ST Bende -- ELSKER
Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
Hei hei! I’m ST Bende and I love IndyCar racing, downhill skiing, and baking. I write books about Norse Mythology and I love all things Scandinavian… except for fish.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
I’d pack my gear and head to Scandinavia! The Elsker Saga is about the Norse gods, so spending time skiing in Norway would totally help me get in touch with my characters. I’d eat gingerbread in Sweden, waffles in Norway, and have nothing whatsoever to do with lutefisk (this gelatinous fish thing my Norwegian teacher swears is delicious). I don’t do lutefisk.
What is one silly fact about you?
Like my heroine Kristia, I, too, still have a flip phone. #IAmATechnophobe
What got you started on your writing journey?
Elsker was born on a road trip. I pulled into one of those little coffee huts on the side of the road in Oregon, and a really sweet girl took my order. I noticed the sign that said “Welcome to Nehalem, Population 250,” and I imagined what that girl’s life must be like. Then I started thinking about what it would be like if something totally huge dropped in on her small-town … something like a Norse god. The whole thing was only supposed to be a little story I wrote in my journal, but it just took off and before I knew it I’d finished Elsker and Endre, books 1 and 2 in The Elsker Saga. I wish I could find the girl from the coffee hut and thank her.
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2013?
I’m in content edits for Endre, the sequel to Elsker. Endre will release in September 2013. And I’m toying with another fun Norse story…
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Connecting with the amazingly supportive writing community. I had no idea this world existed a few years ago, and now I have so many writer-friends I can turn to with any question, frustration, piece of great news or disappointment. We cheer each other on through queries and we beta read each other’s works in progress. It’s an amazing network, and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it.
I had another fun moment at a high school a few weeks ago. I got to visit to talk about being a writer, and I stopped by afterwards with thank you cookies (because like Kristia, my grandma taught me right). One of the students came up to tell me how excited she was about downloading my book -- she’d started reading it and loved it so far. It was the first time I’d connected with a reader in real life, and it was kind of awesome!
Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
Q: Is Ull based on a real person? And if so, where can I meet him?
A: Kind of, and here’s a picture of him signing Elsker! I nearly fainted that day.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I make fun of myself a lot in my stories. If Kristia’s doing something silly (i.e. carrying a flip phone when everyone else in the whole entire universe has a smart phone), I’ve probably done it my own self.
Please share about your book
Elsker follows 20-year-old Kristia Tostenson as she travels from one-stoplight Nehalem, Oregon, to Cardiff University in Wales. She falls in love with Ull Myhr, only to find out her new boyfriend is the Norse God of Winter -- an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth. Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms. Her orderly life just got very messy.
What are your hero and heroine of the story like?
Kristia is smart, compassionate, well mannered, and traditional. Rudeness is her absolute pet peeve, and she’s really driven. She doesn’t intimidate easily, which is a good thing since she ends up falling in love with an immortal assassin who also happens to be the Norse God of Winter.
Ull is equally traditional, and extremely controlling -- but not in a bad way. As an Asgardian Assassin, he’s seen a lot of loss in his life, and he wants to make sure nothing bad happens to anyone else he loves. He’s convinced he has a very dark future, and he wants to do everything in his power to make sure that Kristia is taken care of… even if it means losing his immortality in the process.
Thank you so much for letting me visit today Jennifer! Now I have a question for your readers -- what are some of your favorite clean romance reads? And what can a hero do for his heroine to make you absolutely swoon?