Today I am interviewing Snorri Kristjansson, author of the new omnibus, The Valhalla Saga! For the first time, a collection of the three books in the fantasy trilogy is being released and will be available on Nook!
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DJ: Hi Snorri! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Snorri Kristjansson: Hm. Where to start? I am from Iceland, a small country up by the Arctic Circle. We’re solid providers of scenery for car ads and news items about people who believe in elves. I’ve been writing for a very long time, but am still relatively new to the novel game.
DJ: What is The Valhalla Saga trilogy about?
Snorri: On the face of it, it is about two guys who meet in a town under siege and get caught up in a war. I will leave the extrapolation of grander themes up to the readers.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Valhalla Saga trilogy?
Snorri: Joe Abercrombie and Plato’s Theory of Origin. I reckon that’s obtuse enough.
DJ: Could actually you tell us a little about the first book in the trilogy, The Valhalla Saga, too?
Snorri: Swords of Good Men is set in what Stephen King refers to (and forgive me, Father, for I am about to misquote) as a ‘border’, a place where two areas intersect. In this case, it’s set where the lands of the Norse end and become the wider world, which they believed was theirs for the taking. However, it is also at the end of the rule of the Aesir and the start of a more pragmatic adoption of Christianity. In those kinds of times and places, King argues, humanity goes a little funny. (I am quoting from an old man’s memory. It may be one of his Richard Bachmann novels. It may be from a short story. I may also utterly be making this up.)
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters in the trilogy? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers will sympathize with them?
Snorri: The main characters are Audunn and Ulfar. Ulfar is a tall, charismatic and self-obsessed young noble who feels the world should bend to his will. Audunn is a brooding blacksmith with anger issues and a terrible secret. I find them compelling because after living with them for the best part of six years I know them – but the reader might like Ulfar for his quick wit and annoying habit of finding a withering put-down, and they might like Audunn because he smashes things.
DJ: What is the universe/world for the The Valhalla Saga trilogy like?
Snorri: I always get a little bit weird when asked to define my stuff, but I guess the label that fits best is ‘Historical Fiction’. My universe is broadly speaking Norway in the late 10th century. I don’t know whether this will be right or not, but I am tempted to say that my work is about 80% historically accurate – it features Olav Tryggvason, who did exist, and has him go around preaching the word of Christ with some rather un-Christian methods, which he did do, but takes some liberties with his antagonists and where he went about doing it.
My universe does contain magic, but I would argue that the Vikings 100% believed in it so that is still relatively historically accurate. Anyone who wants to debate me on this can do so, but only if they buy the cakes and tea.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing the The Valhalla Saga trilogy?
Snorri: Too many to count. I had a lovely time with Audunn, Ulfar and their host of interesting companions – but if I am forced to choose, I’d probably say ‘the swearing’ and leave it at that.
DJ: The The Valhalla Saga trilogy was actually completed in 2015 – since then, what have readers been talking about most once they finished it? How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers?
Snorri: Reviews have been broadly positive. People who liked it tended to like it a lot, and a lovely range of characters has been proclaimed as people’s undying favourite. Some people refer to it as ‘underrated’, which I am fine with. I’d be happier with ‘massively overrated and I don’t understand why it sold so many millions of copies’, but we take what we can get.
DJ: Did you have a goal in writing the The Valhalla Saga trilogy? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Snorri: As with the previous answer, reading is a creative thing – and part of what a reader creates is the meaning to a story. Various people will see various things in it, and they are absolutely free to do that. I of course had some ideas as to what the story is about, broadly speaking, but I am keeping them to myself.
DJ: I’m always curious when authors finish a series, how close to the original course they stayed when it is finally completed or if it ended up evolving and changing. Did the plot stay the same as you had first imagined it? How about the ending? Evolution of your characters?
Snorri: I would say that the story was relatively faithful to the outline I sketched. There were no drastical direction changes – the overarching idea sort of kept the thing fairly focused. I’d love to be better at planning ahead, though – writing book 2 and 3 I’d regularly get really cool ideas that I wish I could have seeded in text that was already sitting on my bookshelf.
DJ: Having your whole trilogy being release as a single omnibus must be exciting! Was this something your fans had been asking for?
Snorri: There had been enquiries, yes – and it is also a good thing to package things up and try to reach a broader readership.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Valhalla Saga trilogy that you can share with us?
Snorri: I am wary of quoting my work, as it tends to rely rather heavily on context. However, if anyone reads this and then goes on to have a gander at the books I would be absolutely delighted to hear their favourite quotes.
DJ: I believe you have a new book being released in March, too?
Snorri: I do! It’s been a long time coming, but Kin is coming out in a frighteningly short time. It is a Viking murder mystery starring a character who entered the Valhalla Saga in book 2 and then turned out to be such fun to write that I decided to have a think about what her early life would have been like. It’s been really interesting to write a book where I cannot solve problems by throwing in another 150 badass Vikings or killing someone – but it’s also been great fun. I got to explore quite lovely bits of unpleasantness in it, and I am sort of gently terrified and excited to hear what the readers have to say.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Valhalla Saga trilogy that we haven’t talked about yet?
Snorri: It’s 70% likely to add to your swearing vocabulary.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Snorri: D’you know what? I think we’re good! Get in touch on all the different Internets if you fancy a chat.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** The Valhalla Saga trilogy is published by Quercus and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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A deadly war is coming to Stenvik – and in the clash between old and new, only the strongest will survive. The Valhalla Saga, Snorri Kristjansson’s epic historical fantasy series, is perfect for fans of Vikings and The Last Kingdom.
As punishment for disgracing his father, Ulfar Thormodsson has spent two bitterly uncomfortable years on the road, tasked with taking his highborn cousin Geiri on a tour of the kingdom. Now his journey is almost at an end – the walled town of Stenvik will be their final stop.
But Stenvik will soon become the battleground in a deadly war between the old gods and the new: King Olav is bringing the White Christ to the masses at point of sword and edge of blade, while a Viking horde led by a mysterious woman is sailing from the north.
And Ulfar is about to learn that not all enemies are outside the walls . . .
‘For Vikings done right, come to Snorri Kristjansson’ – Mark Lawrence, bestselling author of Red Sister
About the Author:
My name is Snorri. I am Icelandic, but I live in Edinburgh.
I write things. Sometimes they are books (mainly about Vikings), sometimes they are films (mainly not about Vikings) or silly stage plays (you probably don’t want to know, to be honest).
Things I have done:
– Taught Icelandic to the British Ambassador
– Played in an 80s cover band (Yes – there is photographic evidence. No – you may not see it)
– Appeared on Sky News to explain the banking crash
– Performed stand-up comedy in various venues across the UK and other countries, including (but not limited to) a boxing ring, a barn and a warship
– Tap-danced (in front of an audience)
– Worked in a cement packing factory (not in front of an audience)
– Written a BA thesis on myself
– Graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts with a post-graduate diploma in Classical Acting
– Taught roughly 9000 people to pronounce Eyafjallajökull
and various other things of a similar nature.
I now spend my days working with words, eating cakes and teaching English and Drama at a highly reputable private school.
My 4th novel, Kin, comes out in March 2018.