Monday, July 22, 2013

Tessa Gratton and The World of New Asgard [Guest Post]

Hey gang.  So, I've asked Tessa Gratton, author of The Lost Sun, the first book in the new United States of Asgard Series to stop by and give us a little glimpse into how international relations took shape in the world in which The U.S. of Asgard exists.  So, I'll hand it off to her and let her take it from here. Tessa?

Earth, known as the Middle World to the citizens of the United States of Asgard, is not unlike our own. The only change I made when I went back into history to create the culture was that the Norse gods are real beings.

I had to make decisions about why they’re “real” and other gods – gods of Egypt and China and the Americas for example – aren’t. The explanation I came up with is a spoiler for the series though, so I can’t tell you. Suffice it to say, there IS a reason the gods of Asgard, trolls, frost giants and their ilk are living, interfering beings while no other pantheon exists outside of faith and imagination.

Once that choice was made, I was still faced with a daunting task of changing thousands of years of history based on this one thread. The ripples could be gigantic! But I wanted these books to be intimate character stories, love stories, about faith and family more than world events, politics, history. I didn’t want to trap myself or let myself get bogged down within all the fascinating possibilities. My solution was to keep it as focused as possible.

Fortunately, the gods themselves and the history of Scandinavia worked with me. The land is cold, hard, unforgiving, and people had to look to themselves to survive. Add trolls and other monsters to that, and even with gods like Thor and Odin adding to your military power, the people of Old Asgard didn’t have the energy to interact much with the rest of the world until about 2,000 years ago when the Romans pushed into northern Europe. The first big world change came around 400 CE when the Norse people under the auspices of Odin, Thor, and Baldur, took over most of Europe in response to the Roman and Persian Empires. They united parts of what is now Scandinavia, the UK, Russia, Poland, Germany, and France into the kingdom of Eurland. Christianity never got a stronghold in the area, and by 800 CE the Vikings were using their naval technology to expand trade and power for themselves.

It would take more words than I have time for here to explain the details of the following thousand years. When the Eurlanders came to North America, they found a “New World” they thought would be ripe for the conquering, a good new start after the decimation of their lands by conflicts with the Mongol Empire. They destroyed the natives purposefully and systematically, taking the survivors as slaves, and for a few hundred years milked the continent for all it was worth. There was no American Revolution as such, though the founding fathers of the US of Asgard did battle and bargain with the gods themselves to win the right to create this new country, and convinced the gods to abandon Eurland in favor of founding what they wanted to be the strongest country in the Middle World.

Today, the US of Asgard maintains its borders on a hard line, and is not as imperialistic as it once was (or as we are in reality). They welcome immigrants, but only those who submit to the citizenship requirements of dedication to a god. They do not send very much foreign aid. Asgardians believe those fated to survive will survive without help from them.

A little harsh, but I like it!  Those Asgardians sound pretty hard core. Thanks for enlightening us on Asgardian geopolitics, Tessa!  We can't wait to dive into THE LOST SUN and get to know the characters in this world a little better. The Lost Sun hit shelves about three weeks ago. If you think you might want to dive in like we do, pick up a copy from your local Indie bookseller or from Amazon, available in both ebook and hardcover formats. Blurb:

Fans of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Holly Black's The Curse Workers will embrace this richly drawn, Norse-mythology-infused alternate world: the United States of Asgard. Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood--the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd's Academy. But that's hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That's not all Astrid dreams of--the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.

   When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they've been told they have to be.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Young at ♥: What's Up Next?

So.  Young at ♥, if you haven't heard by now, is an IRL book group for adults who read teen lit.  How adult is adult?  17 and older.  We meet at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange in Mesa on the third Thursday of every month at 7pm.  What do we do? We read one book per month and meet up to chat about the plot, the characters, our loves and beefs.  Why is this awesome?  Because we have other people who HAVE READ THE SAME BOOK to rant with or gush to... depending on how the book sat with us.  We can debate the finer points of plot and where we think the plot might go... but we always get along and leave as friends.  So.  If you're looking for something like this, look no further and all you have to do is show up.  Just show up and come see us in the old cafe area.

The schedule is as follows for the next year or so:

July 18th: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (Tell us you're coming: Facebook or Twitter)
August 15th: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
September 19th: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
October 17th: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
November 21: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
January 16th, 2014: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
February 20th: Zero by Tom Leveen
March 20th: Divergent by Veronica Roth
April 17th: Invasion by Jon Lewis
May 15: Willow by Julia Hoban
June 19: Butter by Erin Jade Lange
July 17: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Like the I Heart Monster Facebook Page and follow @iheartmonster & @bookmansmesa on Twitter for news and updates about these events.

Are you an author on our horizon and want to help us out (or show up?)  Drop me an email and we'll totes coordinate.