Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I’m very happy to welcome Bjørn Larssen to my blog!
He has very kindly answered my questions so continue reading to discover what he says, find out more about both himself and his novel ‘Storytellers’ as well as having the opportunity to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway with a chance to win yourself a copy of ‘Iceland: Making Memories’.
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
I had a dream about seven years ago. I dreamt about a fishing village where three brothers lived – a pastor, a fisherman, a carpenter. All three fell in love with the same woman and none of them hesitated to do anything to “win” her, not bothering to ask for her opinion until it was too late. I never remember my dreams, but this one stuck with me for years, demanding to be written down, until I finally gave up. The story changed a lot as I was working, but the main characters and the relationships between them remained more or less the same.
What is your writing process?
I try to be a plotter and come up with an outline, then my characters chuckle and do whatever they want as I helplessly watch them completely ruining my stories. We wrestle until I admit defeat and begin another rewrite. When they stop resisting I know it’s time to send the manuscript to my editor.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I’m a computer guy. I’ve got a selective love-hate relationship with technology. I’d love to live in a medieval castle in the middle of a forest, but the castle would have to have modern plumbing, underfloor heating, and fast wifi. I also find editing much easier with a computer (and so does my editor).
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
My favourite is Guðrún, the innkeeper. She was supposed to play a very small role, but Guðrún is not the type of person that would allow anybody to push her aside. I’ve been asked whether I’m going to write a sequel – I don’t think I will, but I can see a prequel with Guðrún as the protagonist.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
That’s a really difficult one. Can I be Ragnar, the dog? He’s probably the happiest out of all– oh no, hang on, the elf tells me I would like to be the elf. It looks like I would like to be the elf. *frustrated sigh*
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
I went through a list of popular Icelandic names from the period (late 19th/early 20th century). The names kept changing as it slowly dawned on me that yes, I might know the difference between Halldór (male) and Halldóra (female), but I get confused when I’m reading a book featuring John, Jack, and Jason. I kept changing the names until almost the last moment.
The only exceptions are Juana and Gullveig. Juana, the American heroine, was born in Wisconsin somewhere around 1865. My sister and I went through a list of various names, trying to figure out something more…American, but nothing else worked. She just was a Juana. So instead we came up with a plausible explanation as to how an American girl in that period could end up with such an unusual name. The other exception is Gullveig, whose name is a bit of an Easter egg – you have to know quite a lot about Norse mythology to understand both the name and her fate.
Thank you so much for having me!
Thank you so much for answering my questions – I loved reading your answers and getting an insight into your writing and this book.
In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember him – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.
Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith’s other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even the wretched elf has plans for the blacksmith.
As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?
Author Bio –
Bjørn Larssen was made in Poland. He is mostly located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one. Since then his short stories and essays were published in Rita Baum Art Magazine, Writer Unboxed, Inaczej Magazine), Edurada.pl, Homiki.pl, and Holandia Expat Magazine. He is a member of Alliance of Independent Authors and Writer Unboxed.
Bjørn has a Master of Science degree in mathematics, worked as a graphic designer, a model, and a blacksmith. He used to speak eight languages (currently down to two and a half). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland, even though he hates being cold. He has only met an elf once. So far.
Social Media Links –
Giveaway to Win 5 x copies of “Iceland: Making Memories” (INT)
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Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this tour and providing materials for this post. Follow the tour: