Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Susan Krinard author of the recently released Mist (July 16, 2013 via Tor Books) as my guest. I love Norse Mythology and wondered what brought Susan to write this series. I'm very grateful when an author takes time out of their very busy schedule to do a guest post for me, and for my followers. We are also offering up copies of Mist to some lucky people!
Below you will find Susan's Guest Post, an Excerpt of Mist, Susan's Bio, and the Giveaway!
Guest Post by Susan Krinard:
I’ve always loved mythology. It didn’t really matter what kind … mythology was like science fiction and fantasy—otherworldly--and that was what I was looking for as a reader when I was a kid. I wanted to escape into worlds completely different from the miserable one I lived in (acne, loneliness, bullies, etc. In short, the typical life of a nerdy kid who liked nerdy things and never quite fit in.)
Long before I began writing professionally, I used to tell myself fantasy stories that built on mythological concepts. I loved the silly TV cartoons about Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Submariner. (Does anyone remember him?) I started looking at comics just before my teens, though I was a bit afraid to read them because girls just didn’t do that in those days. And again, Thor was one of my favorites.
I first fell in love with fantasy when my 5th grade teacher read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time to our class. After that, I absorbed every fantasy and SF book I could find at the library. When I sold my first contemporary paranormal romance in 1993, I thought of it as another kind of fantasy … in this case, with a werewolf/shapeshifter hero (one of the first non-cursed werewolves ever to appear in romance.)
But I always wanted to write “straight” fantasy. So when I was invited to participate in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt, I turned back to my love of mythology in writing the original novelette, “Mist.” I loved the idea of a Valkyrie heroine, and I’ve always loved tricksters … so I knew Loki, as the antagonist, was going to be a lot of fun. (I wrote “Mist” before the first Thor movie came out, so any similarities, especially between the Lokis, is sheer coincidence!) Norse mythology is very earth, very direct and “romantic” in the traditional sense. As in most mythic pantheons, the Norse gods are very much like humans—selfish, malicious, generous, inconsistent, courageous. And they can die, though they are very long-lived.
I chose to interpret these myths my own way, developing some aspects and discarding others. Valkyrie were traditionally “choosers of the slain,” divine women of Asgard who swept over ancient battlefields and selected the bravest warriors to become Odin’s “army” in his hall, Valhalla. But these women weren’t actual warriors, and Mist had always wanted to fight. So when she was sent to Midgard with one of Odin’s powerful weapons, sworn to guard it until he came to claim it again, she taught herself swordcraft and became a true warrior—skills that stand her in good stead when she learns that Ragnarok, the last battle of the gods and their enemies, is finally about to happen … on her adopted world, Midgard (Earth.)
Elves are not really described in the Icelandic writings about Norse mythology, though Tolkien borrowed heavily from that mythology in creating his elves. My elves, like Tolkien’s, are quite beautiful creatures, but are very insular and arrogant, believing themselves to be above just about everyone but the gods themselves. My elf character, Dainn, has been forced (literally) to come down to earth, and bears a burden that separates him completely from his own people. Mist’s dislike for elves is put to the test when she has to rely on Dainn to help her fight against ….
… Loki. He’s been a hoot to write. Again, I created my version of the mythological trickster before Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appeared, but there are a few similarities. Tricksters, present in the myths of almost every culture, are by nature purveyors of chaos, rule-breakers who keep all the other gods, and mortals, on their toes. My Loki is arrogant, sure of himself, careless with the lives of mortals and his own followers, and convinced that he has all the answers. He also has three monstrous children: Fenrisulfr, the great Wolf; Hel, the goddess of the afterlife; and Jormungandr, the World Serpent, who was said to live in the vast ocean around Midgard, encircling it with his body. But Loki is not “evil” in the modern sense of the word (very few “pagan” gods were), and he’s also vulnerable in one very crucial way that may prove a stumbling block in his quest to defeat Mist and the gods.
The Thor movies make heroes of Odin and Thor. My books don’t. They are based more on the original myths; both had negative sides to them, and were very capable of maliciousness, murder and treachery. There was always ambiguity among the Norse gods. At the same time, they had very strict codes of honor (which they sometimes broke) and customs that made their relationships among themselves—and with mortals, giants, and other beings--very intriguing and complex.
If I get a chance to write more Mist books beyond the original trilogy (Black Ice in summer 2014, Battlestorm in summer 2015), I have even more mythological ideas in mind. But we’ll have to wait and see!
SUSAN KRINARD is the author of twenty-three romance novels and twelve novellas. Krinard grew up in the San Francisco bay area. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband Serge Mailloux, two cats, and three dogs.
Susan Krinard has been writing paranormal romance and fantasy since 1993, when a published author friend read a short story she’d written and advised her to try writing a novel. She sold her first novel to Bantam Dell, and has since written for Bantam, Penguin, Harlequin/ Silhouette, Harper Collins, St. Martin’s Press., and Tor Books. Her output includes twenty-three novels and twelve novellas and short stories.
Susan’s love for Science Fiction and Fantasy began when her fourth grade teacher read Madeleine L’Engles’ A Wrinkle In Time to the class. She attended her first Star Trek convention at the age of 14. Since then she’s continued to read voraciously and has attended numerous local and World Science Fiction conventions. Her first major urban fantasy series is the “Midgard” series, beginning with Mist, a July 2013 release from Tor Books.
Susan and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband Serge Mailloux—whom she met because of a mutual love of the works of writer C. J. Cherryh—dogs Cagney, Nahla and Freya, and cats Agatha and Rocky. www.susankrinard.com
Or so she thought.
When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god Loki, alive and well after all these years.
Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist to get access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows.
Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.
“Loki was here,” Dainn said. He stalked up behind her, breathing in deeply like a wolf scenting the air. She spun to face him.
“If you’d told me as soon as I found you—”
He backed away, watching her face as if he expected her to attack him with her bare hands. “I made a mistake,” he said.
But so had she. She’d been so much worse than the short- wit and incompetent she had called herself before. Eric was no devoted lover prepared to spend the rest of his mortal life with her. He had deceived her from the moment they’d met.
Of course, she’d had no reason to think he could be anything but what he claimed. He had been affectionate, affable— the very opposite of Loki Laufeyson. But even if she’d suspected the gods were alive, she would never have looked beyond Eric’s smiling blue eyes, his big- hearted nature, his easy confidence.
Hrimgrimir had been no more than a distraction. It had always been Eric. Eric Larsson, also known as Loki Laufeyson.
“How did this happen?” Dainn asked.
Mist stared at the pile of ash, flinching at the question as if the elf had bellowed the words in her ear.
“Why didn’t Freya know Loki was already in Midgard?” she retorted. “Why did she only suspect?”
“So much is . . . still unclear to us.”
“But Eric—” She broke off, unable to find the words.
Dainn ran his fingers through the black powder. “He was your lover.”
“No! It was . . .” She swallowed, remembering all the good times. Every one false, Loki’s joke on one he might have vanquished with a snap of his fingers. Just the previous morning, in the gym, she’d told him he was getting to be almost as good with the sword as she was. And when they’d made love . . .
“I knew him as . . . Eric Larsson,” she said.
“How long was he with you?” Dainn asked.
Mist’s throat tightened until she could hardly breathe. “Six months.”
Dainn frowned, obviously asking himself the same questions she was. If Loki had been in Midgard for months, he had deceived the Aesir more thoroughly than he had ever done in a long life of deception.
Loki Laufeyson. Scar- lip, Slanderer, godling, trickster, purveyor of chaos and conflict, shape- shifter, foremost of Jotunar, father of monsters, mother of Sleipnir, once ally of the gods and now their greatest enemy. Myth called him evil, but he was so much more than any mere word could define. The codes of morality, Aesir and mortal, were not his to live by.