Author Name: Bjørn Larssen
Genre: historical fiction, fantasy
Books: Storytellers (historical fiction set in Iceland), Children (a dark Norse myth retelling), Why Odin Drinks (humorous Norse myth retelling)
Bio: Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. He has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). Winner of Queer Indie Lit award, Stabby nominee, Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Award finalist.
What got you started as a writer? In 2015 I tried to lift a massive Ikea kitchen unit and ended in a special profiled chair, only left to eat, sleep, and see doctors. I’ve always told people I’d totally write a book if I had time. Well, now I had all the time, a life I needed to escape, and a story demanding to be told…
What is your writing routine? I don’t really have one. There are days when I write for hours, followed by days when I just keep existing until I can go to bed and hope for a better tomorrow.
What route did you take to get your books published? During work on Storytellers, my debut, I was researching various forms of publishing. It turned out that traditional publishing had nothing to offer me except validation—after years of rejections from agents and editors, of course. I never received a single rejection, because I never sent a single query. I chose self-publishing and I have no regrets.
What things do you do to promote your books? I post silly stuff on Twitter and Facebook, I have a mailing list, a ko-fi page, a website in dire need of updating. I write guest posts or do interviews like this one 🙂 I’ve been just about to join TikTok for at least a year. Not that I’m afraid or anything…
What is your favorite genre to read and why? In 2019-2020 I went through lots of grimdark, then suddenly reality started doing whatever it is that it’s doing. I switched to romcoms and humour, and stayed there.
Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? Dialogue—once I find the character’s voice. Readers tell me my descriptions are great—the word “cinematic” gets used a lot. They have no idea what I see, hear, taste, smell, and fail to describe well enough.
Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Did this change the plot of your book? When I try to force a character to do something for the sake of the plot, they often cross their arms on their chest and announce “Nope, I wouldn’t do that.” Unfortunately they don’t tell me what they would do instead. It’s up to me to tweak the plot and hope they like the new one.
What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? Moving from Poland to the Netherlands. It was the best, the scariest, and the BIGGEST decision I have ever made. The only thing I ever regretted was not doing it earlier.
What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh are two books that literally saved my life. And… my therapist. After two years of c-PTSD therapy I’m such a different person that I need to get re-acquainted with myself. So far I seem quite nice.
What would you tell your younger self? Just because you are forced to do adult things, that doesn’t mean you’re an adult. Don’t be so hard on yourself. (Then I’d give him a long, warm hug.) And don’t lift kitchen units.
Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? In the gay community, a “bear” is a big, hairy beast of a man. I have met up with a bear or two on hikes. 😉
You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? Snickers. I don’t like Doritos (pauses for gasps to subside), I don’t know Fudge Pop Tarts, and I don’t like taking risks when I can only pick one.
What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? Oh, ten or so? In a kitchen made for two if they really like each other? Every good party ends up moving to the kitchen, it’s a law.
Closing thoughts: I always blank at open questions… um… Sam Ryder is a human golden retriever. It’s a thought, right?
Thank you so much for having me!
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