Posted by Literary Titan
Jon Bragg Blue Essence follows a group of teenagers in a small town who are caught in the middle of a hunt for demigods. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
My wife and I grew up in an even smaller town in Iowa (Lincoln, IA) so I have firsthand experience with a lot of what was described from my youth. I tried to provide a good mix of my memories and present day to make it as believable and realistic as possible. I also played a bit on my past with names. For instance, I went to school in Gladbrook, IA and the story takes place in GrinWell, IA. So for the folks that grew up in that area they also know Gladbrook was also nicknamed HappyCreek. I’m sure you get the idea, just some fun trivia like that is scattered throughout the story.
Jon is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
For as long as i can remember I have been somewhat similar to Jon from a philosophical perspective and also always had a passion for poetry. I really wanted to incorporate a cerebral character like that into a main character. I wanted him to be the type of guy that is okay with himself as he is and is okay with having a close circle around him. He knows his limitations and he knows his strengths and with that comes the confidence to live life on his own terms. Even with what happens to him we get the feeling that it won’t change his demeanor or how he will interact with others.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
So I wanted to incorporate a few positive values into the book. The main focus was around family and the way they care for each other (including Grandpa). I think having a close, caring family like what Jon has is an important aspect of the book. I also wanted to portray bullying from different perspectives whether it was Marc and Jon or Dustin’s take. In general I wanted to have the story told from the perspective of the protagonist and antagonist throughout. I also wanted to bring Bragi more into the mainstream with a bit of a twist on Norse mythology while still mentioning Thor and Loki. I think Bragi, while controversial, is very well suited for a series.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Speaking of that and Bragi above, it will be the next two books in the Jon Bragg series. I have quite a bit planned for this group of teens. I don’t want to let out too many details but you can certainly see the development of a couple of storylines throughout this first book in the series.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women revolves around the story of two Valkyries, sisters Astrid and Yrsa, in a world still ruled by Nordic Gods. What was the inspiration for this novel and the Norse mythology used throughout?
Spoiler alert in that question. Lol.
My inspiration was two fold.
One, I really had not read or seen much about Valkyries in years. They are very interesting mythological beings, but not really focused on in movies, cartoons, or TV. Seems like a wasted opportunity, so I took it. I wanted to write a story about a woman who was questioning her reality on several levels. Is she alive, is she dead, was she adducted by aliens, is she in hell? etc.
Two, I felt like Norse mythology is something people, readers, movie-goers, are willing to openly accept easier than some other myths or cultural beliefs. Maybe because of it being so fantastical. Sometimes we believe the things that are harder to believe and accept quicker than those things more based in reality.
For example…. So many people watch and follow ghost shows and believe all that we are shown, but then laugh at the hunters chasing Big Foot in the forest. Paranormal vs. A living being (although myth). Seems like it would be easier to believe in a missing link than spirits from another realm right? Well, maybe that’s just me.
Note: I believe in both actually. 🙂 And aliens.
Regardless, Norse myth is fabulous. And there are a few good fiction books you can find and read. I read one prior to writing this book. Good reference material to pick over. That and my old original Deities and Demigods D&D book. 🙂
What kind of research did you have to do to make sure you got the mythology correct?
As stated about, I bought and read one book. Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs by Lindow. I also used my old hardbound Deities and Demigods D&D book for inspiration.
I spent a LOT OF TIME online researching what “curse words” and foul language would have been used in the Viking Age. I could not deal with or accept the use of modern four letter words being said by my characters. I really lost sleep over it. I finally found some replacement words that were close to the time period or language. Not perfect, but I felt like the reader would understand what I was going for.
I never like watching movies set in ancient times with characters spewing modern day bad words….unless we are talking about STARZ’s SPARTACUS. That was awesome, and with all the over the top blood and guts it was fine. 🙂
As a writer who researches, I like to find the facts and then decide how best to use or alter them to fit into my works of fiction.
When Astrid falls in battle and wakes up with no memory the reader is brought into Astrid’s mind to be witness to her paranoia, fear, confusion and inner struggles. What were the obstacles you felt were important to highlight to connect readers with Astrid and develop her as a character?
Everyone struggles with these things on some level.
Astrid is a big, strong, proud Viking warrior. Who can relate to that? BUT they can relate to all her inner struggles. Who hasn’t questioned their reality? Who wasn’t felt afraid of something one moment, then loved it the next. Think of skydivers. Fear and then joy in a matter of seconds.
Astrid was originally designed as a near cave woman. She grunted and groaned. Took what she wanted. Feared nothing. But an early draft was read by my editor and she pointed it right out. Astrid was unrelateable. I did not want that.
My plan was to write a fantasy-horror story with a character who just cannot figure out if she is alive or dead. Her beliefs would pull her thoughts into both directions; a tug-of-war. While she struggled, the story played out. Things would be happening all around her and she would have to decided what to do, regardless of her inner struggles. That’s life. We all are faced with that.
I was really sick with the flu or something the other week. Two days of being the sickest I had been in 20 years. And guess what, I needed to go get my new drivers license photo. Time had ran out. I was faced with an obstacle on top of another obstacle. Life gets complicated.
In some books or movies, it seems like the hero only has one major concern. That’s unrealistic to me. Yeah, go save your kidnapped daughter Liam Neeson, don’t worry about needing to buy more ammo, or the authorities, or laws, or weather, or your own wounds, or….
This is a well written novel that leaves open the possibility for other stories to follow. Do you have another story in the works?
Book two is currently being written. It takes place several months after book one. I envision this series as 3-5 books long.
“Astrid the White isn’t an average princess. She has always stayed by the side of her father, King Kol, and learned warfare and weaponry from the best Vikings in the land. When she awakens in the city of Birka and hears the sounds of war, she rushes proudly into the fray. She is more than capable of taking down any enemy wishing to disturb the peace.
This enemy, however, isn’t what she expected. Before Astrid even gets outside the walls, a golden light knocks her out.
She comes to in the snow, in full battle armor. Astrid first suspects that this is a challenge from her father–or even the gods themselves. By acting correctly, she can gain the favor of Odin, the Allfather.
Astrid wants to complete the test, but it becomes more and more difficult as she explores this new part of the world and encounters both monsters and monstrous men. As creatures from the darkest legends reveal themselves, Astrid will discover that her journey isn’t about acting correctly or passing Odin’s test. It’s about pure survival. Before she can even think about finding Birka, she will have to defend herself against the demons of this new world.”
Posted in Interviews
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