Title: The Ragnarok Chronicles
Author: Nicki J. Markus
Length: novel (678 pages)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Suitable: 16 years and above
SynopsisFor Ragnarok will be completed….
Nothing marks Cassandra out—except her visions. She’s only ever seen small, insignificant things. That is until the strange frost arrives.
With her normal life turned upside down, Cassandra is plunged into an extraordinary and terrifying world of Norse gods and rampaging giants, ancient feuds and broken prophecies.
A handsome stranger offers aid. But can Cassandra really trust him? More importantly, can she trust her own judgment when his slightest touch sets her heart and her body aflame?
About the authorNicki J Markus was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist.
Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works.
Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of Asta Idonea and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing.
Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader and in her spare time enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.
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Please welcome The Ragnarök Chronicles author Nicki J. Markus to Diane's Book Blog.
What is your favourite part of the story, The Ragnarok Chronicles?
Oh gosh, there are so many scenes I love, it’s hard to pick just one. For lighter, comedic moments, I love the bathroom scene early in Book Two. That really brought a smile to my face as I wrote, and it still makes me laugh when I reread it now. But for drama, I think my favourite moment comes towards the middle of Book Three. It’s a scene between Loki and Surtr. I don’t want to give too much away and spoil the story for readers, but I jokingly refer to it as my Coriolanus scene as it has many parallels with a scene between Martius and Aufidius in the Shakespeare play.
Where did the idea for The Ragnarok Chronicles come from?
I decided to write The Ragnarök Chronicles when I was rereading the Norse myths. I’d previously studied the myths—And loved them!—when I was writing my BA (hons) dissertation on Tolkien at university, and I wanted to revisit the stories after finally getting around to seeing the Marvel MCU films. (Yes, I confess, I’m a rampant fangirl at times!)
I’d previously had this idea of a young woman who sees an approaching frost in a vision, but it hadn’t fit within any of my works-in-progress at the time, so I’d scribbled it down and set it aside. It was as I was reading about frost giants, the idea suddenly came back to me and began to develop into a plot.
What began as a simple story idea quickly became a labour of love, and this book has more personal meaning to me than anything else I’ve written so far, not least because I had something of a religious epiphany whilst writing it and became Lokean. It may amuse you all to know that when given the choice of picking between five and ten questions for this interview, I chose to answer nine, since nine is a special number in Norse mythology! ;)
I wanted to write Loki as I see him, with a strong basis in the original myths. He’s not perfect—he’s something of an anti-hero—but what I’ve always loved about the Norse gods is how human and recognisable they are. They are none of them perfect, they all have flaws. And that makes them wonderful characters to write.
I wanted to create a story around the Norse gods that could be read and enjoyed by someone with no knowledge of the original myths, but which would also hold many references and special moments for those who do know the stories. I hope I have succeeded!
If you were stranded on a desert island which of your characters do you want by your side?
Loki, of course, because I’m madly in love with him! :)
lust love aside, he would be a useful guy to
have around. He could light the campfire, hunt for game.... He’s resourceful
and cunning, so if I stuck with him, I’m sure I’d survive.
Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I loved books from a very young age. When we were children, my mother would ask me and my sister what we wanted to do with her for the afternoon. Invariably, my sister would want to play with dolls and I would ask to read a book. So, you can see books and reading have been a lifelong habit, and even back then I dreamed of writing a book myself one day.
It was an ambition that stayed with me for many years, but I never did anything about it. It was only after my move to Australia that I decided enough was enough: if I wanted it, I should do it. I have a wild imagination, populated with so many characters and tales, and I wanted to write so I could share them with others.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Wow, it’s always so hard when I’m asked to pick just one as there are so many authors I love! If you twist my arm, I guess I would say Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. She writes historical paranormal fiction and her main series revolves around the vampire, Saint-Germain. If you don’t know these books and enjoy vampire tales, you should definitely check them out.
What I love about Yarbro’s writing is both her elegant prose style and the meticulous research she puts into her novels. I get excited for every new release and she has never left me disappointed.
What is your typical day like?
My husband works shifts, different times every day, and so my own routine tends to slot in around what times he’s getting up and coming and going. That said, I usually try to start the day with some exercise. After that I’ll go online for about an hour to check social media and emails and deal with anything I need to do on there. Then if I have any editing jobs in (I’m a freelance editor and proofreader), I will work on those for a few hours next. When that’s done, I will turn to my own writing for a bit, and if possible I’ll fit in either some music practice, language practice, or do some drawing. In the evenings I do another quick check of emails etc., answer letters from my pen pals, and catch up with any TV shows or films, and then I finish the day with a little reading time before bed.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
If I get a block in my writing, my general response is to step away for a while. If I have a second project on the go, I will likely go to that one for a bit until I feel inspired for the other piece again. If I don’t have any other manuscripts in progress, I will scribble poems or vignettes, just to get the creative juices flowing. Reading can also help, or watching a film or two in the genre in which I’m writing.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have a couple of projects on the go at present. I just submitted a quasi-historical M/M short for an anthology submission call, and I am working on the second draft of another M/M short (a contemporary tale) for a different anthology call.
Meanwhile, in my mainstream writing, I have commenced a new novel. This one is a paranormal/gothic piece set in the Regency period. I hope to complete a first draft by July/August 2015.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished a fascinating biography on Thomas Cromwell, and now I am reading an M/M fantasy novel by Andrew Q. Gordon (one of my fellow Wayward Ink Publishing authors) and, in French, I am reading Manon des Sources.
Prizes: 3 x eCopy of The Ragnarok Chronicles and Swag signed by Nicki J. Markus