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The Jötunn War: First Peek! by Ian Stuart Sharpe


Please welcome Ian Stuart Sharpe to The Qwillery discussing The Jötunn War which is being funded on Kickstarter right now!



The Jötunn War: First Peek!  by Ian Stuart Sharpe




The Jötunn War: First Peek!
by Ian Stuart Sharpe

How would you describe the Jötunn War?

The Jötunn War is our latest addition to the Vikingverse, the first of a four-issue graphic novel series and a companion piece to the All Father Paradox.

If you’ve read the novel, it adds some more depth and detail to the worlds-spanning war that concludes the novel. And if you haven’t, it makes a perfectly good jumping off point to explore.
The premise is simple: what if the Vikings never lost? What would the modern world be like if Norse laws, appetites and mythology had shaped it instead of Christianity?

Fast forward through 1000 years of alternate timeline and you come to the Jötunn War - a point in time analogous to the Great War, or World War 2. There are all kinds of social pressures that irk Great Powers, like the Emancipation of the Serfs or the Russian Revolution, the Scramble for Africa and the Rise of Nationalism. The Viking Empire is no different: while the pace of progress has been accelerated (Vikings didn’t burn their scientists as witches…), when the thralls rebel, turning to the artifice of Norns to help them escape their bondage, the Natural order is thrown into chaos, causing a war that rages across the Nine Homeworlds for decades. The comic shows the last gasp battle for Utgard, the last stronghold of the Jötnar.



The Jötunn War is your first comic, coming just months after the All Father Paradox novel. Do some of our favourite characters make an appearance?

Over the course of four issues, you’ll see all kinds of familiar faces, some drawn from the novel, some from real life. Of course, this is Gest’s story and told from his POV. There is something of the Eternal Champion about him, because of his immense longevity - down to a Norn’s curse in the cradle – he has seen the whole swept of history and now stepped up for the decisive battle. Along the way, he is joined by Alviss Presterleah and Njall Armstinnr – two great 1960s icons in our world, whose names easily translate back into Old Norse. In the Vikingverse blurb, we often talk about the storied heroes of mankind being drawn into the Vikingverse in new and brutal guises - those two are an especially long way from the All-American idols we know and love.

Of course, in later episodes, you get to see other major characters as the Battle for Utgard continues but we won’t reveal all of those just yet…



Did you find writing a comic easier than the novel?

History is full of titanic battles, from David vs. Goliath to the Axis vs. Allies, but The Jötunn War is literally as big as it gets. There is a kind of visceral urgency to the comic form, you can have fun that you can’t easily manage in a novel.

I used to storyboard documentaries and TV spots in my days as broadcast Producer. It was surprising how similar the two things are, and once I got started, it all came to life quite quickly. In actual fact, because the whole script – descriptions, directions and captions – is only 3000 words per issue, it is the artists who bear the real burden! The real challenge became helping Dev design a Drakkar that looked like it could fly, or an infantry helmet that makes aesthetic sense for a future Varangian. I’m excited that he has captured the vision so clearly.

Norse mythology is a fascinating lens through which to take a view of the world – and I have heard at readings and conventions what a compelling idea it is. But not everyone has the time to read 90,000 words, and so a comic is a better start to their journey.

What the two forms do have in common is the resonance of the Old Norse quotes. Whether drawing from the wisdom of the Hávamál or reciting a skaldic poem about battle, the words have a real impact.



The Jötnar themselves, why did you choose to portray them that way?

In a word where Christianity has been put to the Viking sword, there are no angels or devils, but combatants will always strive to demonize the enemy. It’s how you motivate the populace to back a war – feed them fear and loathing. I liked the idea of turning that on its head, of having the nightmares of Norse mythology come back to haunt the Empire.

One interesting thing about the word Jötunn is that it doesn’t really mean giant – in the Old Norse orthography, it is much closer to words like consume, gluttony and voracious. I wanted to make the rebellion an existential, primeval, devouring threat – not just Vikings in white helmets. The sagas are clear that the Jötnar take many forms, some as beautiful as the dawn, some as hideous as - well, Týr’s nine-hundred headed grandmother is a good example (She is mentioned in Hymiskviða if you want to read more about her).



And the Kickstarter has already funded? Congrats!

Everyone involved is hugely grateful for the support and attention we’ve attracted. The Kickstarter funded after the first week, which means we can print the first issue. Our stretch goals include the ability to fund the printing and distribution of the second part, which is raring to go. So, if you like the cliffhanger built into the first episode, and you’ve got a taste for the Vikingverse, you’ll want to make sure to help us get further into the story!





The Jötunn War

The Jötunn War: First Peek!  by Ian Stuart Sharpe
A war as old as time, where fate itself hangs in the balance. In the Vikingverse, the Norse rule the stars with restless fleets and an iron will. But when the thralls rebel, turning to the artifice of Norns to help them escape their bondage, the Natural order is thrown into chaos. The Jötunn War has been fought across the Nine Homeworlds to contain the threat, a battle against the stuff of ancient nightmares, red in tooth and claw, Jötunheim is the rebellion's last redoubt, an indignity the Empire plans to cleanse with flame and fury. The Jötunn War. Go big or go home in a body bag.

Kickstarter Link





About Ian

The Jötunn War: First Peek!  by Ian Stuart Sharpe
Ian Stuart Sharpe was born in London, UK, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. Having worked for the BBC, IMG, Atari and Electronic Arts, he is now CEO of a tech start up. As a child he discovered his love of books, sci-fi and sagas: devouring the works of Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and George MacDonald Fraser alongside Snorri Sturluson and Sigvat the Skald. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. The All Father Paradox is his first novel.



Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @vikingverse

Twitter @IanStuartSharpe






About Outland Entertainment

Outland Entertainment was founded as a creative services company in 2008 by Jeremy Mohler. Since then, Outland has worked for a wide variety of clients across the world. Outland specializes in assembling creative teams and managing projects. Contact them via their site form or go to www.outlandentertainment.com.





The Novel

The All Father Paradox
Vikingverse 1
Outland Entertainment, October 9, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 414 pages

The Jötunn War: First Peek!  by Ian Stuart Sharpe
What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves?

Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the thousand-year-old Viking memorial there. But when things start changing and outright disappearing, Michaels realizes there is more to this old man than meets the eye. Now, Michaels finds himself swept up in an ancient god’s quest to escape his destiny by reworking reality, putting history—and to Michaels’s dismay, Christianity itself—to the Viking sword. In this new Vikingverse, storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas:

A young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens…
A scholar exiled to the frontier braves the dangers of the New World, only to find those “new worlds” are greater than he imagined…
A captured Jötunn plants the dreams of freedom during a worlds-spanning war…
A bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect…

With the timelines stretched to breaking point, it’s up to Churchwarden Michaels to save reality as we know it…

Going Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the Year


Please welcome Ian Stuart Sharpe to The Qwillery writing about the cover for The All Father Paradox which is the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars Cover of the Year!



Going Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the Year
The Recreation
[click to embiggen]



Going Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the Year

There is something otherworldly about an old Norman church. A sanctity, certainly; the trappings of Christian worship both exude and compel hushed reverence. A sense of community perhaps, as the Anglican Communion struggles to fill the gaps left by austerity, providing food banks now alongside village fetes and raffles. But there is always something beyond that; something in the very fabric of the building, buried deep in the centuries old stone. The best of those churches are keepers of ancient tales, conduits that speak of England’s green hills and forests and what lies beneath.

I was married in one such church, parts of which date from the 12th century, set on falling ground to the west of my home town. The churchyard contains St Withburga's Well, supplied by a spring that is said to have issued forth from the burial place of Withburga, who laid the foundation of a church and convent there, the first Christian settlement in the area in the year 654. She lived and died in an era of unprecedented change. Her father was Anna, King of the East Angles, pagans who came to the British Isles with iron and fire, who believed the green church of the woods heard their prayers more clearly than any monument of stone.

But it is stone that has proved the most enduring store of the pagan story.

At the north side of Gosforth village on Wasdale Road, Cumbria, stands the ancient parish church of St Mary and, in the churchyard the equally ancient and famous Gosforth Cross. This magnificent cross has stood on the same spot for over a thousand years. The monument is a very tall, slender cross made from red sandstone, richly decorated with some very exquisite carvings of Norse gods, Christian symbolism and mythical beasts. It is at the heart of the All Father Paradox and takes pride of place on the cover. I chose this cross as my central motif for the novel because, like Withburga’s well, it has been witnessed to endless change. We can only imagine who built it and why, or what manner of men have toiled in its shadow over the course of that millennium.

Christianity was in the north-west of England long before of course. Roman soldiers had spread the faith, and left traces when their armies were withdrawn. Wandering saints and preachers came up the Irish Sea from Rome, such as the man later venerated as St. Patrick or Bega of St. Bees, bringing their religion to the Anglo-Saxons who settled there. There is no definitive proof of a church in Gosforth before the Viking Age, but it would have been Celtic, made of wattle and daub, and it too, would have been focused around the local holy spring.

The Vikings swept through Britain with series of invasions throughout the 10th century, and for a time controlled the area of northern England known as Danelaw. Names of towns, roads, and families still in existence today attest to this Scandinavian stronghold. But, like the Angles before them, it seems as though the conquerors were quickly conquered by the customs and beliefs prevalent in their new land. The Gosforth Cross speaks to this unique juncture in time, a world halfway between the pagan and the Christian. It was first identified in 1886 by the amateur antiquarian Charles Arundel Parker. His findings were a sensation in an age obsessed with Vikings (Wagner's Ring Cycle debuted just ten years before), the Victoria and Albert Museum quickly had a replica made. Parker demonstrated that the cross showed scenes described in Norse myth, such as Loki bound, the god Víðarr tearing the jaws of Fenrir, and Thor's failed attempt to catch Jörmungandr, the Midgard Serpent.

I'd written about the cross having researched it online - I went so far as to commission a local photographer to go and snap some shots of it - but I'd never seen it in person. The cover artist, Jeremy Mohler, had sent me his first concepts in the spring of 2018. He'd quickly zoomed in on the cross and the conflict between the two protagonists as the best way to grab people's attention. It captured the scene brilliantly - the coastal gusts of wind, the otherworldly hues, the sense of an oncoming storm. But before the All Father Paradox was published in October, I knew I had to see the Gosforth cross for myself.

So, in July that year, my wife, son, daughter, mother and step-father all travelled up to the Lake District. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I realized, I didn't just want to imagine the cover scene, I wanted to recreate it. So, I reached out to a local Viking re-enactor, the splendidly named Science Viking (look him up!), and with my wife on photo duty, we did out best to recreate Jeremy's work. It was an oddly cyclical series of events, but very much fitting for the themes of the book.

Of course, we couldn't conjure Yggdrasil or call forth Huginn and Munin, but it was a fun photoshoot all the same!



Going Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the Year
Science Viking and Bronwen Sharpe

Going Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the Year
Ian Stuart Sharpe at the Gosforth Cross





The All Father Paradox
Vikingverse 1
Outland Entertainment, October 9, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 414 pages

Going Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the Year
What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves?

Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the thousand-year-old Viking memorial there. But when things start changing and outright disappearing, Michaels realizes there is more to this old man than meets the eye. Now, Michaels finds himself swept up in an ancient god’s quest to escape his destiny by reworking reality, putting history—and to Michaels’s dismay, Christianity itself—to the Viking sword. In this new Vikingverse, storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas:

A young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens…
A scholar exiled to the frontier braves the dangers of the New World, only to find those “new worlds” are greater than he imagined…
A captured Jötunn plants the dreams of freedom during a worlds-spanning war…
A bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect…

With the timelines stretched to breaking point, it’s up to Churchwarden Michaels to save reality as we know it…

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, author of The All Father Paradox


Please welcome Ian Stuart Sharpe to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The All Father Paradox was published on October 9, 2018 by Outland Entertainment.



Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, author of The All Father Paradox




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Ian:  I don’t remember so much the piece as the word. I scribbled down something in a creative writing class including the description of a politician as “tergiversatory”. I remember my English teacher calling me over to ask what on earth it meant (it means evasive, or prone to switch sides).

I was clearly a pretentious twelve-year-old.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ian:  Undoubtedly a hybrid. The essence of the All Father Paradox are these set pieces, moments in an alternate timeline. Each of those is like a segment jigsaw, they have to fit the big picture. But within each of those stories, I found that the characters took on a life of their own – their Viking voyage, so to speak, was full of wanderlust and abandon. Moreover, because the book hinges of these little bits of history repeating, these echoes of previous chapters, you’d find that what you planned was constantly pummelled with waves of implications. Adaption was the only way the DNA blueprint could survive.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ian:  The on ramp. The starting point for the story. New writers, top tip: I wouldn’t advise eliminating spoken dialogue from your arsenal.

In the All Father Paradox, we quickly meet some Benedictine monks who have taken a vow of silence. To be authentic to the characters and the period, they couldn’t talk. That means the entire scene has to be carried by internal monologue and exterior description. And because this is an unfamiliar scene – how may readers know intimate details of Charlemagne’s Saxon Wars 1250 years ago? – I had a fair amount of world building to do.

The monks had to go first in sequence, for reasons that will be obvious to someone who picks up the book, but boy howdy, sign language is a pain in the neck to write.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Ian:  When I am writing, the temptation to through in a flippant, tangential, irrelevant or downright obscure reference can only come from Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams. They are like two Good Omens demons, wittering on my shoulders. But also, George MacDonald Fraser, who wrote Harry Flashman into just about every conflict the British Empire had across the Victorian era. Reading him humbug the potentates of Europe and beyond was a riot.



TQDescribe The All Father Paradox using only 5 words.

Ian:  What if the Vikings won?



TQTell us something about The All Father Paradox that is not found in the book description.

Ian:  We talk about the storied heroes of mankind, emerging from the sagas in new and brutal form, but we don’t say how, or why.

One of the long marches of our civilisation has been from mysticism through humanism to empiricism and rationalism. Simply put, our thinking about our place in the universe has evolved. I think one of the most interesting things I had to do was develop Norse thinking, from its Iron Age roots, into the Modern era. I’d removed Christianity from the equation early on, so what would the new formula look like? What does a world that places a great tree, Yggdrasil, as its central pillar look like?



TQWhat inspired you to write The All Father Paradox? Why Vikings?

Ian:  The book is partly about demons and being demonised. Stories are simplifications, designed to resonate across the ages, to stick in the mind. One of the best ways to do this is to paint someone in the blackest light.

Take the arch-fiend Lucifer, for instance. If you explore the meaning behind the word, you find some academics making the case for the name meaning “morning star” and referring to a failed coup by the son of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Looking down the long lens of history, it is breath-taking how perspectives change. One minute he is a prince, the next he is The Prince of Darkness.

A similar thing happened to the Vikings. Do you really think they were smell, horned-helmeted barbarians? Or does the record need setting straight? That was my impetus.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The All Father Paradox?

Ian:  It really ran the gamut between Old Norse sagas and poring through NASA data about exoplanets. That’s the challenge with writing about a civilisation, I wasn’t so much world-building as universe creating.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The All Father Paradox.

Ian:  The cover is an illustration penned with great care and attention by Jeremy Mohler at Outland, the publisher. It is a faithful representation of a real place – St. Mary’s Church, and the 1,000-year-old Viking Cross that can still be found in the churchyard there. The cross, the convergence of religions it represents, and the battle that revolves around it are captured perfectly in Jeremy’s scene.



TQIn The All Father Paradox who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Ian:  Churchwarden Michaels was the easiest to write, because he represents the England I grew up in, and is therefore an amalgam of people I knew and know. As a contemporary voice in the novel, and the frame of reference for the reader, he is designed to be a sympathetic, if flawed, character.

Conversely, at the other end of the time spectrum, the monk Folkward was hard to write – not just because of the vow of silence but because of the sheer bloody mindedness and unflinching devotion it took to be a Dark Age monk. I simply don’t have that “worshipfulness” in me.



TQDoes The All Father Paradox touch on any social issues?

Ian:  The All Father Paradox touches on religion, the role of women, the collapse of civilization, military coups, the perils of migration, and ultimately ecology too. I wanted to write a novel that started in the Dark Ages, that held a cracked mirror to the age we are in. There are candles, flickering in the darkness, throughout. I hope they are illuminating in some small way.



TQWhich question about The All Father Paradox do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Ian:  In the novel, I explore the notion that “like ripples emanating from a single, solitary drop, the waves [of change] will roll though history”. I’d like someone to sit down and plot them, join the dots, find the parallels. And then ask – as per Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, scene 2): "What's in a name?”

And I’d answer, “everything, names have power and meaning, start looking for your clue there”



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The All Father Paradox.

Ian:  Here is a quote that references Churchwarden Michaels and the cross on the cover, and the sheer Englishness of it all.

“Tea, he reflected, would be especially welcome on a day like today. Michaels had always thought it a shame to leave the cross standing out in the British weather. One thousand years of this, it was a miracle that it had survived at all, but there it was: a wealth of detail carved into fifteen feet of red sandstone, round at the base, rising to a square top with a cross head, each of the four sides carrying images of a horseman, dragons, serpents, and all kinds of gorgeous, interlaced patterns.”

And then this is a rejoinder to him, drawn from later in the novel, that speaks to what is unfurled:

“So, my little sparrow. You are back in my hall. Back in my Midgard. Your Christianity is being ripped from the past like so much rot. You have seen the dark winter outside, the worlds of the Álfar and the Jötnar. The realms of the dead, all joined by the great World Tree. Are you so certain of what went before and what is to follow?”



TQWhat's next?

Ian:  There is a sequel, already underway. You might think it difficult to pen a follow up to Ragnarok, but the old Icelandic skalds managed it and I am following gin their footsteps. There is also a plan to “fill in the gaps” – the novel was always designed as a springboard, a way to create the Vikingverse. Now it exists, we have a myriad of stories to tell, some standalone, some crucial to the overarching plot. We’ll do that not just with novels, but with comics, games and who know what else!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The All Father Paradox
Vikingverse 1
Outland Entertainment, October 9, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 414 pages

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, author of The All Father Paradox
What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves?

Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the thousand-year-old Viking memorial there. But when things start changing and outright disappearing, Michaels realizes there is more to this old man than meets the eye. Now, Michaels finds himself swept up in an ancient god’s quest to escape his destiny by reworking reality, putting history—and to Michaels’s dismay, Christianity itself—to the Viking sword. In this new Vikingverse, storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas:

A young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens…
A scholar exiled to the frontier braves the dangers of the New World, only to find those “new worlds” are greater than he imagined…
A captured Jötunn plants the dreams of freedom during a worlds-spanning war…
A bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect…

With the timelines stretched to breaking point, it’s up to Churchwarden Michaels to save reality as we know it…





About Ian

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, author of The All Father Paradox
Ian Sharpe was born in London, UK, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. Having worked for the BBC, IMG, Atari and Electronic Arts, he is now CEO of a tech start up. As a child he discovered his love of books, sci-fi and sagas: devouring the works of Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and George MacDonald Fraser alongside Snorri Sturluson and Sigvat the Skald. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. The All Father Paradox is his first novel.



Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @vikingverse

Twitter @IanStuartSharpe

Outland Entertainment Has Announced VIKINGVERSE


Outland Entertainment Has Announced VIKINGVERSE

Outland Entertainment has announced the beginning of a new transmedia project, with fiction, comics, and games in development!

VIKINGVERSE

From a concept created by Ian Sharpe, Vikingverse is going to launch this fall with a novel by Ian called All Father Paradox.

Here is the line art for the fabulous cover-in-progress by Jeremy Mohler:

Outland Entertainment Has Announced VIKINGVERSE

All Father Paradox is coming in October!

Odin has escaped his doom at Ragnarok. Now, history has been thrown to the wolves

In the All Father Paradox, Ian Sharpe reveals a parallel universe where Vikings rule seas and stars with restless fleets. In a series of interwoven sagas, a young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens; a newly qualified professor finds the key to new horizons but unlocks a ceaseless hunger; and a bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect.
The Jötunn War: First Peek!  by Ian Stuart SharpeGoing Forth to Gosforth: The Story Behind the Cover of the YearInterview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, author of The All Father ParadoxOutland Entertainment Has Announced VIKINGVERSE

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