Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interview with YA/NA author ST Bende

The biggest trend at the moment is New Adult. These books are targetted at a slightly older young adult crowd, usually featuring characters of college going age although there is quite a bit of overlap. From what I've read and seen about this emergent category, NA titles tend to be contemporary and the inclusion of more explicit sex scenes seems to be par for the course. Today I'm delighted to introduce author ST Bende with her upper YA/NA novel Elsker, which is a refreshingly clean, fantasy read.

Take it away ST Bende...

Thanks so much for letting me visit. I’m a huge fan of YAtopia, and I’m super excited to be here to share my debut series with y’all!

Elsker, Book One in THE ELSKER SAGA, follows twenty-year-old Kristia Tostenson as she leaves her small town to find adventure at Cardiff University in Wales. Kristia gets a lot more than she bargained for when she falls in love with Ull Myhr. He’s not just a graduate student - he’s an Asgardian Assassin and the Norse God of Winter. And he’s going to make Kristia’s orderly life seriously complicated.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a lifelong skier, a baking aficionado, a huge IndyCar fan, and a lover of all things Scandinavian… except for fish. I’ve been trying to learn Norwegian for the better part of a decade but all I can really say is, “thanks for the waffles”. I have the best Norsk waffle recipe in the world, and I share it at the end of Elsker. Skal!

Which authors have influenced your writing?
Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling. They’re brilliant at world building, and they’re masters at moving scenes along through dialogue. I love their stories because I get lost in them. I honestly forget where I am when I pick up a Harry Potter book, and when I’m having a bad day the snarky banter in Much Ado picks me right up. I hope my characters can make readers even half as happy as Beatrice and Benedick make me. (You know you laugh when Benedick declares his love for Beatrice by saying, “The world must be peopled!”)

What kind of research did you do to write this book?
I think I read every book our little library had on Scandinavian Mythology, including the kid’s books -- those books had some seriously disturbing illustrations of trolls. I wanted to choose a hero who didn’t have a preexisting back-story, and I found him in the God of Winter. Ull is popular with skiers, but I didn’t find a ton about him in scholarly research. He was enough of a blank page that I felt like I wouldn’t offend too many people if I reinvented him.

I tried to stay true to the gods’ stories where I could, but I had a blast adding my own twist to the mythology too. And setting the world of Asgard against a girl whose frame of reference is a one-stoplight-town was all kinds of fun.

What made you decide to go the indie/small press route?
Honestly, I was too scared to put it out there on my own. I knew there were holes in my story, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to fix them. Landing Eden Plantz was like winning the editor lottery. We talked a lot about where we wanted Elsker to go, and she respected what I could and couldn’t do to my characters. By the time we started content edits I knew we were on the same page, and I just ran with every change she suggested. I’m so grateful for her.

What input, if any, did you have in the cover design?
Not a lot, so I was happy that Kristia’s Mj√∂lnir necklace was incorporated into the Elsker cover. It plays a big role in her story.

What are your thoughts on ebooks? (i.e. love them, hate them, future of publishing, just a phase)
Since Elsker’s publisher only contracts e-book rights, I’m hoping for the best. From a reader’s perspective, I’ve had great experiences reading e-books from small press/self published authors that I’ve met on Twitter. I love that writers are taking their publishing journeys into their own hands, and I’ve read some really good books in the three months I’ve had my Kindle. Yep, three months. I’ve crept slowly into the digital age…

Do you read reviews written about your book?
Oh good heavens, there are going to be reviews. *cringes* Can there be a rule you should wait to review Elsker until you’ve eaten those delicious waffles I give you the recipe for? No? It doesn’t work like that? Sigh…

How do you deal with negative reviews?
I’m thinking it will involve lots of ice cream… and Norwegian waffles smothered in Nutella.

Would you like to add anything else?
I really appreciate your letting me visit YATopia. I’m a huge fan of the blog! And I can’t wait for y’all to meet my hunky hero, Ull Myhr. I’ve got a bit of a crush on him, and I hope you like him too.

Now just choose one:

Summer or Winter? Since Ull’s the God of Winter, and he’s all kinds of awesome, I choose Winter.

Ice cream or custard? Ice cream.

Tea or Coffee? Coffee before noon, tea after.

Reading a good book or watching a good movie? Good book!

Gods or Monsters? Gods. Norse gods. ;)

THE ELSKER SAGA will be available from Entranced Publishing April 22nd. Watch the trailer!

Tur, the prequel, can be downloaded for free over here right now!

Find ST Bende on Twitter at her blog. Be sure to stop by the blog between April 11th and May 20th for a chance to win fabulous prizes in the ELSKER Release Month of Giveaways!   


  1. Thanks so much for letting my Elsker friends and I visit YAtopia! We had a blast!

  2. such a lovely interview i had fun reading it

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