Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Cinda Williams Chima Interview - Children of Ragnarok

Photo Content from Cinda Williams Chima

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima nearly failed first grade because she was always daydreaming. By junior high, she got in trouble for writing novels in class. Yet the magic of books took her from first grade failure to first generation college graduate to college professor to bestselling author.

Her Heir Chronicles young adult contemporary fantasy series includes The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir, The Enchanter Heir and The Sorcerer Heir all from Hyperion.

Chima’s young adult high fantasy Seven Realms series (Hyperion) include The Demon King (2009), The Exiled Queen (2010) The Gray Wolf Throne (2011) and The Crimson Crown 2012.) The Shattered Realms (HarperTeen,) follows a new generation in the world of the Seven Realms, and includes Flamecaster, Shadowcaster, Stormcaster, and Deathcaster.

Her newest series, Sunstone Saga, launches in November 2022 with Children of Ragnarok. Set in the Midlands after Ragnarok, it marries Norse mythology and witchcraft with swordplay, axeplay, longships, romance and cut-throat politics.

Chima’s books have received starred reviews in Kirkus and VOYA, among others. They have been named Booksense and Indie Next picks, an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, to the Kirkus Best YA lists, and the VOYA Editors’ Choice, Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Perfect Tens lists. They appear on numerous state reading lists and have won the South Carolina and Ohio Teen Book Awards. Translation rights have been sold in numerous countries overseas.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
Typing/keyboarding. I know this sounds mundane, but handwriting was slow and painful for me, with an ugly result. Who gets D’s in handwriting? Me. When I learned to type I could finally keep up with my racing mind. Typing got me my first job at sixteen, taking advertising copy for a newspaper. It has made every job I’ve had easier. Moving on to computers was a dream come true.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
In the early years in elementary school, I was always getting in trouble for daydreaming. I was never on task, on time, with the program or whatever. Then in third grade I wrote a poem and showed it to my teacher. She made a big fuss about it, framed it, and posted it at the science fair. Okay, I thought. Maybe this is what I’m good at. I’ve been writing ever since.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Politics and the pandemic. Also the editor in my head who keeps criticizing everything I put on the page. You have to give yourself permission to write badly in order to gain any traction.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes
I’m going to cheat and say all of them. Pleasure reading in particular changed my life. I struggled early in school, but when I became a fluent reader, it made everything easier. I still messed up, but it gave me the edge I needed to succeed anyway. That is why I am a fierce proponent of self-selected reading.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I come from a family of Appalachian story tellers on my mother’s side. I think it was the stories that got me interested in genealogy. There was the great-grandfather who got drunk, got kicked by a horse, and died. The uncle that got drunk and set himself on fire and died. Uncle Vinnie Nash, whose wife hid his shoes to keep him from going out dancing in honky-tonks. They were musicians, moonshiners, and barn dancers. Stories help us understand who we are and how we fit in.

Can you tell us when you started CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK, how that came about?
When I was in school, I remember learning about Greek and Roman mythology, but Norse mythology was completely overlooked. Part of the reason might be that none of the details of Norse mythology were written down by actual practitioners. There was no central authority in the Norse religion to hand down canon. Elements of the oral history were written down by Christians centuries later. There’s a lot we don’t know.

I had done considerable genealogical research into my family, and as far as I could tell, nearly all of my ancestors were from the British Isles, with a couple of Germans and French Huguenots thrown in. But when I had my DNA tested, there was evidence of Scandinavian heritage, specifically Denmark and Sweden. That piqued my interest, and I began to research the Viking Age and Norse mythology.

Your Favorite Scenes from CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK

A young man sat alone, an empty bowl beside him, a cup within the circle of his arms. Something about him made her take a second look.

He was unusually tall, broad-shouldered, and well-made. His fair hair was dressed in the coaster style, the top pulled back in a leather thong, the rest hanging free. He wore a heavy gold ring on his right arm. A sword leaned against the wall in easy reach, and an axe lay on the table, close to his right hand. Reginn could see the kiss of the sun on his bronzed skin and hear the rush of the sea in his veins.

The tables and benches closest to him were empty, as if no one dared to get too close. Still, he drew considerable attention and whispers from the other patrons.

Reginn crossed to the mealfire, where the young cook was doling out pork stew that smelled better than anything that came from Gunnar’s hearth. “Who’s the boy yonder?” she said.

The cook didn’t have to look to know who Reginn meant. “That’s Eiric Halvorsen,” she said, with a delicious sort of shiver. “He comes from a family of coasters. His family owns the finest farm on Muckleholm.” She leaned closer, speaking in a whisper. “He murdered his own modir and stepfadir just after Solstice. He’ll go before the Thing in Selvagr before long. By all rights, he’ll be outlawed. Others say they won’t dare.”

“Now,” the cook said, leaning in. “Here’s what’s interesting. Word is that his fadir, Leif Halvorsen, descends from Thor, Odin’s son, a great warrior. Others say not Thor, but Baldr, the handsomest of all the gods.”

“Really?” Reginn said, wide-eyed, even though a person couldn’t throw a rock in the Archipelago without hitting somebody who claimed to be a descendant of the gods. Not only was she good at telling stories, she was good at listening to them, too.

But there was more. “They say he’s got a girl in every port in the Archipelago.”

“Do they?” Reginn murmured. “Does he? Good for him.”

“They say he’s dangerous, because he’s so charming,” the cook murmured, her cheeks pink. “He’ll carry you away on his ship, and, when he’s done with you, put a collar around your neck and sell you in the markets.”

Reginn had the sense that the cook might risk it if the coaster offered the least encouragement.

At that moment, Eiric Halvorsen looked up and caught them whispering and staring at him. He raised his cup, as if in a toast, and drank deeply. Then extended his empty cup. The cook rushed to refill it, leaving Reginn to help herself.

“I’m not counting on the gods,” Liv said. “I’m talking about seidr--sorcery.”

“Bjorn always said that when we are born, the Norns have already woven our fate into the fabric of the universe. If there isn’t anything you can do to change it, then why try?”

“The web is not off the loom yet,” Liv insisted. “What if you could unravel bits of it and reweave it? What if you could add a bit of lace or a new color? What if you could take something drab and make it beautiful? What if you could see the future and avoid trouble that is coming your way?”

“If you can do magic, then conjure up a sack of gold we can use to pay off the Knudsens,” Eiric shouted, his rage and helplessness driving him. He paused, calmed himself with an effort, then added, softly, “All I’m saying is that there are no miracles anymore. The gods are not walking among us, pitching in now and then. We are not going to be saved by magic or anything else.”

“Give up on magic if you want,” Liv said, in a voice like spun steel. “If men give up sorcery, they still rule the world. They sit on the councils, they make the laws, they sail away and make their fortunes or die. Their lives go on much the same.” She snatched up her distaff, the one she used to spin flax, and shook it in his face. “That is why magic is so often the province of women. It is the power we wield in the world, our ability to shape and change and control it. We would be foolish to give it up.”

What is the first job you have had?
I worked for a newspaper throughout high school and college, typing and editing advertising copy. I didn’t know it then, but it was great training for a writer.

Best date you've ever had?
There’s something about the Fourth of July. I met my husband through a member of a band I was in. We were both on the rebound. He invited me to go watch fireworks on Independence Day on the grounds of a local estate. We had just settled in on the lawn when the skies opened up. It is now known as the Great Fourth of July storm in those parts. The holiday fireworks were cancelled, but we made our own.

Years later, my in-laws gifted us with a hot air balloon ride on the Fourth of July. It was a family business, and it turned out it was our pilot’s first solo flight. The winds were calm at dawn, but soon developed a strong breeze out of the south. The further north we went, the more densely populated it was, and the fewer places to land. When our pilot realized that we might end up in Lake Erie, he put us down in the median in the middle of the interstate, with the balloon lying over two lanes of traffic. By the time he got the balloon packed up, we were surrounded by emergency vehicles. We were supposed to share a champagne toast, but when the chase car caught up to us, the pilot’s parents thrust a bottle of champagne at us and hustled him away.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
When I was in college, I went to Europe with my girlfriend. I’d been saving up money to get braces, but when she made the offer, I jumped on it. It was the best decision I ever made. People in my family didn’t go overseas unless they were in uniform. We spent two weeks traveling around England on an English literature tour—went to the Lake District, Hardy country, Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford, saw Shakespeare at the Old Vic in London. It opened a whole new world for me. (I did eventually get braces.)

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
My mother had a heart attack when I was in third grade and nearly died. She was hospitalized for seven weeks. Even after she came home, I was always watching on the sly to make sure she was still breathing. It made the possibility of loss real to me at a young age. My life would have been totally changed had she died then. (Guess that’s not a fun answer.)

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Love and heartbreak. Definitely.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Where am I? (I was in a hotel.)

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I have a couple of recurring dreams. One is some variation of, it’s the end of the semester, and time for the final, and for some reason I haven’t done any of the reading or been to class all term. Or I can’t find the building. The other is one where my teeth are crumbling in my mouth and I keep spitting out pieces.

Ever since Ragnarok—the great war between the gods and the forces of chaos--the human realm of the Midlands has become a dangerous place, bereft of magic, where most lead lives of desperation.
Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones. Between fishing, going vikingr, and working his modir’s farm, the family has remained prosperous. But Eiric stands to lose everything when he’s convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is his half-systir, Liv, whose interest in seidr, or magic, has made her a figure of suspicion. Then a powerful jarl steps in: he will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reggin Eiklund has spent her life traveling from town to town, performing at alehouses all for the benefit of her master, Asger, the fire demon she is desperate to escape. Then after one performance that amazes even Reggin herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make her an irresistible offer: return with them to the temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.
Eiric, Liv, and Reggin’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, the site of the Temple at the Grove, a paradise fueled by magic. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface, and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.

Sweeping adventure, breathtaking twists of fate, and immersive worlds based in Norse mythology are woven into this first volume of the Runestone Saga, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Realms and Shattered Realms series.
You can purchase Children of Ragnarok at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima.


  1. I had a dream once that one of my younger brothers fell into a sewer and we couldn't get him out. It was awful.

  2. That they re-hired my old boss