I spent part of last Friday at my son’s preschool, helping him celebrate his third birthday. He walked around a lighted candle (representing the sun) three times, while I recounted highlights of each of his years. Parker loved it — mostly because he got to run around a candle — but I did too. I’m no longer awed by candles, but I appreciated the excuse to stop and reflect on three magical years.Devil's Frost

Which is a long intro to say that I’ve been feeling warm and nostalgic all week. Mostly because of Parker, but also because we are releasing Devil’s Frost, the third book in Heidi R. Kling’s Spellspinners series.

You see, Heidi has been here from the beginning. She was Coliloquy’s first author. That, alone, would keep her close to my heart, but she also lives a mile from me and she is as amazing a person as she is a writer…so she has become a dear friend.

I met Heidi on February 23, 2011 at 9:30am, when Parker and Coliloquy were both brand spanking new. I was likely sleep-deprived and mentally fuzzy, but Heidi got what we were doing immediately and she told me about her new YA trilogy — Romeo and Juliet, but with warlocks and witches. She said that the beginning and ending were well-defined, but she’d written at least 30 different pathways. “Their fates are written, but how they get there? That’s the interesting part.”

And that’s also the interesting part about Heidi. Three years later, I feel like she could write an infinite number of pathways for her characters, because she inhabits them in a way that is very unique — she doesn’t so much tell stories as breathe life into these teens.

When I look back at her original manuscript, there are startling differences in plot, but the characters have remained remarkably the same. Heidi challenges them with new scenes, and they react differently to the new stimuli, but who they are never wavers.

The character who benefited the most from Heidi’s exploration of different pathways has to be British bad boy Jude. Did any of us EVER think Logan could be unseated in our hearts? I certainly didn’t. I predicted our readers would simply flip from one scene of Logan’s ink creeping up his arms to the next. (Aside: Could there ever be a more perfect YA metaphor for teen lust?) But as soon as Heidi started playing “what if”, Jude suddenly stepped into the frame and demanded our attention.

Fans of both guys won’t be disappointed with Devil’s Frost — Jude steams up the pages in a master class of YA hot boy-ness, and Logan’s mix of strength and vulnerability will melt your heart.

The biggest difference between Devil’s Frost and the prior two books is that we’ve reached Heidi’s well-defined ending from three years ago. There are no additional pathways to explore — just one blistering race down the home stretch. Devil’s Frost is very much Lily’s story, so Heidi tells it first from her perspective. Afterwards, you can reread the book from Logan’s point of view, filling in small gaps and (of course) swooning over his magical charms. As an ending bonus/teaser, Heidi also gives us our first look at the world through Daisy’s joyful and uninhibited eyes. Her short perspective at the end of the book teases a whole new layer of Spellspinners mythology, setting up the next chapter for our beloved witches and warlocks.

So happy third launch day, Heidi! Don’t forget to blow out the candle after you’re done circling it.

xx – L