Author Spotlight - Tessa Gratton

Hey it's finally Friday guys! It's been such a busy week and I thought I would end the week with an interview with the lovely Tessa Gratton, the author of the best-selling United States of Asgard series as well as Blood Magic and The Blood Keeper.

The second book in the United States of Asgard series - The Strange Maid is released on the 12th June, for those of you not familiar with the series, imagine that the United States was colonised by the Scandinavians and their gods, picture Odin, Ull, Braggi, Thor running about with iPhones checking their emails!

Tessa very kindly spared some time to answer my nosey questions.

Hi Tessa, first of all thank you for letting me be nosey! I was just looking at your bio on your website and you have certainly travelled around, have any of these countries been inspirational to you and your writing.

Hi Heather – I like nosey! It makes questions better. ALL of the places I’ve been have inspired me and my writing. I firmly believe that while writing is a craft that you practise to learn, storytelling is something that only curiosity and adventure can really imbue. Travelling as a child and an adult has taught me that people are both very similar and very different – which seems obvious, but sometimes isn’t. We’re not all copies, we have different backgrounds and cultures, but human needs, motivations, and desires are relatable around the world – it’s how we act upon those things that differs. Though I’ve never written a book that explicitly takes place in Japan or Hong Kong or Budapest or Australia, I’ve drawn from the places I’ve been when it comes to trying to understand what makes new worlds intriguing to readers. The people, the different cultures, the exciting missteps and adventures you can find getting lost or just asking questions inspire me.

As an aspiring writer myself I am finding in difficult to get in to a routine to write, Do you have a routine when writing or do you just go with the flow?

Writing is my full time job and I treat it that way: I work from about 9-5 every Mon-Friday. I have daily goals and weekly goals (both word count and business goals). There’s a saying that you can’t wait for the muse to strike, you have to go out and find inspiration. If you’re having difficulty getting into writing, I recommend just STARTING. Pushing words out, about anything. You can try long-hand or computer, try little writing exercises, anything to get you going. Writing breeds writing, I promise.

Asgard is huge at the moment thanks to Marvel with Thor/Avengers and a programme I love from New Zealand called the Almighty Johnsons, I love your idea of an alternate US where these Norse gods are amongst us, can I ask how was your idea conceived?

I have “the Almighty Johnsons” on my Netflix queue! Looking forward to giving it a try!

The idea for the United States of Asgard came when I was in grad school in 2005, and for fun I was reading Anglo-Saxon poetry and Norse Mythology. I realised Vikings and Anglo-Saxons had a lot in common with the American political discourse of the time (and still, to be honest). I wanted to explore the American warrior culture I was suddenly seeing everywhere, and using the mythology of the Vikings was a great way to do that.

My to read pile is so huge at the moment and fantasy inspired books are about half of it, Do you have a favourite book in this genre and what is it, also what do you think makes this genre just as popular as say romance.

OH this is HARD. Fantasy is my favourite genre, so here are a few: FROI OF THE EXILES by Melina Marchetta, THE CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson, FIRE BY KRISTEN CASHORE, THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley, MELUSINE by Sarah Monette, THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA by Megan Whelan Turner.

I think YA fantasy is so popular for the exact same reason romance is: women are voracious readers, and for the MOST part, YA fantasy is written by women of all ages, FOR women of all ages. We write what we love, and for the first time in history it’s being recognized by our culture.

Did you write from a young age or did it come later on?

I’ve been writing for myself since I was about 10 years old! I’ve always been a reader and wrote not only my own original stories, but what we now call fan fiction. Star Wars and Robin McKinley, predominantly.

I always love to know if you could turn your book in to a film, who would you love to have playing your characters roles?

I’d want not famous people, mostly. I like the idea of my characters being brought to life by “fresh” faces. Except Chris Evans has to play Baldur the Beautiful, because reasons. I wouldn’t mind if the rugby player Israel Folau played Soren, though.

Israel Folou
Chris Evans

Will there be anything different between The Lost Sun and The Strange Maid? Is this a planned trilogy?

They have different narrators! Soren, the teen berserker, narrates THE LOST SUN, and Signy Valborn, who longs to be a Valkyrie, narrates THE STRANGE MAID. The third book has another narrator, too! It’s a series with three books, as opposed to a traditional trilogy. I could always write more, or write books that take place in between. It does not have the structure of a traditional trilogy at all.

If you could choose a Norse god to rule over the United States who would you choose? I am Loki all the way!!!

LOL I think Loki would be a pretty terrible ruler! He’s selfish and kind of a dick. ;) If I had to choose one I’d go with Thor Thunderer or Tyr the Just. Thor represents family and honor and equality, so that’s a good place to start. Tyr is, as his name suggests, most interested in justice and mercy. He’s one of the oldest of the Norse gods, too, and was thought to be the original “ruler” or most important of the gods before that upstart Odin took over.

Can you tell me a little of what you have planned for us for the future?

I’m definitely writing a few stand-alone novels after this series is over. I’m crushed by the weight of my world building! ;) They’ll be YA fantasies, too, of course. MAYBE someday and adult book, but for now I’m solidly YA.

Finally what authors are your go-to authors, ones that always guarantee a memorable good read!

Besides my favourites listed above like Marchetta and McKinley, I’d say definitely Holly Black and Rachel Caine. I also love Katherine Kerr and Anne Rice.

My Quick Q's!

Last Book
OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine (awesome!)

Last TV Show
Scandal season 3

Last Song Bought
“Mexico” by Gill Landry after hearing it in a bar in New Orleans.

Last Film Watched
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Thank you so much Tessa for being here today! Click on the book links above guys to see more about the books!  I hope you guys enjoyed the interview!!

Tessa can be found on Twitter Tumblr or her website

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  1. I've got an e-galley of the 2nd book, loved the first one!

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by! It looks really good I am a sucker for Norse Gods, I hope to review book 2 soon!


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