Saturday, January 23, 2016

Indie Author Spotlight: Elí Freysson

Sixteen-year-old Katja finds herself in a unique position after a monster ravages her village and kills her cousin. A stranger has called to her, offering her answers to the unexplainable yearning Katja has felt her whole life. With her family’s safety in mind, Katja sets out into the world with her new companion, Serdra, an ageless woman with an immense power hidden beneath the surface of her cool exterior. As Katja learns to embrace and hone the skills she never understood before, both her and Serdra must face an evil that has been lurking in the shadows for centuries. Two against an army of untold numbers, Katja and Serdra will fight to save the world of a threat they’ll never know about.

I’ll admit that a lot of the straight up fantasy books I’ve read recently have been pretty sub-par and boring, so I went into this with a little skepticism. Luckily, The Call broke that rotten string with gusto. I’m not even 100% what it was about the story, bust something just pulled me in right away and constantly left me wanting to turn to the next page. Freysson is a native to Iceland and world within The Call felt very Nordic. It was dark, cold, and unforgiving. Much like I kind of picture the wilds of Iceland to be. And I loved it. So many fantasy books use very standard fantasy world settings. Freysson didn’t – at least not in my opinion – and it really set this world apart for me. There was plenty of lore and history mixed into the story to give it a lot of depth without dragging things down. Katja and Serdra bother were fantastic characters and so much fun to read. I don’t think I can say enough good things about this book. I’ll be reading the second book in the series ASAP.

You can buy The Call here!

Now let’s meet the author!

Elí Freysson was born in 1982 in Akureyri, the unofficial capital of North Iceland. He spent a part of his early childhood in Norway, but moved back shortly before starting school, and now lives in good old Akureyri.

Elí was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 1998, making him just eccentric enough to be an author.

He graduated high school in 2004, after which Elí first started experimenting with writing. He published his first novel in Iceland in 2011, followed by one per year until 2015. His hobbies include swimming, weight lifting, archery, reading, video games, and walks in the nearby wood.

Kick things off with a Twitter synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

Adventure-hungry teenage girl steps into the hidden conflict to protect the world of mankind from supernatural forces.

Where did the idea for The Call come from?

It actually started as a short story. I wanted to work out the Redcloak concept for the setting, so I wrote the conversation between Katja and Serdra that opens the book. The short story got such a positive reaction from friends and relatives I decided I had to make something more of it. I wanted to do my own version of the classic “mentor trains special youngster to fight evil”.

What difficulties did you face when creating this world from scratch?

It was a very slow, gradual process. The Call actually wasn’t the first book I published in Iceland. It all started with Lord of the Blind (Meistari Hinna Blindu in Icelandic), but since Katja’s trilogy takes place earlier, and is unrelated to the events in LotB, I decided to start on the English market with a trilogy. Anyway, the setting grew as I wrote and refined LotB, which took a couple of years, as I was teaching myself to write.
I guess the biggest difficulty was in working out the backstory. Nothing happens in a vacuum, after all, and a bit of a theme to The Silent War is that today’s problems are a result of yesteryear’s.

Is any of the lore or factions in The Call derived from Icelandic mythos?

I’m afraid not. People frequently ask me where I get my ideas from and I can only answer: From my brain. Boring answer, I know :-)

If you were in your own book world, what faction do you think you’d realistically fall into?

Well, REALISTICALLY I would probably be some random schlub who either lives a normal life, ignorant of the hidden war going on, or at most gets eaten by a demon.

Who was your favorite character to write?

That would be Katja herself. Her thirst for adventure, yearning to find her place in the scheme of things, attitude, excitement mixed with fear, and growing abilities made her fun for me.

What lesser known fantasy author (other than yourself, of course) do you think everyone should know about?

I really haven’t been reading enough lately (I’m working on fixing that), and I’m not sure what counts as “lesser known”, but I am currently reading Ryan Kirk’s Nightblade and I like it so far. I also recently read Stephen C. Merlino’s The Jack of Souls, and thought it was the best book I’ve read in a while.

What can we expect next from Elί Freysson?

I am close to finishing translating the third novel in Katja’s trilogy, Firemoon, though that still leaves the proofreading. After that I’ll move onto translating Lord of the Blind. I am also experimenting with writing short stories. I am working on a ten-part short story serial: A space opera about ten different characters, each experiencing a different aspect of a galactic war. I am currently submitting the first one to online magazines.

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