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Coming Soon: Iron Flame!

Plus, 8 fun facts about author Rebecca Yarros

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • October 22, 2023

Iron Flame, the second book of The Empyrean Series by Rebecca Yarros comes out in two weeks and we can't wait to get our hands on it! The book is available for preorder and, while supplies last, you can get in on a limited first-print run featuring spray-painted edges with gorgeously detailed map endpapers.

Ever since Fourth Wing, book one in the series, came out earlier this year, the thrilling romantasy (romance + fantasy) has been captivating readers, even many who don't usually go for fantasy romance. The story could be described as a cross between The Hunger Games and A Court of Thorns and Roses—with dragons!

While we wait (impatiently) for our copies of Iron Flame to arrive, we are taking the opportunity to get to know Rebecca Yarros a bit better. Here are eight fun facts about the author.

1. She's spent much of her life in a military family.

The hardest battles—the most meaningful ones—they’re fought against ourselves. Against our own fears, our own weaknesses, our own shattered expectations of what we thought this life would be.

Growing up as an army brat, Yarros's family moved all over the world until her parents retired and settled in Colorado. As an adult, she repeated this pattern, marrying a military man and moving all over the world with him for 22 years until his recent retirement, back to Colorado. Yarros has said that both of her grandfathers also served in the military. This family history probably explains the fact that several of her books feature characters in the armed forces. Here are just a few:

  • In the Likely Event—Nate and Izzy are instantly attracted to one another when they meet on a plane. But when their plane goes down, it quashes any thoughts of romance. Years later, they are reunited in Afghanistan where Nate is stationed. Will they get a second chance?
  • The Last Letter—When Ryan dies in the line of duty, he leaves a letter asking his best friend, Beckett, to take care of his twin sister. Ella is a single mother to twins, one of whom is battling cancer.
  • Great and Precious Things—When Camden returns from war without his younger brother, no one in his small Colorado town can forgive him, especially not his father.

2. Being a reader inspired her to become a writer.

There is nothing more sacred than the Archives. Even temples can be rebuilt, but books cannot be rewritten.

During her husband Jason's early deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, she was reading a book a day to pass the nights without him. So, during his third deployment, she decided to try her hand at writing her own. It took her a year, but a month after Jason returned from his fourth deployment, Full Measures, was published, the first in Yarros's five-book Flight & Glory series. The story is about a young woman trying to take care of her crumbling family after her father's death in Afghanistan.

3. She has six kids!

If I’m not writing or playing guitar, I’m usually tying hockey skates for our four boys, or sneaking in John Hughes marathons with my two daughters.

In a sweet Instagram post, Yarros wrote "Neither of my daughters carry my genes, but both carry my heart. They're sixteen years apart, my bookends, my first and last kiddos with all those boys smooshed in the middle." She calls her oldest daughter her "favorite wedding present" and has often spoken about fostering and adopting her youngest daughter. According to her bio on Goodreads, she is "currently surviving the teenage years with all four of her hockey-playing sons." All that, and she has also published 21 novels in fewer than ten years. Color us impressed!

4. She suffers from a chronic illness.

We can either breathe through the pain or we can let it shape us.

In 2021, Yarros was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a rare disease that all four of her sons also have. EDS is the result of a gene mutation that causes issues with the production and processing of collagen, a type of protein found in your body's connective tissues. Symptoms of the disease include hypermobility and instability of joints, fragile or loose skin, chronic pain, and others.

Although it is not explicitly stated, Violet from The Empyrean Series also has EDS. The character is depicted as constantly battling with her physical limitations and the accommodations she must accept in order to function.

5. One of her books was inspired by Jane Austen.

Sometimes the only way to keep what you need is to let go of what you want.

In a 2021 interview, Yarros said, "When I watched Sanditon on Masterpiece Theater, I was flabbergasted that they ended season one on a cliffhanger, and couldn’t stop thinking, you don’t do Jane Austen like that! And boom, I started thinking about The Things We Leave Unfinished."

Told in alternating storylines, The Things We Leave Unfinished is the story of Georgia, a twenty-eight-year-old woman who is trying to rebuild her life after a brutal divorce. Meanwhile, she is working alongside Noah, the arrogant author hired to finish the unfinished novel left behind by Georgia's great-grandmother, Scarlett. As the two work through Scarlett's manuscript and letters, they realize that the book is based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot and that the ending isn't a happy one.

6. Becoming a foster parent changed her life.

Nothing in my life prepared me for how much I would love you.

Ever since Yarros and her husband welcomed Audrey-Grace, their youngest child, as foster child in 2013, they have been passionate about helping children in the foster system. Two years after Audrey-Grace joined their family, the couple formally adopted the toddler and a few years after that they established One October, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clothes and other supplies needed by foster kids, who often come into the system with nothing.

7. She's a fan of romantic gestures.

I’ve seen love burn someone to the ground, and I’ve seen it make sense of the ridiculous. I won’t settle for less than that kind of fire.

Yarros says that the reason she loves writing romance is that it allows her to "fall in love over and over again." She describes her own romance with husband Jason as blissful and she says that he has inspired several characters from her books like Jameson from The Things We Leave Unfinished and Jagger from Eyes Turned Skyward.

When asked about the best date she ever had, Yarros shared the following story:

"When I told my husband we hadn’t had a date night in a year (thanks, Covid…), he bought out the biggest theater in Colorado Springs for just the two of us and had them play Pride and Prejudice. I just about DIED. Yes, I swooned, and laughed, and kissed him a bunch!"

8. She draws from a wide range of influences.

I’d rather be great for a few people than be mediocre for a bunch.

It may surprise fans that Fourth Wing was Yarros's first romantasy, but even if she hadn't written it before, fantasy has long been a genre that she enjoyed reading. In fact, Yarros cites a variety of authors when it comes to the literature that inspires her:

"When it comes to rom-com, I love Cindi Madsen. Turning up the heat, I love Gina Maxwell. If I’m looking for angst, I’m grabbing Tijan or Colleen Hoover, and when it comes to fantasy, I’m absolutely in love with Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout. Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan were huge inspirations and I wouldn’t be a writer if it weren’t for Mercedes Lackey."

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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