Thursday, July 28, 2016


If you've been with me on the blog for any length of time, you probably know how much I love Norse Mythology. So when my editor suggested they'd like to see something non-Bronze Age from me for my next contracted book, leaping into the Viking Age seemed like really the only logical choice. And when they asked me if I'd consider writing a dual narrative -- with two timelines -- I almost immediately knew what I wanted to use for connective tissue between the two time periods. I knew that if I was going to write about a pagan Freydis, that I absolutely 100000% was going to write about a Heathen woman in our contemporary world alongside her.

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And when I told other people that was what I wanted to do, how I wanted to weave these threads -- I don't actually know what I expected. But I didn't actually expect people (with the best of intentions!) to tell me I shouldn't do it. I didn't expect to be discouraged. I didn't expect to hear that writing an explicitly non-Christian protagonist in a contemporary setting could kill my book, would kill my book, because people might organize against it and pile on bad reviews. I didn't expect my family and friends to suggest I play it safer with maybe just an Atheist instead of a Heathen, if I *had* to include a non-Christian main character in the contemporary half of my book.

I didn't expect to find out that people in my life don't think there is room for a person who shares my faith to appear in a work of fiction. Not if I want it to sell. Not if I want to be successful.

Imagine that.* Take a minute and think about it. How would you feel if someone told you to write yourself and the people like you out of your story? That including yourself and people like you on the page would mean failure. Would mean people dumping 1-star reviews all over your release just because you were daring to write a book that reflected a different experience than their own. Imagine learning that people maybe don't think you deserve a place at the table at all. That in the complex tapestry of literature, there is no room for you. You're better off just being erased and replaced. You're better off erasing and replacing yourself, and maybe it'd be better for that character to believe in nothing at all rather than believe in your gods or share in your faith.

I wrote the book anyway. I wrote it and I poured myself into it, and all my fears, and all the opposition, and all the hurt. I wrote it and I kept writing it even before I knew I had my editor's complete approval. And I promise you, there were months of stress and anxiety and terror that I'd invested everything into a book that wouldn't be accepted, and at the end of it, I'd have to write something else instead or destroy the book to make it more "acceptable" to "the market."

But my editor loved it. She loved the book even before she knew I was Heathen, like Emma. Then she loved that it was personal -- that it FELT personal and real -- she didn't ask me to tone down my Heathenry. She didn't ask me to erase my faith or my SELF from the book. She just did everything she could to support me, to give DAUGHTER all the care and attention it deserved to put its best foot forward. And I can't tell you how grateful I am, how relieved, how thrilled that I'm able to offer this book to the world, to my fellow Heathens (who may still, naturally, find fault in my portrayal, because Heathenry is so variable.)

That doesn't mean I'm not still afraid.

I am still afraid that the other voices, the other people are right. That because I included myself and my explicitly non-Christian faith in this book, it will fail. I will fail. I am still terrified that there is no room for me to exist in our literary world. That maybe I would have been better off erased.

I hope I'm wrong.

I hope that you'll all prove me wrong. And every one of you who buys this book -- who loves it, or just likes it, or at the very least respects and supports it even if it isn't your personal cuppa -- you are my hero and my lifeline. You are beacons of light and warmth. You are everything good in this world, and the only thing I hope is that there are enough of you to make it clear to my editor, to my publisher, to the literary WORLD that there is always room for one more at the table -- that readers are not only willing, but eager to make that room.

*If you're a minority of any kind -- by creed or race or orientation or gender -- you probably don't have to imagine this scenario because I'm sure it's already been your life story. 

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand
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  1. I love that you were brave enough and willing enough to write the story the way you did. I'm very much looking forward to reading it. <3

    1. Thank you! And thank you so much for your comment <3 I really, really appreciate your support -- not just on this post, but in all the ways that you have offered it.

  2. I love that you were brave enough and willing enough to write the story the way you did. I'm very much looking forward to reading it. <3

  3. You know I have your back, Mali. I'm very proud of you.

    1. Definitely I am more nervous about family reading it than I am random other readers. Funny how that works.

    2. I am feeling that! My parents keep asking me about my book, and now my dad has found my incriminating blog and "wants to read every page!" Ugh! I swore I would never end up one of those people who waits until their parents die to live openly and write what they feel inspired to write. So... I'm considering this a challenge to myself to keep on going. With you in solidarity. :)

    3. You can do it!! And you should!

  4. I'm doing the virtual version of running off to buy it right now. This made me tear up so hard. You inspire me!

    1. Thank you so much!! I guess I could have summed this up with something more along the lines of "write what you know." But man, some times it is harder than others!


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