Hello awesome readers. Today we have a guest post by Icelandic author Elí Freysson. I asked him to tell me about himself, his books, and what is in the works. He shares his thoughts behind his stories as well as how they expanded into something more. After reading this I’m really excited to read my copy of the newly released The Severed Bond. Descriptions and links to his books can be found at the bottom of the post. Enjoy the following article by Elí Freysson and be sure to visit his official site if you’d like to get in touch.
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Well. My name is Eli Freysson, and I was born and mostly raised in northern Iceland. I first started messing around with writing just after graduating high school, and between 2011 and 2015 I published five fantasy novels in my native country. I decided to try my hand at the English-language market, having heard a rumour that it was just ever so slightly bigger than the Icelandic one.
I started by translating three of my novels into English and self-pubbing them on Amazon as the Silent War trilogy. My next step was to write a space opera quartet, The Golden Throne, in English and self-publish that one as well. I next wrote a Gothic Lovecraftian detective Victorian urban horror fantasy… thing… and I’ve been trying to pitch it to agents. With that still in process, I’ve decided to self-publish some of my other material just for the sake of doing something with it.
I also had a delightful development last year, as a Romanian publishing house agreed to translate my space opera series into Romanian and release it. It was supposed to come out this spring, but this whole Coronavirus mess has pushed things back to the fall. I’m hoping this will prove to be my foot through the door of Europe.
But who am I, anyway? Who is this dude, and can he introduce you to Björk? Well, no, I can’t. But for personal information, I am on the autistic spectrum, so I’m exactly the kind of weirdo to sit at home typing all day, thinking of “What if?” scenarios. The condition didn’t exactly make my childhood, teens, or early adulthood easy, but I’ve worked slowly and steadily on dealing with my issues and learning to live with myself and cope with my limitations. Wait, did I just sum up everyone’s life story? Anyway, I published a pamphlet intended for parents and teachers of autistic children back in 2018, and I give lectures on the condition. I like swimming, exercising, reading, playing video games (especially when I should be doing something more useful), going for cycling or walking tours in the summer, and complaining about the weather… although that is more of a national hobby than a personal quirk.
The Silent War is my entry into the “youngster discovers they have special power and a special duty” canon of fantasy, and my chance to explore what I like about the basic trope while also sidestepping the things I don’t. It’s set in a pre-industrial world still hurting from a supernatural catastrophe ages ago, and suffering at the hands of monsters lurking in the dark. Sounds pretty standard, doesn’t it? Well, my writing style has solidified pretty thoroughly around the theme of taking familiar tropes and putting my own personal spin on them. Tropes should not be a shortcut, but used as a support structure around characters.
And speaking of characters, our hero is Katja, a teenage girl with a violent streak and a lifelong, haunting feeling that she’s different from other people somehow. Her answers come in the form of a horrible monster straight out of her nightmares, that wreaks havoc before dying at Katja’s hands, followed by a stranger calling her for a meeting. This stranger is Serdra: a woman with a youthful face and old eyes, who explains that they are the same: Born enemies of otherworldly evil, and at constant risk of assassination.
Katja leaps at the chance to fulfill the sense of purpose that has always gnawed at her, and follows Serdra out into the wider world to learn from her. The woman trains her as a stealthy warrior in the Silent War; a shadowy, cloak-and-dagger conflict for the fate of humanity. Terrifying as it all is Katja truly finds herself in all of it. She was quite literally born to fight, and however much it sets her apart from normal humans she simply must embrace it.
Her baptism by fire in this endless war that cannot be won but CAN be lost is a conflict with a secret cabal of dark sorcerers. Toppled from power generations ago, they bitterly live in scattered, isolated communities, gathering together sorcerous knowledge in between attempts to rise again and/or strike at their old enemies. As they attempt to take control of Katja’s homeland and its neighbours Katja matures into a full warrior, chiselling her own legend through grit and skill.
The Golden Throne started as just a few hundred words. I was taking part in an online short story competition, with a strict word limit and a theme of “space opera”. I mulled over how to get that space opera feeling across in such a short time, and decided to portray the final minutes of an epic, years-long civil war. Through the culmination of the fighting the POV character reflects on the events that have led to this moment, various far-flung locations and cultures, great battles, and is accompanied by various colourful types.
It was only meant to be a one-off little thing, but my muse is a very troublesome and overly active thing that does not give a damn about my writing plans or the number of hours in the day. I got seduced by those various references and the main character, and so set about telling the actual, complete story.
The result was The War of the Usurper, the first in the series. It tells the story of a nine-year war of succession, triggered by the assassination of the king of a vast space realm. His sole legitimate heir, Princess Maraka, is still only a child and gets whisked away to safety by the loyal Marshal Beren, putting a cramp in the Usurper’s plans. The tale that follows is told through the eyes of eleven very different people (the marshal, a foreign mercenary, an opportunistic rogue, a secret agent, a royal bodyguard, a duke, etc) as each of them takes part in, witnesses, or causes a flashpoint in the conflict. I found this an interesting experiment, and a very effective way to show many different angles on a very large setting. But The War of the Usurper isn’t simply an anthology: Through it all Maraka is paying attention, preparing to become queen, and being moulded by the war as she prepares to bring justice down upon the Usurper for the horrors he unleashed upon the realm.
The rest of the series follows a more standard format: Set more than two decades down the line, it takes the form of a trilogy about Serina; Maraka’s young adult daughter and heir to the throne. Feeling overshadowed by her legendary mother and without anything meaningful to accomplish in peacetime, Serina longs for purpose. Fate gives her an opportunity as a long-lost part of inhabited space is rediscovered; wild and dangerous and not controlled by any of the galaxy’s three main superpowers.
She joins a diplomatic journey there as the Realm’s representative, but disastrous events leave her stranded on her own and hunted by the Realm’s ancient enemies. The princess must fight for her life, learn to put her wits to use, and make allies on this savage frontier. And on this road she discovers a great power thought lost to the galaxy centuries ago.
The Golden Throne series is basically made up of everything I find cool about the colourful kind of science fiction: Ray guns, sword fights, magic, space battles, psychic powers, killer robots, lovable rogues, ancient derelicts, planet-killing weapons, space pirates… and I could go on. I mean, I RESPECT the kind of sci-fi that takes a realistic look at the future and/or makes us think… but come on, THIS is the fun kind. 🙂
And what about the future? That is, the future of my writing? Well, I do have a second sci-fi setting, called The Sea of Stars. And yes, the focus still on making it colourful, over any attempt at scientific accuracy. Because realistic sci-fi stories can do a lot of things, but they can’t give us magic sword fights on a giant battleship as it crashes into a planetary surface.
Rather than tell an ongoing saga about a single cast of characters, I intend to use the SoS setting as a general playground; telling various kinds of stories with various kinds of characters in a more standalone fashion. The first novel is about… well, you know those Han Solo/Firefly rogue types? Here I have one operating out in the further reaches of inhabited space, who finally manages to get his own ship and hire a crew for it. He sets out to start a semi-legitimate delivery business, because getting shot at by cops AND rival criminals kind of sucks, but with the fringe of civilisation being what it is he ends up getting shot at a lot anyway.
The second entry in the series… um, well it’s actually about the same bunch, but getting into some unrelated trouble. After that, the series veers into its fabulously fantastic free-form formula. (I’m not normally a boasting type, I just spotted a chance for a lot of alliteration. Sorry.)
I just need to go over the manuscript and make some final touch-ups, and then I’ll be releasing the first Sea of Stars entry later this year. The second will follow soon after.
And THEN what? Well, it rather depends on whether someone agrees to publish my Lovecraftian/Gothic/fantasy mashup, but my planned projects include writing about a Tolkien-esque elf and make the sheer culture shock as one explores human realms a major focus, and I really want to explore the mindset of an immortal creature. I also want to write a multiverse fantasy/sci-fi comedy about a team including the like of a fairy tale witch whose only spell conjures gingerbread, a stoormtrooper-type who literally can’t shoot straight to save his life, and a D&D goblin who really doesn’t want to get into fights, what with being 3 feet tall.
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About the Author:
Elí Freysson was born in Akureyri in northern Iceland in 1982 to a local man, and a woman from Húsavík. His earliest remembered years were spent in Norway, before moving back home. An avid reader in childhood he first started writing after graduating college in 2004. Seven years later his first novel was published in Iceland, followed by one a year even since.
His hobbies include nature walks, cycling, weight lifting, swimming, archery, video games and movies.
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Mentally enslaved by the otherworldly Bright Lords for three years, Irina is suddenly freed by old friends. Together they flee through the wilderness, hoping to make it to safety. On their heels are Irina’s fellow slaves, companions turned foes, intent on bringing her back into the fold. As Irina grapples with the chaos of free thoughts once again a shadowy threat gathers, and she is forced to face a monumental decision to survive it.
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If you have Kindle Unlimited (like me, yay, high five!) you can currently get books by Elí Freysson for free! If you don’t already have KU you can try it for free for 30 days! Here are more books by Elí Freysson,
The interstellar Realm of the Glorious Dawn has endured for eight centuries, providing stability and law in the wake of the Long Darkness. Now the assassination of King Tunus has plunged the Realm into civil war, and through the years eleven very different people get caught up in major events.
An ageing royal guard, an opportunistic rogue, an inscrutable mystic, an ambitious mercenary, a weary partisan fighter… all these and more find themselves in a spot where great events must turn on their actions.
As the Realm burns, young Princess Maraka, sole rightful heir to the throne, must weather tragedy, assassins, and the pressure of being a living lynchpin for the loyalist war effort. Before her lies a monumental task: Becoming more than a mere symbol. She must become the leader her battered subjects need.
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Rowdy tomboy Katja has always been haunted by premonitions that she will face terrible foes and a lifetime of violence. Her dreams finally come to a frightening reality when she faces a marauding demon and meets Serdra, a mysterious warrior woman, who introduces Katja to the supernatural gifts they share – and the responsibilities that come with them. Together they venture out and heed the Call, as an old evil stirs in Katja‘s homeland.
For three hundred years the battle for the world of mankind has stayed in the shadows. But the old terrors merely slumber and bide their time, while men squabble and forget what awaits them.
The Silent War cannot be won, but the torch can be passed on. The world cannot be saved but it can be preserved.
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