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Friday, July 29, 2011

Revisiting Heracles and The Great Tradition of Pantsless Heroes

I wasn't originally intending to promote more naked sculpture this week. I was actually planning an interesting insight into the similarities between Jesus and Heracles instead. But (or should I say butt?) I found a picture on wiki commons of a sculpture which really, really deserved its own post. And not just because of the pantslessness. This image deserves its own post because it is just flat-out incredibly alive for a work of stone and photography. Because when I look at it, there's a catch in my throat at the beauty-- the way the light plays over the marble, the subtlety of carving which creates muscle and soft skin from rock. Heracles gets a lot of sculptures, but this image is flesh and soul, life and breath.

Hercules by Baccio Bandinelli

Basically, friends and followers, this is my homage to both the sculptor (Baccio Bandinelli) and the photographer who took this picture (Cyberuly), because I am in awe of what they have created together. You can find an image of the full sculpture here,  but it isn't NEARLY as impressive as this image, and frankly I find it a little bit disappointing. There is also a wiki page about the sculpture itself.

Keeping to the theme of bare backsides, the following is similarly beautiful image (from this site) of one of the Heracles/Hercules sculptures from the last blogpost which I absolutely love because he looks SO relaxed, and so supremely confident, while at the same time appearing as though he could spring into action at any moment. And behind his back? Those are the golden apples he obtained as one of his labors.

Hercules Farnese, photo taken by René Seindal
It's a Roman copy made ~3rd century AD of a Greek original which dates back to ~4th century BC, or so Wikipedia tells me (because again, I am no art historian). But obviously, when I say the tradition of Pantsless Heroes reaches back, this is one of the proofs in the pudding, so to speak.

But I mean, just look at it. The proportions, the balance, the natural feeling of the pose. The Greeks and Romans were masters of this art. And this Herc is just as beautiful from the front as he is from the back. Somehow, they have managed to carve grace into marble, and I am and always will be in complete awe of their skill.

It isn't just about the naked men (though I grant you, they are mighty fine). It's about breathing life into stone, and the fact that it is still standing, giving us this glimpse of how the Greeks and the Romans pictured their heroes. Even how they imagined the divine.

It's a little window into the past, and I can't stop myself from looking through it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

For Tina: Pantsless Thor

Thor (1829) by H. E. FreundUnfortunately, there are not a lot of truly awesome pantsless Thor images floating around. Most of them are semi-strange or creepy, if you ask me, not to mention that his pantslessness does make it a little bit awkward for the whole belt of strength required to make the best use of Mjolnir. But! For Tina, I have found a couple striking images to share.

Now, I'm not an art historian, but most of the pantslessness seems to have come about in the late interpretations of Thor-- for example, this statue of Thor leaning on his hammer, which wikicommons tells me is from 1829 -- and it seems to me that this is an effort to makeover these Norse gods in the image of the Roman and Greek sculpture from the ancient world. I'm not entirely sure they accomplish it successfully, though. This one in particular makes me kind of feel like Thor has weird possessed and/or dead eyes (although I bet it looks mighty fine from the back).

Thor Destroys the Giant ThrymSpeaking of the belt of strength and no-pants combination (maybe taking up Theseus' fashion forward sword-belt only style?) there's this illustration of Thor, not only pantsless, but also beating up on giants while he's at it (you all remember Thrym from last week, I'm sure!). This one is from 1906, I guess. I'm trying to decide if he's throwing off his wedding gown, or if that is some kind of cloak that is attached nowhere to his body. Also, why did this artist feel compelled to give Thor his belt, but not his gloves?

Johann Heinrich Füssli 011I expect the world will never know the answer to that question.  I'm sure most of you will not lose any sleep over it, either. (Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about the gloves and the belt. I mean, I know it's traditional from the mythology, but it kind of takes away from the awesomeness of his strength if he needs a belt to double it and gloves for extra grip in order to wield Mjolnir. That is probably a topic for another post.)

This artist, thankfully, chose not to bother with the belt. Probably because he realized it made Thor look kind of silly in his beautiful oil painting. Whatever the reason, I am grateful to Mr. Fussli for not including it. Jormungand seems a little bit on the petite side though-- I mean, he IS supposed to be so large that he circles the entirety of midgard. This guy seems like he could maybe circle that boat that Thor is trying to fish out of, but that's about it.


Thor and Jörmungandr by FrølichFinally, let me present my favorite pantsless Thor image so far -- Thor vs Jormungand at Ragnarok! He's a little bit on the small size for Jormungand too, but I like the clean and simple lines of the illustration. Thor looks a little bit Zeusish, but again, I think that's a Classical Influence rearing it's head.

I don't know. I guess my problem with most of these images of Thor is this: Thor is the everyman's god, the common man's god. None of these images really bring that out. It is Thor the unstoppable force instead of Thor the guy you can go have a cup of mead with on Saturday night. Except for maybe the soulless crazy eyes Thor statue. He looks like he wouldn't mind going out for a drink... provided you let him borrow your pants first.

EDIT: I lied. THIS is my new favorite Pantsless Thor picture!
Thor's Journey to Geirrodsgard

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heracles Is Not My Favorite

Hercules Farnese 3637104088 9c95d7fe3c bI don't know what it is about him-- maybe because he's so well-known, but I just don't feel drawn to Heracles, generally. If I were to write a sequel to Helen of Sparta though, I'd end up having to research him. In my Pirithous book, I toyed with the idea of bringing demigods into the modern world. A missing father is really a god called back to Olympus, etc. I didn't actually go with that, because it was a little bit too Percy Jackson, and in the context of the romance the story was supposed to be, it didn't really serve a purpose, but it led me to wikipedia for a refresh of some Heracles basics. (Because obviously Heracles is a god, now, serving as a guardian of Olympus, and nobody ever talks about demigod children of Heracles!)

Specifically, I wanted to know what he looked like -- not the symbols which identified him, like the lion skin or the club or the apples in his hands, but hair and eye color, proportions, his physical self. Of course wikipedia was pretty much useless in this regard, BUT, I did find a couple of pictures of some marble statuary. Roman copies of Greek originals. Which uh, also do not tell me anything about his hair or eye color at this time, but I thought I'd share them all the same.

Herakles and Telephos Louvre MR219What I found perhaps even more interesting on the wikipedia page was the list of his consorts and children. Don't get me wrong, I was well aware of the fact that Heracles got around. I mean, who doesn't know that Heracles had multiple wives? I just hadn't realized quite how many other women he was involved with, or how many children he had. And seeing it as a list -- well. Let's just say it sunk in a little bit deeper, and I'm starting to wonder how Heracles had TIME to fight monsters with all the other um, activities, he was engaged in (that Thirteenth Labor must have been real rough on him--I think it deserves an Affairs of the Gods recounting at some future date). But man, it would suck to have been a child of Heracles. I mean, sure, you got the prestige of being the son of (arguably) one of the most famous men in all of history, and the touch of demigod blood probably made your life easier, but when you were competing with that many half-siblings for his time? In most cases, behind his wife's back? Clearly Heracles took after his father, Zeus, and I'm not sure I blame his wife for the poison shirt anymore.

All that said, that statue of Heracles holding an infant in one arm and that club in the other, with that slight smile on his face? I feel like it gives us a great glimpse into the Greek interpretation of Heracles' character. He was a protector, a hero, a great man, but for all that, he was not untouchable or unreachable to the people around him. He was also the kind of man who didn't shy from bouncing a baby on his knee when he wasn't busy saving the world from monsters. And maybe, just maybe, the babies were the reason he went to all that trouble to begin with.

I'm not going to lie, that statue makes me like Heracles a little bit more than I did when I started.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thor in Drag (er. and some Loki misc.)

While doing some research on Loki's parentage (which is pretty fascinating by the way, because he is known as Laufey's son-- that is the son of his mother-- and not as the son of Fárbauti the giant who was his father, which is very odd for ye olden days. I mean, today people in Iceland use matronymics because women are liberated and claiming descent from your mother is just a personal choice, but back in the day that was not the case at all. According to John Lindow in the book NORSE MYTHOLOGY: A GUIDE TO GODS, HEROES, RITUALS, AND BELIEFS [oxford university press US, 2001], "One had a given name and a patronymic, except in those rare cases when the father was unknown or unsavory, in which case one had a matronymic." He goes on to suggest that because Loki's father was a giant, that might have fallen under the category of unsavory and so he went by his mother's name instead. But who the heck WAS his mother? There's not really a lot of evidence for her in the texts, but Lindow puts forth the theory that she was a goddess, and that's part of why Loki was able to be included among the Aesir!) I came across this awesome piece of artwork depicting Thor as he was dressed for his false-wedding.
Ah, what a lovely maid it is! by Elmer Boyd Smith

I've mentioned the story before, but I'm not sure I've ever really told it myself. The most important points are these: Thor woke up one morning to find Mjolnir conspicuously absent and sent Loki in search of it. How the heck someone else snatched Mjolnir out from under Thor's nose is not explained, BUT, Loki encounters a giant named Thrym (for whom the poem is named Þrymskviða), who claims to have stolen it and hidden it where Thor will never get it back UNLESS the gods give him Freyja as his wife. As you can imagine, Freyja is not interested in this arrangement, and Freyja being who she is, simply refuses, so the gods decide (Heimdal comes up with the plan, and Loki talks a VERY reluctant Thor into it) to dress Thor up as Freyja and send him to Thrym to be wed.

Thrym is clearly not the brightest crayon in the box, since he's taken in by this ruse. It's kind of a "Grandma, my what big ears you have!" moment, with Loki whispering "the better to hear you with, my dear!" in Thrym's ear, disguised as Freyja/Thor's maid. And seriously, Thor really does not do a whole lot to keep his disguise, as you can see by this singular quotation:
24. [...]
Thor alone ate an ox, | and eight salmon,
All the dainties as well | that were set for the women;
And drank Sif's mate | three tuns of mead.


25. Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader:
"Who ever saw bride | more keenly bite?
I ne'er saw bride | with a broader bite,
Nor a maiden who drank | more mead than this!"


26. Hard by there sat | the serving-maid wise,
So well she answered | the giant's words:
"From food has Freyja | eight nights fasted,
So hot was her longing | for Jotunheim."
For real guys. Thrym bought this. After watching his bride-to-be eat an entire ox. In fact, he bought it so hard, he brought out Mjolnir and set it in Thor/Freyja's lap.

At which point, Thor went about slaughtering the giants, of course. All while still dressed as a bride. And what a pretty bride he makes!

Friday, July 15, 2011

And the WINNER is...

With the help of Random.org on which website I rolled some virtual dice, the winner of the autographed copies of Kevin Hearne's HOUNDED and HEXED is:

Scifipoinsettia!

Congratulations to you! Your fancy signed books will arrive by media mail in the not too distant future, once I get your address! I hope you enjoy them!

Thanks to everyone who entered and tweeted and retweeted this giveaway! And thanks for reading the interview and following the blog! I don't usually do a lot of giveaways, but there MAY be another coming later sometime this year possibly. You will just have to stick around and find out, I guess!

Also, if you haven't seen it, JOHN CARTER OF MARS TRAILER GUYS!!!


All of which has not very much to do with mythology or history, but is still awesome. So There!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

GIVEAWAY! Hounded and Hexed by Kevin Hearne!

Friends and followers, if you found my interview with Kevin Hearne interesting*, I have the giveaway for you!

Leave a comment on this post before July 12 with your email address and become a follower of my blog, and you will be entered to win a copy of HOUNDED and HEXED-- both autographed by the man himself! You Must be a Follower of The Blog to be Eligible To Win, but otherwise that's it!** I will pick a name (out of those who left comments) from a hat (figuratively! Most likely this will involve me asking el husband to pick a number) and email the winner by July 15th, then put the books in the mail once I get the appropriate address. USA only, I'm afraid, because I frequently suffer from attacks of cheap.

Do feel free to follow Kevin Hearne on Twitter, also, because he is a cool kind of dude. No bonus entries though, because in addition to attacks of cheap, I am allergic to spreadsheets. Make of that what you will!

Not-so-fine print below.

Comment away!


*if you have not read said interview, what the heck are you waiting for? Go feast your eyes on mythology related questions and answers.

**There is always a slight chance that the world will blow up in my face and I will not be able to obtain autographs, if this is the case, I apologize, but you will still get two fun books to read. Autographs ACHIEVED! Also, I reserve the right to alter the deal in Darth Vader fashion, but you may pray I do not alter it any further.

Also, in Unrelated News: I must take a quick blog hiatus (wedding 2 of 3 this summer)-- so there won't be a new post on Friday, July 8th. I also cannot promise anything for Tuesday, July 12, but I will for sure be posting again by the 15th, even if it is just to announce a winner. (See how conveniently I timed this contest without even meaning to?)

This concludes my excessive use of parentheticals! Thank you for your time and cooperation!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Author Interview: Kevin Hearne and the Mythology of the Iron Druid Chronicles

Kevin Hearne is the author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, a new Urban Fantasy series (Hounded and Hexed are out already, and Hammered will be out on Tuesday, with another three in the works!). Of COURSE I had to read his books, seeing as the main character Atticus is constantly finding himself in fights with living breathing gods and goddesses in modern day Arizona. In HOUNDED, he faced the Celtic Tuatha Dé Danann and in HAMMERED, it's looking extremely likely--thanks to a tousle with some witches in HEXED--that he'll be toe to toe with the Norse gods, including Thor. How can you RESIST? Besides which, Atticus (accompanied by his Irish Wolfhound, Oberon) is pretty hilarious, and written with a fantastic voice.

Kevin was kind enough to chat with me about what he's doing with gods and goddesses and druids in his books and here are the results of that interview! Mostly, I stuck to topics concerning the mythology he's creating, updating, and revisiting, and for those of you who love mythology in your fiction, definitely get reading!

Be sure to come back to the blog on Tuesday for information on a giveaway-- Hounded and Hexed, and if all goes according to plan, Autographed! Now, to the interview (and if you happen to be hopping over here from GeekaChicas, you can go ahead and skip down to the first bolded question!). My questions are in purple, and Kevin's answers are in black.


Amalia: Since Mythology is kind of the thing around these parts, let's start with that! Demons, werewolves, vampires, the Virgin Mary, Norse gods and Irish gods, witches, and references to other pantheons, all seeming to inhabit the same world. Can you tell us a little bit about the mythology behind The Iron Druid Chronicles and the myth-multiverse you've built?

Kevin Hearne: It started out with just the Celts, but once I realized that I was treating myth like history—or at least closely related to history—the question that I simply had to answer was, why treat only the Celts this way? What if everything were true, to some extent, and the gods are still with us, albeit hidden? So that's what I'm exploring here. And I'm not limiting myself to "dead" gods, either; current religions are treated in the same way—those gods are all real and empowered by our faith in them.

A: Can you give us a general rundown of the major Irish deities in your books? Just a quick who are they and what do they do? And can you suggest any good primary or secondary sources to learn more about them (mostly this is for me, I'm not going to pretend otherwise. Nothing like going back to the source material!)?

KH: The deity that everyone seems to know is The Morrigan, and she appears in various tales in one or more of her three forms. One is that of a crone, one is that of a young seductress, one is the infamous battle crow. I've only presented her in the seductress and crow forms so far. She's the Chooser of the Slain, a role very similar to that of the Valkyries in Norse tradition, but she's handy in battle herself and something of a wild one in bed. Aside from her, I'm using Brighid, goddess of Poetry, the Forge, and Fire; Bres, a god of agriculture who's married to Brighid; Aenghus Og, god of love; and Flidais, goddess of the hunt. I really like her because she's so different from her Greek counterparts; she has an insatiable libido and isn't afraid to show it. Some of the other Irish gods will show up in later books, like Manannan Mac Lir, Fand, Ogma, and Goibhniu.

In terms of source material, you want the Dictionary of Celtic Myth by James MacKillop as a starting point. Though he tends to skimp a bit on the Scottish stuff, he's great with the Irish. You'll probably have to pick this up used somewhere, but it's not that hard to find. Also get yourself familiar with The Annals of the Four Masters and the Ulster and Fenian Cycles of Irish legend. Great stories in there.

A: Aenghus Og as the god of love-- Is your interpretation of him as more about the vengeance and the darker emotions that come with love direct from the myths, or is this an interpretation you've read into them (like with Ratatosk)?  

KH: It's based at least partially on his own actions. Those allusions in HOUNDED about Aenghus tricking his own father out of his home, etc. are straight from the old Irish stories. To be fair, he does some noble things in the old stories too, but Atticus kind of ignores those and focuses on the possessive, vindictive side of love that Aenghus exhibits to him.

A: What drew you to the Irish mythology, both in general and as the primary mythology in this series? Related: Why a Druid, and what kind of research did all this require?

KH: Part of it was interest in my own Irish background, and part of it was an appraisal of the marketplace. I'd been reading a lot of urban fantasy, and I noticed that the Irish stuff was wicked cool, but the extant fiction always featured either the Morrigan or the Wild Hunt, and that puzzled me. The rest of the figures are so interesting—why not have fun with them too? I realized after a while that it might come down to nothing more than the names. It's easy to say "the Morrigan" or "the Wild Hunt," but many people look at the rest of those Irish names and get intimidated by them. So that's why I put those no-pressure pronunciation guides in the books, to let people know that it's okay to pronounce 'em any way you want, but if you DO want to say the names semi-correctly, here's how. As far as why a Druid specifically, it's also a two-pronged answer: the market niche was there—I think there's only one other Druid series out there and it's completely different from mine; compare that with how many series there are about vampires—and since there is so little concrete information on the Druids, I got to make a lot of shit up. Druids are blank canvases compared to vampires and werewolves. The research required was much of what I already listed above, along with some examination of accounts by Caesar and Tacitus.

A: In HEXED Atticus says that most Celtic artworks are spells. Is this something you made up for the books, or something based on your research? (Because it is super cool!)

KH: I made that shit up. See? This is why I picked Druids!

A: Who is your favorite god? Both from those in your books, and from mythology in general?

KH: I think I already gave away that I love Flidais more than is probably healthy. She fully embraces her wild side but she's also a fierce steward of the forest, if fierce stewards are not an oxymoron. I think nature could use more fierce stewards; it certainly has more fierce exploiters than it needs. Generally speaking, I loooove the various versions of Coyote that are celebrated throughout Native America.

A: In the opening chapter of HEXED, Atticus tells Leif (an Icelandic Vampire) he doesn't want to kill Thor, because even if he takes out Version 1.0, Comic book Thor might descend to smite them. Can you tell us a little bit about this theology? Are there infinite versions of every god running around in Atticus' world? (Also, does comic book Thor live in comic book Asgard? Or do they all live together in the same place? -- it would explain the 540 rooms in Bilskirnir!)

KH: Ah. Well, yes and no, and, um, yeesh. Complicated. OK. Atticus was messing with Leif because he didn't want to do this. Comic book Thor can't do jack because he's not empowered by faith the way the original is/was. But is there a comic book Thor? Undeniably. We all went to see the movie, yes? And now we all have that vision of Thor in our heads. He's out there because we warp and change the universe by living and thinking in it. And 7-11 year old boys have a vision of Thor in their heads, too, that they read in their monthly comics. But they probably don't really believe in him or worship him any more than American moviegoers do. The old Norse, however, really believed in Thor. They wore little hammers around their necks to compete with the Christian cross. They thought Thor smote the frost giants every winter and caused the spring to return and the sun to shine again. The original Thor, therefore, is the most powerful, and the comic book Thor is kind of a wuss. Faith is the motor driving gods. And you see in HEXED that the widow's formidable faith allows the Virgin Mary to visit Tempe and bless some arrows for Atticus. Are there infinite versions of the gods and the planes they live on? There are as many as there are conceptions of them in human minds—all unique, yes? No two people conceive of any god in precisely the same way. But like Schrodinger's cat, at some point, those gods have to stop being multiple things at once and settle on a single state when they want to walk in our world. That's what we see in The Iron Druid Chronicles—one form for each god chosen from a vast number available. You're going to see a specific example of that in HAMMERED, where a modern god chooses to manifest in a form that most people aren't used to.

A: So, kind of a one-god-many-aspects thing, for each of the gods within a pantheon? Well now I'm wondering if that opening in HAMMERED where Atticus talks about Middle Earth is just a big tease too. Or does Middle Earth "really" get to exist because Tolkien meant it as a mythology? 

KH: They all exist if people believe in them. Some are just sketchy and weak compared to others. Tolkien's Middle Earth is richly imagined and adored by millions of people, so it's a much stronger plane than an imagined heaven a single tribe of thirty people believed in ten thousand years ago. These infinite universes are out there—and I'm not the only fella who's played around with the idea. I'm just coming at it from a fantasy perspective instead of a sci-fi one. Try Heinlein's Number of the Beast. That was a trip!

A: According to what I've read on your website, a good portion of HAMMERED takes place in Asgard. Does this mean we'll be getting to know some of the Norse pantheon in addition to Thor (and it seems like maybe Idunn)? 

KH: Well, some of them you won't "get to know" very well, and I don't want to give away too much, but here's who shows up in HAMMERED: Thor, Odin, Vidar, Tyr, the Norns, Ullr, Freyr, Freyja, Idunn, Bragi, the Valkyries, the Frost Giants, and Ratatosk. I keep the Valkyrie numbers fairly low because I had trouble finding a definitive number for them. Even more of the Norse show up in later books.

A: Which of the Norse gods is your favorite and why?

KH: Loki is my fave—I just like tricksters, I guess. But he won't show up in HAMMERED because he's bound by the entrails of his son until the beginning of Ragnarok.

A: Any chance we'll see Olympus one day? Or is Greco-Roman mythology something you mean to steer clear of? 

KH: I'm not afraid of them! :) Bacchus shows up in HAMMERED and the central conflicts of TRAPPED and HUNTED involve the Greco-Romans. They scare the bejesus out of Atticus because they're truly you-can't-end-my-existence immortal, unlike the Tuatha De Danann and the Norse, who are just eternally youthful.

A: We get a glimpse of Ratatosk (the squirrel of the world tree in Norse mythology) in the preview of HAMMERED at the end of HEXED, and I love the reasoning behind your (and Atticus') interpretation of him. It really is all in the texts! What kind of research did you do for HAMMERED (re: Norse myth) and can you suggest any good resources?

KH: Heck, I'm probably just doing what everyone else is doing; I'm reading the Prose and Poetic Eddas online and hoping to Hel that the translation is a decent one. The thing about the Norse body of myth is how much fun you can have with inconsistencies in the cosmology. I just spotted that Ratatosk thing by accident—he never uses Bifrost, yet he can scamper from the top of the tree to the bottom, so how does he do that? Another thing I had trouble with is figuring out whether Hel is in Niflheim or in her own realm? Are there nine worlds or ten? How do we make any of that Yggdrasil business work with our present understanding of how the universe works? I lay down my own interpretation of things in HAMMERED and even drew up a map of Asgard because damn it, somebody had to!

A: Do you have a favorite Mythical Creature?

KH: MANTICORES! Creepiest one I've ever seen in a story is the one in The Books of Magic trade paperback called Bindings. Gave me the heebie-jeebies.

A: Atticus seems to find himself surrounded by femme fatales, from witches to goddesses, and all of them seem to have their own agendas for his future. Is there any chance that Atticus is going to meet up with a love interest who wouldn't be just as happy to see him dead? (The romantic in me had to ask...)

KH: Well, you're going to find out in HAMMERED that Atticus had a pretty amazing relationship centuries ago, and he hasn't really been the same since it ended. However, Atticus does have a romance looming on the horizon, though right now he's fighting it.

A: It seems like none of the goddesses we've seen so far are very um... warm. For the most part, they're pretty distant and cool in regard to humanity in general, fellow gods, and Atticus. Is this a product of their immortality? Or something else?

KH: Yeah, you're touching on something I'm exploring in the series. Wouldn't long life give you a different set of priorities and cause you to look at the short-lived a bit differently? And if you were a product of an extremely different culture—bronze age, iron age, or even antebellum America—wouldn't you seem odd by today's standards? I'm having fun contrasting the gods with Atticus, and then contrasting him in turn with sort of middle-of-the-road characters, like Leif and the werewolf pack.

A: Speaking of products of immortality, Atticus is a pretty grounded guy for having lived 3000 years, especially in contrast to some of the other ageless characters. Is this part of his being a Druid? Or would you say it's been more motivated by survival instincts to blend in and keep his head down?

KH: Yep, Atticus's fugitive status has ironically been what's kept him grounded. To blend in, he has to immerse himself in his surroundings and live in the present. He keeps himself tied to humanity, forms relationships and stays abreast of current events.

A: I know you've discussed your take on Thor widely, between your blog and your other interviews, but being that his character is so close to my heart, I have to ask: How do you reconcile the villain you've built with Thor's extreme loyalty to his friends and family (even when they abuse him, as Loki does frequently) in the Eddas?

KH: I know I'm messing with Thor's image in the Eddas, but I feel it's plausible for an avatar of violent weather to descend into sociopathic behavior over time, especially when he can supposedly die only at the fangs of Jormundgandr and that prophesied day keeps refusing to come around on the calendar. Atticus knows that Thor is generally reviled, but he won't find out the specifics of Thor's shenanigans until HAMMERED. Now, is that reconciling the behavior? Eh, perhaps not. But I can see Thor turning into a villain over time, whereas I could never picture Odin that way.

A: Really? I'm curious about why Odin doesn't seem like someone who might become a villain? (I have a hard time reading about him that way, myself-- that was one of the things that bothered me about AMERICAN GODS, in fact. But I had no trouble believing it in GIANTS OF THE FROST by Kim Wilkins.)

KH: Can't speak for anyone else, but for me wisdom and evil are mutually exclusive. If I'm going to accept that Odin is wise, then he simply can't be bad. I can accept bad guys as evil geniuses, you know, brilliant people who are "wicked smart," but I can't think of them as wise once they become selfish and destructive.

A: And finally, I love Hallbjörn Hauk, Atticus' werewolf lawyer. He really grew on me in HEXED, and usually werewolves are a tough sell for me!  Especially now that you have the next three solicited, (congratulations!) will we get to learn a bit more about him and his history in future books? 

KH: You'll actually learn a bit more about Hal and the pack in HAMMERED because they have a beef with Thor too, but going forward from there the Tempe Pack will play a smaller role simply because Atticus will be forced to leave Tempe.

Thanks so much to Kevin for the interview! Hopefully you'll all be intrigued enough to pick up copies for yourselves!