The Next Big Thing
I was invited to be involved in a project that involves authors answering questions about their latest book on their own blog AND inviting another 5 authors/poets to join by answering the same questions on their own blogs a week later. Here are my answers.
What is the title of your new book? Lost in Iceland.
Where did the idea for the book come from? From glancing at a newspaper headline. It was in 2008 when the Icelandic Financial crisis first made world news . The headline read ‘Lost in Iceland’ and that set it all of really. Within a couple of hours I had plans for the beginning, middle and end of a novel.
What genre does your book fall under? Fiction.
Will (is) your book (be) self published or published by an agency? I have decided to self-publish. I have been working on it for quite some time, and would just like to get it out into the public eye. Once I have done this, I’ll be able to move on with new projects. If a publishing house (In England or Iceland) comes across it, and shows interest, then that would be excellent.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? It took about six months.
What other books would you compare your book to within the genre? That’s tough! I’m really not sure. I read more non-fiction than fiction when I was writing the novel, as in 2008 I hadn’t yet been to Iceland, and so needed to feed myself facts and experiences.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? My passion for Scandinavia definitely ignited the need to write this novel and kept me going when I felt like it was going nowhere. I’d say my obsession with people inspired me too.
What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest? This following description, hopefully!
Nora is a charismatic, unemployed, sixteen year old writer. A County Durham girl, born and bred. When her father, Jed is offered a once in a life time job by The Environment Agency Of Iceland, Nora is expected to relocate, along with her inattentive mother Liz. Besotted with sixteen year old Leo, and convinced her only inspiration to write lies is the North East, Nora is adamant to stay put. Naturally, her parents have the upper hand, and an agitated Nora is shipped off to start a new life in Reykjavik, where most of the population believe they have seen elves, and the favoured snack is dried flounder.
Arriving in Iceland, where people are insatiably curious about the outside world and live literally on the lip of the land, Nora, knowing only the basics in Icelandic, is utterly overwhelmed. In this new country, medieval sagas are part of the school curriculum, the population believe any linguistic development within their preserved Norse Language is a complete disaster and elves are considered just as important inhabitants as people.
Nora find herself uninspired and has no ideas for writing. As a matter of fact, she hasn’t scribbled a word since she was given the news of the move. Her existence is crippled further when she discovers Leo already has a new girlfriend. Grief-stricken, unable to write and known only as ‘English’ by the local youths, including one local bad boy. Rasta, Nora is at a loss. Fellow writer and generally nice dude, Einar – who hides a shady past – is desperate to create a bond between the two, but Nora repeatedly puts up barriers to prevent it.
When Nora’s father is killed in a freak accident while walking the Laugavegur (a famous trekking route through the highlands of Iceland) Nora is devastated, and blames her mother, and as a result the two quickly distance themselves from each other. Liz is comforted by their neighbour while Nora, still unable to write or be creative in any way, shape or form, slips into a dark, reckless existence, fuelled by alcohol, self-harm and drugs.