A guest post from one of my Clarion South friends, the very talented Steve Turner. I’m a big fan of Norse mythology, so I’m particularly looking forward to reading Steve’s book.
The Next Big Thing
By Steve Turner
As part of an ongoing chain of book and author recommendations called ‘The Next Big Thing’ where writers share what they are working on, I have answered a number of questions about my current project. I was tagged by my Clarion South workshop friend, the brilliant and imaginative Aidan Doyle.
What is the working title of your book?
Enemy of the Gods (Part 1 of a trilogy).
Where did the idea for the book come from?
The original idea is about five years old, and goes back to a family discussion around a BBQ where my two brothers and two sons and I had a wish list/brainstorm session about what we would like to see in the next high quality fantasy novel or movie. The common consensus was an appetite for stories told from the POV of the coolest baddies in fantasy, their own stories, with their own hopes and dreams and struggles. I love dragons but thought that had been done so well by so many fine authors so I wanted to try something else – in this case, the trolls – but in the original Norse mythology world populated by trolls, elves, dwarfs, giants, gods and stupendous monsters. I was always fascinated by Norse mythology and the world the Vikings believed in, so I set my world(s) firmly in that space. Then, wanting to put my own spin on this world of wild natural magics and logic defying gods, mutations and madness I gave the whole thing a kind new weird twist.
What genre does your book fall under?
Epic fantasy with a touch of dark fantasy and a good helping of the weird.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young man mutates into a troll with growing magical powers and joins with a group of trolls and giants to become the focus of a struggle against the ruthless gods to control his own fate and bring about the final battle of Ragnarok between the Norse gods (and mankind) and their enemies, the giants (and the dead).
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Not sure, my main protagonist is a young Viking who starts to change into a troll, and could be played by someone like Chris Hemsworth, though probably someone a bit younger (protag is 17yo at beginning). A couple of his troll companions are quite big so need to be played by bulkier actors like Ron Perlman and Michael Chiklis. The dark elf Lady of the Blood could be played by Angelina Jolie.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?
Still in the final stages of writing, but then will hopefully be picked up by an agent or publisher.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It’s taken about five years but with a few breaks of five or six months to pull myself together and restructure and regroup (and *ahem* just plain old procrastination) – particularly in the period after my Clarion South workshop experience which taught me so much, lessons that I have since applied to this story.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This novel uses two very different approaches. On the surface, built on early Norse mythology beliefs and themes, shared with novels like Poul Anderson’s ‘The Broken Sword’, and maybe a slight nod to Tolkien’s LOTR – but with all the Norse gods, giants, monsters and the forces of the dead put back in (and told from their POV), trying to stick to the original source material and avoid Tolkien’s fantasy cliches and tropes that every second fantasy novel now seems to use. But underneath there is also a definite feeling of weird things happening, such as body mutations and gargantuan monsters moving in the background, influenced by new weird legends like Jeff VanderMeer with his Ambergris universe (my favourite of these novels is ‘Finch’) and China Mieville’s Bas-Lag novels (my favourite is The Scar).
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The trilogy is based on the nine worlds of early Norse mythology and includes: trolls, giants, gods, demigods, the forces of the dead, men, dark elves, dwarves, monsters; different systems of magic; violent and monstrous mutations and death; attacks from Thor, God of Thunder and Tyr, God of War; scheming from the creator god Odin; sacrifices to the dark elf god; power struggles, plots and counter-plots for control of Midgard; the struggle between the forces of Chaos and Order; fire giants, storm giants, frost giants; Hel, goddess of the dead, and Nidhogg the black dragon, lord of Hel’s gates; love, betrayal, sexual tension and personal sacrifice; monstrous monsters and strange strangers; fixed fate versus free will; the final battle Ragnarok at the end of the world.