my GPS out to help you find your way to truth town?”
“What you feel is true love, and I have faith that fate will guide you.”
The Caged Princess
“It’s better to die standing on your feet then bowing before the devil, begging for help in your darkest hour.” – Oliver
“I care not for the darkness that shrouds a history best forgotten. The light that you are in my life provides guidance away from such lingering shadows.” – Oliver
Origin Story: A long walk.
I used to go on walks when I was feeling stressed out during college. During one of those experiences, I was walking past a Fraternity having a party. People were filling the building, others standing around on the lawn socializing. I was this stranger, walking past. The thought of a girl coming out, approaching me, needing help, forever altering both of our lives flickered across my thoughts. That's how the concept for the story first began.
The original draft began with Oliver being a part of a telemarketer company and his friend is routed through to his terminal. His friend convinces him to take a coworker to a party where she would essentially be dating Oliver's friend, using him just for a ride. He agrees, which is how he ends up at the party. I didn't like that version and ended up cutting the scene.
Another opening scene was between Victoria and Mina at the party. Essentially I felt like the roommate was getting too much time in the story, distracting from Oliver and Mina. In each revision, she was removed more and more. For instance, when Oliver wakes up in Mina's bedroom, originally Victoria finds him there and they are talking when Mina returns much to her frustration. Another scene involved Victoria picking up Oliver who was walking and takes him to the local store. That leads into Mina seeing Oliver and Victoria together, upsetting her. She goes to the bathroom, not the car, and Mitch has to convince her to leave since she's clearly upset.
Original Concept Cover Art
Book Shelf Presentation
Origin Story: A sister?
In the first draft, Alice didn't exist. The original scene was between Victoria and Oliver, where the roommate was trying to make Mina jealous. With her being removed, I needed a female that would lead to a misunderstanding but wasn't a romantic interest. Thus, a sibling was introduced. I had no clue that I would end up having an entire book dedicated to her development.
There was originally a sub-plot where Mina dated a man she met at a gym she was attending. It turns out he was married and cheated on his wife often. Mina discovers the truth and reveals what he's been doing to his wife. Again, removed since it took away/distracted from the main plot without adding anything to the over all story.
Another removed scene was Oliver meeting with Victoria and a pair of these vicious, mean, bitter friends of hers. Where Oliver learns the truth of Victoria at the restaurant and he leaves, this deleted scene was his realization that Victoria was trouble and after her friends make fun of him, he walks away.
Originally the final scene between Oliver and Mina cuts to the barbeque in his lawn without the scene involving Alice meeting Mitch for the first time. I needed more for the book and so I wrote about that scene. This led to one of my favorite moments, when Mitch reacts to a "curtsey". Also, two distinctly different personalities meeting like that was highly entertaining to write.
So many changes.
I had the scene between the hostess of the party and Oliver in the original draft. I took it out at one point but had it saved. With the opening between Mina and Victoria removed, I needed to find a new introductory scene and that's when I brought back that interaction between the pair. It was an ideal way to introduce the audience to Oliver and some of his background.
The orignial draft was shorter than the final version so I added a lot more expansion into the depths of each person. For instance, Mina's father cheating on his first wife wasn't originally revealed.
In the original ending, Oliver gets a call from Mina's brother who played bigger role in her life. With a more in depth background expanded upon, his absence in her life negated this scene.
Oliver meeting at Mina's apartment originally led to them walking to a movie rental place and having a scene there. Obviously I took it out since it was clunky at best. Also, at the end of that scene, Mina finally tells Oliver she loves him. I felt that she needed time to work up to that, so its not until months later that they're in a relationship, that she finally feels comfortable expressing that to him.
Originally Oliver was first person "I" voice, much like Mystical Alliance was. I wanted to move away from that personification of who I was and let these people be their own individuals. Over all, this book has gone through dozens of changes, drafts, and edited versions.
A cover so good, the designer artist uses it for her advertisement.
“I would rather fail as a free man then to succeed as a prisoner.” – Oliver
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
What is in a name?
Oliver is named after the cat from the movie:
Oliver and Company.
Man of Steel
Oliver's last name, Kent, is derived from Clark Kent.
Ron was inspired by Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.
The setting is during the winter, a reflection of the "ice" that is Mina's emotional state.
The end of the book is set during the warmer summer days, reflecting the changes in Mina.
Be a Queen
Mitch's last name, Bulsara, is the birth name of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of "Queen".
Down the Rabbit Hole
Alice, Oliver's sister, is named after Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
Mitch mentions owning a "fur baby". The third book reveals that he owns a Corgi.
Mitch's nickname for Mina, Ice Queen, is inspired by a character in the novel: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Bring a Towel
On page 87, Oliver mentions highway turn off 42. A reference to an important number in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
The book cover is symbolic of Mina as the Ice Queen, holding a fragile flower that represents Oliver.
I was inspired by a close friend of mine who is vegetarian to make Mina one, also.
And now... My Favorite.
Both Mina and Oliver have green eyes because I have green eyes. When I originally wrote the story, they reflected elements of who I was. My duel nature like Oliver, my struggle with coping with the past the way Mina does. They have certainly grown beyond those origins, being their own unique souls, but their eye color remains the same.
“Even if I was a perfect ten before I met you, you’ve made me realize that a twenty exists, far beyond my reach.” - Oliver