Having read The Midnight Girls and fallen in love, I knew I had to ask if Alicia Jasinska would want to collaborate. The Midnight Girls asks questions about sacrifice and love. About what it means to be monstrous. Keep reading so you can find out all about this queer fantasy!
The Midnight Girls
It’s Karnawał season in the snow-cloaked Kingdom of Lechija, and from now until midnight when the church bells ring an end to Devil’s Tuesday time will be marked with wintry balls and glittery disguises, cavalcades of nightly torch-lit “kuligi” sleigh-parties.
Unbeknownst to the oblivious merrymakers, two monsters join the fun, descending upon the royal city of Warszów in the guise of two innocent girls. Newfound friends and polar opposites, Zosia and Marynka seem destined to have a friendship that’s stronger even than magic. But that’s put to the test when they realize they both have their sights set on Lechija’s pure-hearted prince. A pure heart contains immeasurable power and Marynka plans to bring the prince’s back to her grandmother in order to prove herself. While Zosia is determined to take his heart and its power for her own.
When neither will sacrifice their ambitions for the other, the festivities spiral into a wild contest with both girls vying to keep the hapless prince out of the other’s wicked grasp. But this isn’t some remote forest village, where a hint of stray magic might go unnoticed, Warszów is the icy capital of a kingdom that enjoys watching monsters burn, and if Zosia and Marynka’s innocent disguises continue to slip, their escalating rivalry might cost them not just the love they might have for each other, but both their lives.
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I love how THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS examines this idea of not only ‘monstrous girls’ but also ambitious girls too. Can you talk about how you see Zosia and Marynka? How did these characters come to you?
I think they’re both undeniably monstrous. They have iron teeth and claws and very little regard for human life. Marynka revels in the chaos she creates and Zosia only starts to develop an inkling of a conscience by the end. They were always meant to be the villains of the story.
Personally, I don’t consider them monstrous because they’re ambitious, but I know some readers may interpret them that way. Girls who unapologetically go after what they want and seek power for themselves are often labelled as a threat or seen as something unnatural and dangerous. I always had a very clear image of Marynka in my head right from the beginning. I wrote Zosia to be her foil and opposite – someone who would both challenge and inspire her.
One of my favorite elements was the friendship between Beata and Marynka. Was their friendship present in all drafts of THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS?
Marynka and Beata’s friendship is one of my favorite things too – which is funny because Beata wasn’t even in the very first draft of the story! Instead, Marynka and Zosia were originally close friends. But that didn’t really work with the reveals I wanted to write and with their rivalry. Plus, I needed a Morning to go with my Midday and Midnight, so I introduced Beata into the next draft as Marynka’s best friend and her role just kept growing and expanding with each revision. I don’t think it would be the same book without her honestly.
What were some of your historical fiction inspirations for THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS? Did you have to do research for this historical fiction time period?
I started writing THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS after reading too much Mickiewicz (Polish poet) and too many biographies about famous Polish heroes like Tadeusz Kościuszko and Józef Poniatowski. The story is a fantasy and not meant to be historically accurate, but I did include a lot of hinted references to people and events that took place at the end of the 18th century. I had a lot of fun doing research.
Can you sum up the main characters in favorite songs, colors, or astrological sign?
Zosia: Capricorn. Sky blue. enemy (Charli XCX)
Marynka: Aries. Red. All The Things She Said (Poppy cover)
Beata: Virgo. Gold. Don’t Let Me Down feat. Daya (The Chainsmokers)
Was the title always THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS? Were there any lines or scenes that stayed the same from their initial ideas to the final draft?
Honestly, I’m really bad at coming up with titles so THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS was actually chosen by my US publisher after they rejected all my terrible suggestions lol
As for scenes and lines, I think the only thing that didn’t change from the beginning was the sleigh chase scene. Everything else went through so many rewrites and revisions. It took me a frustratingly long time to figure out how to write this story in a way that I was happy with.
Who was your favorite side character? Which was the hardest/easiest to write?
I have a special place in my heart for Kajetan! He tries so hard. He’s probably my favorite side character. I love his dynamic with Marynka and I made him suffer a lot so I feel kind of bad.
Marynka was by far the easiest to write. I knew exactly what she wanted right from the start, but it took me several drafts to really figure out what Zosia’s motivations should be and her voice. I think because she’s a lot more reserved and secretive than Marynka.
Are there plans for future books in this universe? I loved them so much and that ending!
I always envisioned The Midnight Girls as a standalone, so I don’t have any immediate plans to write a sequel or anything. But I don’t want to say I’d never return to that universe. I already miss the characters!
About the Author
Alicia Jasinska is a fantasy writer hailing from Sydney, Australia. A library technician by day, she spends her nights writing and hanging upside down from the trapeze and aerial hoop. She is the author of THE DARK TIDE and THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS.