I am beyond thrilled today to welcome author Ingrid Paulson to the blog to answer a few questions about her paranormal young adult novel Valkyrie Rising. I fell madly in love with this book, and it only had a little to do with the funny and charming Tuck. Okay, I just lied. Tuck had A LOT to do with the warm fuzzies this book gave me, I wanted to reach in and hug him and then engage him in a battle of snark. I'm pretty sure he would have beaten me, but that's okay because surely he would have fallen in love with me during the course of our battle, and I would have had his undying devotion as a consolation prize ;-) If you haven't had a chance to pick this book up yet, I highly recommend it!
What’s one aspect of valkyrie mythology that surprised you or fascinated you most as you were researching?
I was a little shocked at how grisly some of Norse mythology stories were. Some of the “pranks” between Odin and Loki were not funny at all, in my opinion. And I didn’t know that much about the first gods and giants who preceded Odin, Thor, and the Norse mythology figures that most people have heard about. Oh, and in several of the books they mention how the Valkyries would serve the heroes mead and basically wait on them. I chose to omit that part because my Valkyries were in charge of the soldiers, not beholden to them.
You and Ellie have swapped places and you’ve just learned you descend from a long line of mythological warriors. What’s the first thing that pops into your head?
I wonder if I can do a front flip. I’ve always wished I could do those cool gymnastics moves but I couldn’t even do a cart wheel.
If you could be a mythological figure of any kind–Norse, Greek or otherwise–what would you be?
Well, after crafting Valkyries into exactly what I think they should be, it’s hard not to answer Astrid (even though she’s not really a character out of Norse mythology).
But my favorite mythological character growing up was always Athena—the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage who kicks some serious butt in battle. In my mind, she’s an honorary Valkyrie.
The witty banter between Tuck and Ellie is a highlight of this story (at least for me). What might Tuck say is his favorite line that Ellie has delivered during one of their verbal sparring sessions?
One of the things Tuck loves most about Ellie is she’s the only one who puts him in his place. And she says things that surprise him—he tends to think he’s got a read on everyone. Ellie gets a crazy rush every time she makes Tuck laugh out loud since that’s not particularly easy to do. Tuck is more likely to smile and tease back because most jokes don’t catch him off guard enough to actually make him laugh. This little excerpt from the first chapter represents that dynamic for me:
“Don’t let that jerk chase you away,” Tuck said, following me through the crowd. “I’ll get rid of him.”
“Isn’t that what you just did?” I stopped and turned to face him.
“I mean for good.” The alcohol on his breath was surprisingly sweet, as was the look in his gray eyes. But I wasn’t going to be tricked a second time.
“I don’t want murder on my conscience, if that’s what you mean.”
“It’s not,” Tuck said. “Even I have my limits.”
“Good to know,” I said. Tucker Halloway’s limit is just shy of manslaughter,” I said. “Maybe we tie him up and stash him in the pantry instead.”
If you had to confess to either Ellie or Tuck one thing about the creation of their characters that they might be surprised to learn, what would you reveal to them?
Even though Ellie is the narrator, it took me a lot longer to figure her character out. I think in part because at the beginning she’s a little unsure of who she is as well and learns a lot about herself over the course of the story. Tuck, however, sprang into the story fully-formed and ready to roll. I never had trouble with his lines or figuring out how he’d behave in a given situation. He had a mind of his own.
Let’s say Tuck is going to accompany you on a multiple-city promotional tour for Valkyrie Rising. What are you looking forward to most and least about touring with him?
Tucker always makes me laugh and I’d look forward to his one-liners and the fact that he keeps everyone on their toes. But with that comes the inevitable scrapes he gets into, so I imagine eventually it would turn into a mess I had to clean up or talk our way out of.
Do you have any reading quirks or habits (dog-earing pages, highlighting memorable quotes, reading the last page first, etc.)?
So, in my house, writing in books or dog-earing pages was tantamount to sacrilege. Since most of the books I read belonged to my dad, and were always in pristine condition, I was very careful with them. To this day, I have trouble writing in books. And actually, when I signed the first few copies of Valkyrie Rising, I had pangs of “I’m ruining this book—I’m gonna get in so much trouble!” Yes, totally silly.
Lately I’ve been reading more ebooks than paper books simply because it’s easier to transport so I do highlight and tab pages that way.
Give us one word that describes whatever project you have in store for us next.
Dark. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person and I love being silly, so I’m stretching myself with this one.
Thank you so much for having me, Jenny. I also wanted to share a Valkyrie Rising playlist that I completely adore and that I listen to while running. It was put together by my critique partner, Whitney Miller, whose debut novel is coming Winter 2014 from Flux. It’s fitting Whitney made a playlist since she knows tons about music and even has a scene in her book that takes place in an underground Tokyo’s punk club! Here’s a few words about Whitney’s book—tentatively titled THE TERROR. It’s got horror, humor, and hot guys. What more can you ask for?
Harlow Wintergreen is keeping a dark secret.
She is the daughter of the charismatic leader of VisionCrest, a corporate religion that's been plagued by a rash of mysterious kidnappings. All eyes are on Harlow, and she is expected to be perfect.
Unbeknownst to everyone, a sinister voice whispers to Harlow, showing her visions of a dizzying, blood-soaked alternate reality. Traveling on a PR junket to Asia with the families of the VisionCrest elite, Harlow is hoping to reconnect with her childhood friend and secret crush, Adam. Adam was the victim of a kidnapping and has miraculously returned, but his demeanor has changed. Harlow suspects she isn’t the only one keeping dangerous secrets.
Harlow desperately struggles to keep her mind under control, but the more she resists, the more completely she is overwhelmed by the terrifying voice. It whispers to her. Shows her the deadly possibilities. Harlow’s mental state deteriorates and her visions bleed over into reality. When people begin to turn up dead, Harlow must expose her secret to the boy she loves and face the monster within, or else be consumed by it. Will it be too late?
Best Coast - "The Only Place"
Bananarama - "Cruel Summer"
Paramore - "Born for this"
Ellie Goulding - "Guns & Horses"
Britney Spears - "Till the World Ends"
Florence + the Machine - "Leave my Body"
Metric - "Help I'm Alive"
Silversun Pickups - "Gun Shy Sunshine"
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing the playlist Ingrid! More information on Ingrid (AND TUCK!) and her books can be found here:
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What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.