Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interview with mythological fiction author Jennifer Lohr

Baltic Mist - A Timeless Saga is Jen Lohr's newest creation. Jen is here today to tell us about this new cultural heritage, legends, and mythological novel.

Jennifer will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

Bio:
It all began when she came across Egil’s Saga, written in the mid11th century, chronicling the life of Egil Skallagrimsson. The history surrounding the Viking awakened within Jen an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of the Norse culture. A story was soon born, seen through the eyes of a young woman named Helga, originating from a character in Egil's Saga.
Baltic Mist begins on a farm Norway, and takes the reader through the epic adventures of Helga's enchanting life. Beginning in Book One, her tale falls against the backdrop of Scandinavia's conversion to Christianity. The saga continues in Books two and three to a finale that no one, even Helga herself, could have ever imagined!
A must read!
Welcome, Jen. Please tell us about your current release.
Baltic Mist is a series of three books following the life of a young girl during the Christian conversion. She lives on a farm in Viking-age Norway. After an encounter with Egil Skallagrimsson (an actual Viking, from the famed Egil’s Saga) Helga, our heroine, undergoes some very significant changes guiding her on a path to fulfill her destiny. The reader joins her as she experiences loss, love, death, and relationships during the tumultuous time in Scandinavian history.

What inspired you to write this book?
A long-time history buff, I am fascinated by ancient cultures. I came across Egil’s Saga and there was mention of a young girl who has a life-altering experience, and then the reader hears nothing else of her. I saw a blank canvass and decided to write about her, and what may have happened to her – what she may have been ‘all about.’


Excerpt:
(from Chapter 8 – Frideberg’s Daughter)

There was already a Thing taking place, deciding whether or not to make a marital union official. The idea of it brought me back to the day Helgi mentioned it to Hendrik not too long before, as we all stood in the hall of my home. How I missed father, Helgi and the farm.
Now, these two rival clans were settling their pasts, calling a truce. I stood in the distance, over-hearing a random word here and there. Then I noticed the name of the man who was to marry the young woman.
“…Stormi Bjornsson,” My eyes could not help themselves as they intently looked to see the man who was being referred to. To my surprise, there he stood – the same man who had approached me the previous day near the market. With his confident glare, he embodied warrior strength. I could see the sword he held at his side and the signature name engraved near the handle - it was a famed Ulfberht sword, brandished by only the wealthiest of warriors. Its blade was known to be most resilient and best of its kind.
Indeed, I was not surprised Stormi owned such a prized possession, as he was example to all things larger than life. Others admired him as well, and his smile was one that could win over the grittiest of demeanors. He truly looked as a bear: strong, respected and magnificent.
I forced my eyes to look away from him, as I likely could have for the remainder of the day. I was quickly distracted when a man spit on the ground and spoke up angrily at the idea of unity.
“I would not wife my mangiest bitch to their fattest swine, let alone my sister, here…even if it meant we would be clans who find ‘peace’! They are filthy, the Bjornssons!” One spoke up with harsh words. I chuckled, since there was irony in the moment: This man now accused Stormi and his kin to be less refined, when the crowd here held witness to his ill meaning declaration. As another spoke to him, I learned of his name.
“Resist speaking these ill words, Muerich – leave it!” I could surmise it was his father who urged him under his breath, in hopes no one would hear.
“Ha! I must ask, then Muerich. How filthy would I be standing a hand’s distance to you with my blade at your throat? Do you think I have dirt in my fingernails?” Shouting a question was a man likely to be Stormi’s brother. From the whispers in the crowd around me, I learned his name was ‘Geir.’ He, Stormi and the rest of these men were well-known Swede Vikings and warriors.
No one said a word, and tension grew thick in the field we all now awkwardly stood in.
“I would most enjoy …” Geir smiled as he continued his threat, “giving you such an opportunity to investigate the extent of my filth… ” He fearlessly tuned out the glares from the men in Muerich’s crowd. Boldly, Geir fixated the promising smirk at him.
“Let us see, Geir!” a random voice provoked.
“Yes! Come at us and we can seek the answer for you!” another man called out.
“No – this is the union we seek, here, today!” Reasoned an uncle of Stormi and Geir.
Suddenly, Muerich pulled his sword and charged at Geir. Stormi raised his Ulfberht, waiting the perfect moment to strike it down, and as brutally as he could.



What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently completing books Two and Three in the series (Book Two will be released later this year) and I have a few more projects on the table, which are not Viking-related – I can tell you both take place during the 19th century in Western America. Once I complete those two stories, I will be focusing back on the ancient Scandinavians, once again. My head is just buzzing with tales!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in grade school was the first time I decided writing came easily for me. I was very comfortable with my outlet.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I commit to my writing the same way I do to my life, because all of my stories are a piece of me – I give it my all. But, with that said, there is a balance with the other pieces of my life – like my children, family, and home. I’m a stay-at-home mom of four children (all of which are under the age of 10)…so we’re a pretty busy house! Depending upon the day, I commit 4-6 hours of writing when completing a project.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if you could call it a ‘quirk’ but more like a habit: I usually need music to set the ‘mood.’ Almost like an actor / actress getting into character. It just opens the floodgates of creativity, for me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first ambition was to work at Burger King so I’d be able to provide my father with an endless amount of free Whopper sandwiches!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d like to thank you very much for this opportunity – I enjoy answering questions about one of my passions. This experience has been wonderful, even interviews such as this – thank you!

Social media links:

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18 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Jennifer Lohr said...

Thanks so much for featuring me & for such great questions! I'll be checking in throughout the day so if there are any questions or someone wants a 'chat,' I'd be more than happy to oblige.
Hope to hear from you!
Regards,
Jen Lohr , author

Caliens Contests said...

I also find myself drawn to ancient cultures, though Norse is secondary for me with ancient Greece my first.

Baltic Mist sounds like a fascinating read. I always enjoy books that allow the reader to immerse themselves into the story.

Jen, I love that you were able to create this from a character found in Egil's Saga. There are many times I have found myself drawn to a secondary character in a story and found myself wondering what happened next!

Andra Lyn said...

Hi Again Jen!

So were your name choices more historical or did you have other reasons for choosing them. (one of my favorite authors slips in her best friends and worst enemies!)

andralynn7AT gmail.com

Elise-Maria Barton said...

Hi Jen! I am a great lover of historical fiction of times when there was not more than word of mouth history being passed on. What a source of untold riches for a fertile imagination to mine! I voraciously gobble up anything from the dark ages and medieval times that build on what little facts are availbale. I appreciate that it takes a true storyteller to relate and embellish the 'what ifs' of those eras. Thanks so much for bringing such a fascinating read to my attention.

ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

Rita said...

Sounds like a book I will enjoy.

Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

Jennifer Lohr said...

Thanks 'Caliens!' I think what drew me to the ancient Scandinavian's was how little we know about them (as opposed to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc). The mystery was something I couldn't resist, and came upon 'Egil's Saga' while researching the culture.
And thanks for acknowledging the importance of those secondary characters, too! This young woman I based my story on (Helga)sort of 'haunted' me, to be honest. And her cameo in the original saga was short of a chapter, altogether.
Thanks for the comment!
Best, Jen Lohr, author

Jennifer Lohr said...

Hello again, too, Andra!
My main character her father, & her brother were from the original Saga (along with King Erik Blood-Axe). I took a lot of events from history, and 'fit' my story around them - it meant a lot for me to 'authentic' harmonious with the facts.
But yes, I did throw in some likenesses of people in my life for other characters! :)
Great question!
Best,
Jen Lohr, author

Jennifer Lohr said...

Hi Elise!
Three words: you said it! I couldn't agree more - I truly believe that people are people, at the very core of it all - the human experience is always relatable, whether it was 2000 years ago, or last Tuesday.
Thanks for commenting & I really hope you enjoy my story!
Best,
Jen Lohr, author

Jennifer Lohr said...

Thanks, Rita & I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, too.
Best,
Jen Lohr, author

MomJane said...

Fascinating story. I love the sound of this heroine.

Jennifer Lohr said...

Thanks 'Mom Jane!'
I genuinely hope she is ras elatable to the readers as I envisioned her...but that's the beauty of literature: there's always room for our own perception! :)
Best,
Jen Lohr, author

bn100 said...

Informative interview

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Jennifer Lohr said...

Thanks bn100 for taking the time to comment.
Best,
Jen Lohr, author

Mary Preston said...

I love history too & even more so when a great story is wrapped around it.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Jennifer Lohr said...

Hi Mary! I can honestly tell you that all the history surrounding this period & place in time is FULL of stories. Thankfully, I didn't have 1 case of 'writers block,' since I found there was much to write about. Loving history as much as I do, piece held special meaning since I was shedding light on the fascinating ancient Scandinavian culture.
Thanks for commenting!
Best,
Jen Lohr, author

Karen H in NC said...

Sorry I missed you...running a bit behind and playing a mad game of catch up!

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Jennifer Lohr said...

Hi Karen! No worries - at all ;) You're not alone playing "catch up," trust me! Thanks for taking the time to drop in & say hello!
Best,
Jen Lohr, author