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Inspirational Indie Author Interview #77: Author Interview with Bjørn Larssen: Artist, Blacksmith, and the Norse Gods' Biggest Fan

by Alliance of Independent Authors
December 6th 2020

My ALLi author guest this week is Bjørn Larssen, who was born in Poland, lives in the Netherlands, but has his heart simultane... More

I'm Howard lovey, and you're listening to inspirational indie authors every week. I feature a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors to find out what inspires them and how they are an inspiration to other authors. My guest this week is Bjorn Larsson, who was born in Poland, lives in the Netherlands but has his heart simultaneously in Iceland and with the ancient Norse gods, which he writes about in his books. And if that is indeed off, there's much more to be orange story at his journey from communist era Poland to his discovery of freedom as an Indian author, Bjorn himself tells it best and listen to the whole thing, since there will be surprises. E. I'm being Nelson arrived historical fantasy and historical fiction. I'm completely obsessed with Iceland. First time I went was just for a few days to do some research, and I came back and I realized I left my heart there, so I went again

for a month and haven't found it. I was actually born in Warsaw, Poland. I never met my father. I grew up there, and when I was in my twenties, I started traveling abroad and I found out that I actually liked pretty much everything more than I did Poland and that I'm moving to Amsterdam because most people here spoke English and the first place where I lived waas, the Red Light district and for someone who used to live in a very Catholic country to move straight into red light district. Waas. Interesting to begin with. One thing you should know about Bjorn is that he is on the autism spectrum. Although he did not get a formal diagnosis until this year, he knew from an early age that he thought a little differently from everybody else. I have a friend, and this kind of sounds offensive in a way, but he's really just correct. He works with gifted Children, and he said that he can see in their eyes that they might be on the spectrum. And he tells the parents

that they might wonder. Kids tested, and it's got, like success rate of 80%. And he said, he says it in me, and I was completely confused. I was like, Is he trying to offend me? Is this some sort of compliment? Some sort of hint. I couldn't figure out what he means. And then I started reading about the autism spectrum. I found out that it's much wider than I thought because, well, I had a super stereotypical picture of autism, and I started doing all those tests and there were many, many, many tests, and one of them was having to redraw a figure first, just looking at the 10, copying it. And then they took the drawing away and I had to call to draw it again, and I got it wrong and I was really upset. And then later I remembered I did exactly the same test when I was a kid. I think I was maybe six or seven, and I also didn't do it correctly, and I was also upset. So I wonder if they actually figured it out back in the early eighties

. And just, you know, in communist Poland, there really wasn't much off help you could get. It would be just another way in which I would be weird. I always stood out anyway, so and this year, when I got diagnosed, I started reading a lot about what autism spectrum is and isn't, and, uh, it's very eye opening the way Bjorn's autism manifested itself in early childhood was his obsession with reading. I taught myself to read when I was four, I had a few books that I really liked, and I kept just pastoring my mom to reading the same books over and over again. And finally she said, I'm not reading this anymore. You know those books by heart. And she was right. So I took those books and I taught myself to read just because I knew them by heart, and I kind of figure out you know which where it looks like what? And then I started going through my parents library, so I had no concept of grown up books and Children's books. So I just kind of grabbed whatever I would read it

through and put it back and grab the next book. And it took a while until they figured out that I was actually reading them and not just sitting there pretending to be very smart, because I think I actually asked about sex in a book like, Why would someone do this? It's disgusting. And then I started getting age appropriate books, and then when I was older, I realized I just didn't connect with the other kids. It was really like, Now when I'm reading about it sounds so typical. But back then, I just didn't know. Just like there is a book of rules on Lee. I didn't get it. So there are certain behaviors and kids do certain things, but they don't like me whether I tried to those things or not, and it was really confusing. So I just ended up mostly spending time on my own reading books and listening to music, and I wasn't very happy with that. What Bjorn called is autistic. Focus continued into adulthood, but this time it wasn't only about reading but also writing. And then I kept on one thing to write

a book. I was 39 I was still one thing to write a book. I had this dream a few years earlier that later became storytellers, and that's when I discovered I didn't know it was that. But I discovered the autistic focus because I was just, uh, I would sit for 14 hours doing research or writing. I wrote the whole first draft in two weeks. I had no idea that was unusual. I was just sitting there writing, writing, writing, being kind of irritated because I had to take a break from meal and then just writing, writing, writing and just doing research. I hardly did anything else. But before his obsession with writing took hold, he did a number of other things, including a graphic designer. In fact, he was so good at it. That was Bjorn's ticket out of Poland. He was hired by a company in Amsterdam, so I worked as a graphic designer for 11 years. And then I had a burnout. And during the burn out, I was working with this job psychologist, and she made me realize that I have never worked

as anything else, some ignorant of all the topics. So read doesn't matter what I pick up. I'm exactly a signal int in this as any other things. I can just do whatever I want. And that's how I became a blacksmith. Yes, you heard that correctly, beyond became a blacksmith. And yes, they do still exist. So I started working, and the first time I'd really small things because I didn't really know what I was doing. I was just enjoying the practicing, and then I started making art and it started actually selling. And I was really shocked because I just loved it so much. I also had this kind of medieval image of blacksmiths. It never occurred to me to dream about doing this job earlier on. So then to find out that actually blacksmith still exist and they work and you can make a living from that. It was like it was more than a dream. I didn't there to have dreams like this. Aside from being a blacksmith, Bjorn has a degree in mathematics and worked as a programmer. With all this life experience behind him, Bjorn was ready at last to right. And for that he

turned to Norse mythology and a dream he had about five years before storytellers came out. So I would say about 2013. I had this dream about three brothers competing for one woman. One of the brothers was a priest. On one was a fish fishermen, and I only don't remember my dreams. But this one just stayed in my head for five years and I wrote the first draft and then I was thinking Okay, this should take place somewhere where you know you can have well fishing and any of this kind off, tight knit community that will also be sort of deserted in a way, in a place which is far from everything. Sonny, I had this thought, maybe Iceland. Why not? And I took a book about history of Iceland at the beginning of 20th century, and I swear it sounded like Iceland was made, especially for my needs. So that's how story terrorist came to be. Then I already knew. I would like to write something, which is kind of I think

it's kind of strange because it's really fanfic on my own gods. And that's how the second book came to be Children, which is, uh, returning of various north North Smith's. But from the point of view off Children of the gods, because I was reading the mythology and, for instance, thought himself. It's like 20 minutes for himself that his son is only mentioned once when he saves his father's life and then, at the end, after Ragnarok, when he carries the hammer back toe Alsgaard, I thought, How would it feel if your father was the God that everybody knows that everybody loves that everybody talks about and you know you're the child off. And how do you build your own life when everybody just sees you as kind of less interesting extension of your father? Their father is not a politician, not a pop star, but he's an actual God. So that's where it came from. And I'm going to take my knowledge

of the myths and the faith and just kind of expanded into stories and further books in the series to be on the stories of the Norse gods air more than just entertainment. So don't mention the Marvel superheroes or that other author who writes about the Norse gods. I'm laughing because the Marvel versions of the guns are not extremely correct. And, uh, one of the reasons I started working on the topic of the Norse gods as a writer was actually Neil Game, and I hope he's not listening because he's done a really bad job with this book. I have huge expectations because he is the new game and and those were fantastic stories, and I thought, What can your game and do with them? And he just pretty much wrote them down in the way That's not even particularly funny. I thought, Oh, come on meal, You could have done a better job. So since you know you didn't I'll try. I handed it and then it kind of

escalated. I think the Vikings TV Siri's is one of the reasons why the North god's kind of enjoy this resurgence because people watch the Vikings and we're like, Oh, this is really cool And they get to, like, wave access in the air and you know, Valhalla and so on and so on. So I think most of the interest is kind off on this superficial level. But there are people who got more interested and one of them. In November, someone on Twitter came up with the idea of North Member, and at the beginning I thought it would all be those books about waving access and shouting Valhalla, but then really started growing and becoming very interesting. Interesting, and I contributed to North Member and I found it really, really cool that this interest is actually going further. It's not just really about those T shirts with skulls, but there are people who are actually interested enough to write about it, to read about it even

if it's, you know, not exactly academic level. It really is growing that interest. And that may be very, very happy. And Bjorn stories air making readers happy, selling well and winning awards. One other thing you should know about Bjorn is that he is an l g B T Q writer themes that he incorporates into his work. The Netherlands has this reputation of being a very, very open country, and parts of it are. But people tend to confuse Amsterdam with the whole country. So there are There is a Bible belt in here where I probably would not there to just be open and talk about my husband is my husband. But where I live near Amsterdam, I don't get any negative reactions ever. What I was more worried about. Where the readers the first book doesn't really have any l g B T Q topics at all. But in the second book, the son of Thor is gay and the daughter off Freya, the goddess of love. This a romantic and a sexual. I did not know

how the readers will react. It's been less than two months, and so far the reactions have been great. And when it comes to the gods themselves, there's a lot of queer content in the mythology. Okay, is kind of gender fluid. I mean, Loki gave birth to a horse. That's that's even more than that. That's even more than gender fluid thought in the myth that my book Children opens with. He puts on a wedding dress, and it's quite an elaborate wedding gown, honesty and a lot of jewelry. And I think in most religions, gods don't do that. As for the future, Bjorn found his nation writing about Norse mythology. He's planning a sequel in a humorous kind of how to book on Norse gods in the style of Terry Pratchett. And that, he said, is the book that Neil Diamond should have written. But that's okay, Byard said. He'll write it himself. You've

been listening to inspirational indie authors. I'm Howard Loving. If you are a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and would like to be considered for the show, please write to me at Howard at Alliance Independent Authors dot or GTA and tell me what inspires you and how you can inspire other authors. If you enjoy this podcast please tap on your favorite podcast app and give us a review that will help others discover the family of ally podcasts has always find more author advice, tips and tools at her self publishing advice center. Self publishing advice dot org's. And if you haven't already, we invite you to join our organization and become a self publishing ally. You could do that at Alliance Independent authors dot org's Iceland's You Could Be So Free.

Inspirational Indie Author Interview #77: Author Interview with Bjørn Larssen: Artist, Blacksmith, and the Norse Gods' Biggest Fan
Inspirational Indie Author Interview #77: Author Interview with Bjørn Larssen: Artist, Blacksmith, and the Norse Gods' Biggest Fan
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