Book Nerd Interview
Ingrid's grandmother might actually be a Valkyrie; she's still waiting for her to come clean.
Actually, there really wasn’t. I journaled a lot when I was a kid and wrote some pretty hilarious poetry. And I’ve always done a lot of scientific writing as part of my day job, but the urge to write a novel really took me by surprise. I was probably thirty pages in before I stopped and said ‘what exactly am I doing here?’
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Well, aside from being just plain fun, I think it helps us understand who we are and our core values by showing us what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I also find it gives a sense of empathy and helps people understand a perspective other than their own. And then there’s the whole aspect of passing down history and culture through the generations.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Write every day—even if you don’t feel like it or the words are forced. And one of my crit partners says you can’t really revise until you hate your book. And there’s a definite honeymoon period when you think every line is just perfect. You don’t actually have to hate it, but I think it’s best to give yourself time to appreciate the accomplishment of writing a whole book and then some distance so you can look at the draft critically before revising.
In your new book; Valkyrie Rising, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Valkyrie Rising is about a girl who has an epic summer when she goes to visit her grandmother in Norway. Boys start disappearing, and it’s up to her to figure out why and to rescue them. But along the way, she realizes some complicated truths about herself and her family heritage.
What part of Graham did you enjoy writing the most?
Graham was actually a tricky character for to write. Of course, as an outsider on his relationship with Ellie, I understood why he is the way he is—he actually feels a lot of pressure to look out for her. But when the story begins, Ellie’s perception of Graham is tainted by resentment and her wish to get out from his shadow, so it was hard to show Graham as he really is when doing so through her eyes.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ellie, how would you introduce her?
Ellie starts off pretty shy and unsure of herself, but as the story progresses, she meets some pretty heavy challenges and is forced to rise to the challenge or lose the people she cares about. But even from the beginning, Tucker always out the spark in Ellie, so that makes their friendship special.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Right now, I’m working on a ghost story about a boy who comes back to avenge his own murder. I’m also working on an ecothriller that takes places in the Galapagos.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Lie? Who, me? I never lie to make stories more interesting. And I would never, ever dream of exaggerating just a tiny bit. Ask my family.
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Keep writing. Writing is a skill like any other and the more you practice, the better you get (or at least I hope that’s the direction I’m heading). Also, read. Read books you love and want to emulate. Read books you don’t like and figure out why it didn’t work for you.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband. We’re pretty much always on instant messenger or text while he’s at work, so he usually knows about the bad day in real time.
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
While it’s actually a great job, for me personally, waiting tables was a total disaster. I’m pretty clumsy and prone to bouts of daydreaming and just walking right into people, so it was basically nonstop apologies. I spilled hot coffee on some guy’s lap. Actually, that happened a few times. And I was constantly mixing up orders. I may have sometimes claimed it was my first day when it so wasn’t.
Who was your first boyfriend?
My first real boyfriend was an adorable skater boy (that was my thing in high school) and we met through a friend. I’ve actually not thought about him in ages!
When was the last time you cried?
I don’t cry a lot over real world things -- I tend to be pretty stoic about my actual life. But I’ll totally tear up over books or movies. Just the other day, I was basically sobbing on the elliptical machine at the gym (where I do all my reading these days). Oh, and I totally cried while watching the movie Babe with my daughter last week. “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.” It gets me every time.
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Chocolate. No contest.
Where can readers stalk you?
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.
Ingrid Paulson’s Valkyrie Rising is an amazing Norse Mythological story that follows sixteen year-old Ellie. Living in the shadows of her older brother Grahm, she felt like she could not be her own when every time people see her, they only think of her as Grahm’s baby sister. This fact made her life invisible and her love life to be non-existent. Although Grahm is always telling Ellie what to do, he’s not a bad brother. He’s only doing it to protect his sister. Ellie knows this about her brother and she love him for it that’s why she would do the same for her brother even if it puts her life on the line.
Ellie is definitely a girl that readers will see grow in this book. She comes off as this girl who is trying to discover herself and her purpose in this world. The transformation she goes from a non-existent person to one of the fiercest warriors was absolutely amazing. Ingrid’s writing style was slow and methodical and provides readers with an astonishing story plot. The touch of Norse Mythology was a plus and gave the book so much more. The appearance of gods like Odin and Loki was definitely exciting. Valkyrie Rising delivered a very gripping tale about some of the baddest female warriors ever. Although fierce and tough, they were also sympathetic which gave the story the rightful kind of balance. It will not fail to satisfy any reader and when the end nears, it can be counted as a well written standalone, but most will hope for a series.