I could’ve sworn I posted this up already, but the history of my blog doesn’t lie….Apologies! D:
Welcome to another author interview. I haven’t been very active this week with my projects nor my blog, which I apologise for. Hopefully the next week will be more active! Today with me (and the last of my first wave of prepared author interviews, Open call will be coming out shortly!) is the very talented fantasy author Linn Tesli, author of Reborn. This book I really enjoyed and gave a favourable review on Goodreads and Amazon, check it out 🙂
1. First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Hi there My name is Linn Tesli. I’m a Norwegian freelancer, writing both in Norwegian and English. I write…a lot, and in different genres. Sometimes I do work as a freelance journalist, writing articles, feature stories and movie reviews. I also work as a freelance translator. I always have a lot of projects going on at the same time. I’ll write poems and novellas whenever the mood strikes, which is rather frequent, but my absolute passion is fantasy. My first novel, Reborn, the first book in an epic fantasy series, was just released in June this year.
2. How do you develop your plots and characters?
I feel this requires a really long answer, but I’ll try to be brief (Not my strong suit).
My characters are developed from the plot, to make them fit the story. However, even before nailing the plotline, I do have some thoughts on what kind of characters I want. I like strong, female characters– not objectified, or stereotypical damsels in distress. I don’t want them to be women disguised as (stereotypical) men either, so this is tricky, but doable. I also think that a character should be flawed. No one is perfect and, let’s face it, perfect is boring! Everyone has both a little good and a little bad in them, and so any character should too. So, not a brief answer… Right, plot… I’m inspired by folklore and myth, and especially by Norse history and superstition, as well as the wild Norwegian landscape. I use this to create the world and in that way help shape my plotlines. But, most of all, I write the story I want to write. It’s kind of like my mind is a well of strange ideas and vibrant colors It really is like a constant noise of weird, irrational thoughts, and bizarre story ideas floating around in my head. It’s never a quiet moment in there!
3. Tell us about your current project.
I’m currently working on book two in the Reborn Series, called Ablaze. It has dragons in it, and writing about dragons is a lot of fun. It’s also a challenge because, well, dragons, supposedly, aren’t real (or so I’ve been told), at least no one really knows how a dragon lives. Anyways… Ablaze is mainly set in the Land of Fire. There will also be somewhat of a return of the dead, wild elves and, of course, war! I’m also working on a stand-alone novel, set in northern Norway, around the height of the Viking era. I guess I should focus on one at a time, but my mind won’t allow it.
4. Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
For Reborn, I think my main character is actually the antagonist, Archenon, a half-breed, wild elf, and sorcerer. He is an outcast who starts out trying to do right, but failing miserably… He is in many ways the absolute main character in Reborn. I have a lot of characters, though Everine, an ordinary woman with no magical abilities and no apparent destiny to fulfill has to be the other main character– in book one at least. She’s not an endearing character, but she’s on her own journey. The rest of them, well, you’ll need to read about to learn more 😉 There’s too many to mention.
5. What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Just write. Write whatever it is you want to write. Don’t worry about grammar or editing the first, or second, or even third time you punch away at the keyboard. Write, and then write some more.
Then, there’s the general advice that I hear the most often; Read! Read anything, study texts and structures. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Reading is fuel to your writing!
Then, join a writing group– on Facebook, and/or somewhere else– be part of the writing community. I have not found more inspiration anywhere else! It’s great to be able to give and take advice from other people in the very same situation you’re in, or even people who have once been where you’re at, but has now gone above and beyond in achieving their writing goals.
And, remember, everyone has to start somewhere. Whenever you feel the blues coming on, take a look at J.K. Rowling and her history. If that doesn’t inspire your writing, I don’t know what will.
One more thing… be kind, be generous and be open to critique! You don’t know everything! Just because you like something doesn’t mean a lot of other people will. Be accepting of thoughtful critiques, try to understand and consider if it means changing your own perspective and/or the way you’ve written something. Unless you only write for the folders on your computer, or the drawer in your desk, then your readers, and their opinions, matter! Listen and be humble. I assure you, it’s a lot better than being stubborn and believing you know best. Allowing your readers’ voices to impact your writing will, more often than not, help you evolve into a better writer. Cruel and hateful comments, however, are obviously not good for anything but the trash!
6. What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
If you call mythology and folklore real-life, then that! I also drew inspiration from the history and culture of indigenous people around the world, which is definitely real-life. The story is set in a sort of medieval kind of setting, and so medieval history and culture have also inspired how the world was built. There are a few stabs at our present day society and prejudices in the book as well. I don’t dwell on the subjects, but they’re there for those interested to read a little bit more between the lines.
7) What inspires you to write?
My mind? I’d like to answer; I just have to write. However, I went years without writing anything but what was related to my education, and focusing on everything other than writing. My mind was never quiet though, and when my son was born I started writing again, and haven’t been able to stop… so, maybe, my biggest inspiration is my amazingly silly, stubborn, funny, magical little boy.
8. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
…So much. Writing a book is all about hard work! Editing was a real challenge. Realizing I had to add scenes and expand or change other scenes when I thought I was just about finished, was, at times, devastating– but, had to be done. Also, I realized I wasn’t as good a writer as I thought starting out. I had, and still have, a lot to learn. Hopefully, these past four years have made me a much better writer than I thought I was to begin with! Another obvious challenge is that I decided to write this series in English, when my native language is Norwegian. I’m happy about my choice, though.
It’s a daunting, but exciting process.
9. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I love creating new creatures and places. Writing about Sonûdor forest was among my favorite parts, as I got to be really creative with the scenery, using all the senses to be transported into this magical place. My other two favorite parts were introducing the gryphons and, later, a chapter about a sea serpent.
10. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I got to know myself a lot better as a writer, and as a person. I’ve really learned to appreciate the effort and immense amount of work it takes to create a novel and, as such, my respect for other authors have grown. I also got to learn about medieval structures, certain plants and trees, and other fun-facts that was needed to create the world of Aradria. It’s a fantasy-world, but it still needs to be recognizable, and relatable.
11. It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I have a Bchs in social work, and I have worked with children for nearly 10 years. I use my knowledge of child psychology and development to understand and give life to my characters. My intent is to know what my characters have been through throughout their childhoods, even if the reader doesn’t get to know everything I know, and then shape their personalities based on their past, the things they’ve experienced, as well as using their heritage, and the environment they’ve been brought up in. It’s all about nurture versus biology 😉 Sometimes, a character might do something that seems out of place, but then I remember where he or she came from, and it makes sense. It does to me, at least! It might not make sense to everyone else, or so I’ve learned!
12. What are your future project(s)?
As I said, I’m currently working on book two in The Reborn Series. The plan is to write five books total in this series. We’ll see how that goes… Other than that, I have a couple of books in mind, plus wanting to write a children’s book. Some dreams won’t happen, but, if I work hard, I know that I can achieve a lot.
13. If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Family therapist, maybe… If I’m being realistic. Or some other job involving kids… If not, and if I had enough talent, I’d love to be a director, a painter or a photographer! All that aside, I just want to be an author– full time!
14. What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I would love for them to follow me on any and all platforms, but ultimately I’d really just want them to follow me (wherever it’s most convenient for the reader). I love interacting with people who have read my work or is interested in what I write, and so any comment or feedback is always of interest to me!
I have a website for the series: https://therebornseries.com
I have a FB page for the series: The Reborn Series https://www.facebook.com/therebornseriesbytesli/?view_public_for=899527416860650
Or my author FB-page: Linn Tesli
I’m also on twitter: Linn Tesli
Last, but not least, you can find me on Goodreads: Linn Tesli