It's my pleasure to introduce our readers to Lou Anders, Hugo award winning editorial director of Pyr Books, and author of Frostborn.
Child of Two Cultures
“Your mamma’s not American. She doesn’t look American.”
Those words were said to my son by another little boy on his little league team. I didn’t know until afterwards, or I would have had a few things to say. About how long my wife worked to become American. About the interviews, the exams, the travel, the expense. About how maybe working your tail off for something counted more than just being handed it at birth. But really all I should have addressed is that absurd idea that there’s a single American look.
When the President was elected, a family friend, who I’m pretty sure voted against him and doesn’t like his politics very much, nonetheless wrote to say how glad she was that my children had a biracial man in the highest office in the land to inspire them. I appreciated her words, particularly her choice of the word “biracial.” Not just a black man, which was historic enough, but a biracial man.
Frostborn is my first book, so you can imagine it means a lot to me. But mixed in with all that debut author excitement is my happiness at being able to give a gift to my children. I wanted to write a story that my kids could see themselves reflected in, a story for boys and girls both. My son is an obsessive gamer, and so, too, Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. You don’t have video games in the year 986 AG in the land of Norrøngard, so he plays a board game called Thrones & Bones every chance he gets. My daughter is a tornado. She’s the youngest by several years, but I frequently have to order her to quit pounding on him. For her, I wanted to write a girl a strong female character, someone who was absolutely a co-lead, not simply relegated to the role of sidekick. And while Karn is a blond haired, blue eyed lad of what we’d equate with Scandinavian stock, Thianna is a child of two cultures. Her father is a frost giant, and her mother hails from—well, that’s actually a secret in book one, but her dark hair, dark eyes, and olive complexion hint at what we’d call a Mediterranean heritage.
Thianna is also seven feet tall. Which you might think is pretty big for a twelve year old, but in the frost giant village where she lives, it’s actually pretty short. Her darker appearance and her size mark her as different from her peers, and several of them—one in particular—make her life miserable as a result. How she deals with this, as well as her own struggle to appreciate the differences she has always despised, is why I think so many readers are already embracing her so fiercely. I think struggles to fit in, or not to, resonate with all of us, whether our eyes are blue or brown. And as I write this I’m realizing I didn’t just write Frostborn for my own kids. I wrote it for that little boy in Little League who thinks there’s only one kind of American. I hope Frostborn is a better response than the one I would have given that day.
------------Lou Anders's research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as “thoroughly enjoyable” (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones