I am so excited to have S.T. Bende, author of Elsker, on Effortlessly Reading today for our Summer Lovin’ Read A Thon! She is going to be answering some questions about herself and her New Adult book, Elsker, and there will be a fabulous giveaway at the end!
The idea for Elsker came to me on a road trip. I was driving the Oregon Coast when I pulled into one of those little drive through coffee huts. A super sweet college-aged girl took my order, and I looked around while I waited. A sign proudly welcomed me to Nehalem, Population 250. One red light flashed from a wire, directing traffic along Main Street (which doubled as US Highway 101), a forest stood to the east and the Pacific Ocean was somewhere to the west. I started wondering what would happen if something bigger than all of us dropped in on this little town. That was the beginning of Elsker.
Elsker was only ever meant to be a fun little story I wrote in my journal; but it just kept growing until one day I realized I’d written two novels (Elsker and Endre). By then I was so in love with my characters, I wondered if other people might get a kick out of them too. I decided to query it, but “Ridiculously Long Journal Entry” wasn’t the kind of title that would be taken seriously. I remember it was around Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, and somewhere in the endless refrains of “Ja Vi Elsker” (Norway’s National Anthem), I decided to name the book Elsker. The word means Love, and as it’s a love story with a character named Elsker, it just seemed to fit.
I love Norse mythology. It’s so dark, and so romantic, and it just has so much material to work with. I love the Greek stories too, but being Scandinavian-American myself, the Norse stories hit a little closer to home.
That’s a great question. Elsker sets the Norse gods against the background of contemporary college life. So there are those fantasy/paranormal elements in the form of Ull and his family (all Asgardians), but there’s also a very contemporary feel because most of the story takes place at Cardiff University. Ull and his buddies pose as graduate students to get away from Asgard, and for the most part they blend right in. They live together off-campus, hang out at the local hot spots, and stress over classes. But they also have the whole mythological Norse apocalypse to worry about, so it’s a bit of a genre mash-up.
College was one of my favorite times in life, and I had a blast writing a very far-fetched what-if story for Kristia. It’s a great period to set a story in- the most freedom with the least responsibility you’ll ever have. But I honestly don’t know where this book hits in the market. I just wrote the story I wanted to write, and didn’t give nearly enough thought to how it could be marketed. I’m told anything containing college-aged characters is a NA story, but I’m also told NA is supposed to be steamier than Elsker probably is. Elsker is a pretty clean story — it doesn’t have explicit nookie, so it’s something you can read without blushing too much. There’s first love and romance, and the themes of developing your own identity and carving out your destiny in spite of what you’re told you have to do. So I’d say… Upper YA/NA?
The writing part was easy. I wrote a fun story in my journal just for me. The hard part was when I signed the contract with my publisher and I realized I’d just agreed to let the entire world read and review my journal. Eek!
Ooh… just one? JK Rowling – her world building is unparalleled, and I could learn so much about developing a fantasy universe just from being in the same room with her. Sigh. But with True Blood back on, I remember how much I adore Charlaine Harris. Her Sookie Stackhouse books are so fun and so inspired, and Sookie’s voice is so spunky. Plus she gave us Vampire Eric. I love her.
Thanks so much for letting me visit Kelly! Now I have a question for your readers: What do you love about series books? What keeps you coming back to read the next installment?
Author: S.T. Bende
Series: The Elsker Saga #1
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: May 22, 2013
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Her orderly life just got very messy.
You can follow ST Bende on Twitter @stbende, or send an e-mail to stbende(at)gmail(dot)com.
At eight o’clock, a firm knock interrupted my reading. I picked my way through the flower shop that our living room had become and opened the door.
“Oh good, you kept my peace offerings.” Ull treated me to a rakish grin.
“Just a few of them,” I muttered. “Come on in.”
“Oh, no. You must come with me.”
“Why?” I challenged. Ull sighed.
“Are you going to fight me at every turn?”
“Please come.” He looked so adorable standing on my stoop, his scarf casually thrown across the grey sweater under his coat. I gave in quicker than I meant to.
“Fine.” I grabbed my coat from the closet by the door and shoved my keys and wallet into the pocket. “Where are we off to?” I closed the door behind me and followed Ull into the brisk night, waiting for his promised explanation.
But he didn’t say anything. Instead, he put his hand on the small of my back and guided me away from campus. I shivered and noticed that Ull wore his jacket open, at ease in the chill. As we rounded the corner, Ull dropped his hand to clasp mine. It was so warm, so strong, and for a moment I forgot to be mad at him. We walked in silence as he led me down the main road. After two right turns, I found myself standing in a quiet garden.
Ull had brought me to a church.
And now time for the giveaway!
- This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY. You can win an ebook of Elsker or a signed paperback of Elsker. The signed paperback of Elsker is for US only though.
- The giveaway will run until July 10, 2013.
- You must be 18 years or older, or have parents’ permission to enter.
- All your entries will be disqualified if you pickup entries for something you haven’t done. (I had to do this for so many of my last giveaways, please don’t make me do this again.)
- If you only use ONE account to do all these tasks and enter under different names, they will still only constitute as ONE entry.
- If the winner does not respond to my e-mail within 48 hours, I will have to choose another winner.
- I am not responsible for any items lost in the mail.