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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Guest Blog by Snorri Kristjansson: You could have written about ninjas! Space giraffes! Sharks with lasers! Why ... Vikings? - February 21, 2014


Please welcome Snorri Kristjansson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Swords of Good Men was published on January 7, 2014. You may read Snorri's DAC Interview here.



Guest Blog by Snorri Kristjansson: You could have written about ninjas! Space giraffes! Sharks with lasers! Why ... Vikings? - February 21, 2014




You could have written about ninjas! Space giraffes! Sharks with lasers! Why ... Vikings?

       Hello! My name is Snorri Kristjansson, and like ~7.8% of humanity I am a writer. It’s a strange and quite merciless condition that manifests in a constant need for narrative. I can’t help it – my long-suffering wife by now doesn’t even start listening to me until 7 minutes in, when she knows the introduction to whatever anecdote I’m spinning (or, to be fair, squeezing) out of my daily routine might be ending. In short (hah! As if), I have to tell stories. I’ve done this on stage, both as an actor and a comedian, but one fateful day in 2009 I figured that there was something rattling around in my head that needed to be told properly.

       And just like the rest of the writers, of which there is an absolutely terrifying amount, when it was time to choose what to write about I have the whole canvas of humanity – everything we are, everything we do, everything we’ve made up or dreamed up or torn down or thrown away – to play with. And as if that wasn’t enough, I could make things up of my own – I could create a world where monkeys rode dinosaurs and enslaved giant dung beetles who eventually rose up to defeat their oppressors when charismatic (but mysterious) monkey/dinosaur leader Tyrannochimp appeared to lead them in the fight against the master race, only to create a dystopia worse than the world they destroyed. I could totally do that.

       And faced with the enormity of all of this, what did I do?

       I decided to write about Vikings. That’s what I did. Smelly barbarians from the far North, looting and pillaging without even the decency to offer up a musical number to go with it.

       This decision, of course, had something to do with the fact that I am a little bit of a smelly Barbarian myself. My discrete one-man invasion of Great Britain from the cold and salty shores of Iceland has lasted for nearly a decade now. It is a great success – I have neither been decapitated nor converted yet (although I have acquired a taste for tea, which is alarming – mine’s an Earl Grey, no milk, squeeze of lemon). So that covers the Cultural Heritage bit, sort of.

       Another part of the decision was that Vikings are just cool. There is no way around it. As I mentioned in my guest blog for SFX Magazine, they had technology, crazy mythology, battling badasses and generally quite a lot of Awesome going on.

       They’re also under-represented in the bookshops. You could quite happily build your own house with books set in Ancient Rome. Take all the Viking books ever published into the living room of your (to be honest, slightly odd) Rome Book House and you might be able to build yourself a table. I owe it to my ancestors to add at least 3 more to the Viking pile.

       But ultimately?

       Something about the Vikings calls to me somewhere deep, somewhere that is less of a gentle, lumbering schoolteacher and more of a man who feels really comfortable holding a hand axe. The wisps of cloud at dawn over Nordic waters. The soft kiss of the oar breaking the surface as a longship glides silently upriver. The hard eyes and cold smiles of raiders waiting for the sweet smell of thatch on fire, the sounds of raw, throaty screaming and the feel of steel splitting skin and breaking bone.

       That’s what they say, isn’t it?

       Write what you know.





The Valhalla Saga

Swords of Good Men
The Valhalla Saga 1
Jo Fletcher Books, January 7, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
US Debut

Guest Blog by Snorri Kristjansson: You could have written about ninjas! Space giraffes! Sharks with lasers! Why ... Vikings? - February 21, 2014
Swords of Good Men, Snorri Kristjansson’s debut novel, incorporates the myths that fascinated him as a child with his passion for epic fantasy. Ulfar Thormodsson has spent two years travelling as envoy and bodyguard to his high-born cousin. They have one last stop – the walled port town of Stenvik – before they can finally go home.

Thormodsson meets the beautiful and tragic Lilja, who immediately captures his heart. Stenvik is also home to solitary blacksmith Audun Arngrimsson, whose past hides many dark secrets. Soon, the conflict brewing between two factions of dangerous and determined men of the town threatens to sweep all of them, natives and visitors alike, into the jaws of war.

The factions within Stenvik are about to come to blows, but a far bigger battle is approaching: a young King Olav is bringing the White Christ at point of sword and edge of blade. And on the horizon are the sails of another, more mysterious enemy. Thormodsson and his companions will soon learn that in this conflict between the Old Gods and the new, there are enemies everywhere—outside the walls of Stenvik as well as within.





About Snorri

Guest Blog by Snorri Kristjansson: You could have written about ninjas! Space giraffes! Sharks with lasers! Why ... Vikings? - February 21, 2014
Snorri Kristjansson is an Icelander, a writer and a teacher, with a background in acting, music and stand-up comedy. He lives in South London with his fiancé. SWORDS OF GOOD MEN is his first novel. Follow him on Twitter at @SnorriKristjans.

SWORDS OF GOOD MEN published in January 2014 by Jo Fletcher Books (an imprint of Quercus) and is the first book in his new series titled The Valhalla Saga. Three books are planned for the series.


Website  ~  Twitter @SnorriKristjans  ~  Facebook

Interview with Snorri Kristjansson, author of Swords of Good Men - January 26, 2014


Please welcome Snorri Kristjansson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Swords of Good Men was published on January 7, 2014.



Interview with Snorri Kristjansson, author of Swords of Good Men - January 26, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Snorri:  Hello, keepers of the Qwill! According to my parents I started writing when I was 5. My first book was, I assume, a romantic comedy. It was 5 pages long, and it starts with the sentence "The wheels of fortune of boys and girls turn in many ways." I was a fairly precocious child. Since then I've written various things of varying length and quality, but I didn't seriously Start Writing until 2008. Since then I've done a fair bit.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Snorri:  Plotter all the way - until it doesn't suit my purposes. Then I may pants my way into another plot.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Snorri:  At the moment, not getting better faster. My ability to recognize my own flaws is growing faster than my ability to not have them. It's frustrating - but a key part of doing the writing is finding the courage to look yourself in the eye, say "This is not very good at all - and that's okay" and then get going on fixing it.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Snorri:  Literary influences. Oh my.

David Gemmell is as great at getting to the point as Terry Pratchett is great at not doing it. You can smell the blood on Joe Abercrombie's pages as his characters bound through their lives like human pin balls. You can smell my blood on George R R Martin's pages as he blows my mind with the sheer bloody scale of it all. Neil Gaiman gives me all the feels; I hope I can put some of them in my books. Tom Pollock is a mad genius who neither blinks nor sleeps and cannot be harmed by conventional weapons. Mark Lawrence's books, if left alone on a bookshelf, will bully all the other books into a pile at the bottom with the muscular sneer of their prose, but it is okay because when the stories of Jorg then leave to find a tank to punch, the words in Patrick Rothfuss' books will sing to them and make it all better.

Saying that, there are things of worth and influence in any writer's work. If you stick too rigidly to a list, you risk missing out on some seriously good stuff.



TQ:  Describe Swords of Good Men (The Valhalla Saga 1) in 140 characters or less.

Snorri:  SGM is a rollicking tale of Vikings fighting for their way of life in a changing world. It has some inspired swearing and my Mum likes it.



TQ:  Tell us something about Swords of Good Men that is not in the book description.

Snorri:  There are berserkers.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Swords of Good Men? Why did you choose to write Epic Fantasy? Are there any other genres or sub-genres in which you'd like to write?

Snorri:  I chose to write Fantasy because of Tolkien, Feist, Canavan, Hobb, Martin, Abercrombie and all the others. Those, more than others, were my stories. I don't quite know if Swords can be classified as Epic Fantasy (apart from the fact that it is EPICALLY AWESOME *high-fives self*) and there are no doubt others that have Opinions on this - you might call it an Epic caper straddling the fence between Historical Fiction and Historical Fantasy. You could also call it an action book with Vikings.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Swords of Good Men?

Snorri:  To begin with - little. I thought I knew it all (I usually do). I found out and admitted I was wrong (I usually do this too), and started sourcing books. I went to the Jorvik Centre in York, Great Britain. I read most, if not all of the Internet - in particular www.vikinganswerlady.com. I asked my Dad, who was alive back then. Generally I just started gathering bits and pieces. Some answered my questions; others were too cool not to include. Yet others were put to the side to be used later.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite good guy, bad guy or ethically ambiguous character?

Snorri:  The character that came most naturally was probably Sven, the second-in-command of chieftain Sigurd Aegisson. He somehow had a voice from the very start, and may be the sort of sneaky old rogue I hope I'll grow up to be. The hardest must be Lilia, for a whole host of reasons that I cannot divulge for fear of spoiling stuff.

I don't know that I have a favourite good/bad/ambiguous guy/gal in my story. I tried to refrain from judging them for as long as I could. That being said, I have quite a soft spot for Audun. He's got issues, bless' im.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Swords of Good Men.

Snorri:  "We are brothers of the edge." - Sigurd Aegisson

"Row, you stinking, dribbling shit babies!" - Thora



TQ:  What's next?

Snorri:  Gah. Making sure the second book - Blood Will Follow, out in June (See what I did there? I'm a proper self-promotion Ninja, I am) is as awesome as possible. At the moment it is only at 98.3%. Continuing and severely picking up speed on the third book. Dabbling in various other projects, rolling the dice here and there, and eating cake. I am a firm believer in the cake.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Snorri:  Thank you for having me!





The Valhalla Saga

Swords of Good Men
The Valhalla Saga 1
Jo Fletcher Books, January 7, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
US Debut

Interview with Snorri Kristjansson, author of Swords of Good Men - January 26, 2014
Swords of Good Men, Snorri Kristjansson’s debut novel, incorporates the myths that fascinated him as a child with his passion for epic fantasy. Ulfar Thormodsson has spent two years travelling as envoy and bodyguard to his high-born cousin. They have one last stop – the walled port town of Stenvik – before they can finally go home.

Thormodsson meets the beautiful and tragic Lilja, who immediately captures his heart. Stenvik is also home to solitary blacksmith Audun Arngrimsson, whose past hides many dark secrets. Soon, the conflict brewing between two factions of dangerous and determined men of the town threatens to sweep all of them, natives and visitors alike, into the jaws of war.

The factions within Stenvik are about to come to blows, but a far bigger battle is approaching: a young King Olav is bringing the White Christ at point of sword and edge of blade. And on the horizon are the sails of another, more mysterious enemy. Thormodsson and his companions will soon learn that in this conflict between the Old Gods and the new, there are enemies everywhere—outside the walls of Stenvik as well as within.





About Snorri

Interview with Snorri Kristjansson, author of Swords of Good Men - January 26, 2014
Snorri Kristjansson is an Icelander, a writer and a teacher, with a background in acting, music and stand-up comedy. He lives in South London with his fiancé. SWORDS OF GOOD MEN is his first novel. Follow him on Twitter at @SnorriKristjans.

SWORDS OF GOOD MEN published in January 2014 by Jo Fletcher Books (an imprint of Quercus) and is the first book in his new series titled The Valhalla Saga. Three books are planned for the series.


Website  ~  Twitter @SnorriKristjans  ~  Facebook






2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs


It's time for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for January 2014!


2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2014 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on January 24, 2014.


 Vote for your favorite January 2014 Debut Cover
  
pollcode.com free polls 





2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs
Jacket Design by John Vario, Jr.
Photo of fist © Photogrpher's Choice/Getty Images
Photo of vine © Suzana Profeta/E+/Getty Images





2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs
Cover Artist - Richard Anderson




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs
Cover by Will Staehle




2014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs





Guest Blog by Snorri Kristjansson: You could have written about ninjas! Space giraffes! Sharks with lasers! Why ... Vikings? - February 21, 2014Interview with Snorri Kristjansson, author of Swords of Good Men - January 26, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge - January 2014 Cover Warrs

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