Recently I read The Gatewatch by Joshua Gillingham and the sequel novel is due to be released later this year. My review for The Gatewatch can be found below:
I think this is a fantastic novel, from a wonderful author and a must read for any fantasy reader – I created this blog to shine a light on brilliant reading. Enjoy!
1. When reading The Gatewatch, companionship is a clear theme throughout the novel – would you say you were inspired by books like the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings novels? And are there any other books that have inspired your writing?
Certainly! The other series I would have to give credit to is The Chronicles of Narnia by Tolkien’s good friend and fellow professor (and Inkling on top of that!) C.S. Lewis. Much of the book is also indebted to various translations of the Norse Myths, most specifically Dr. Kevin Crossley Holland’s translation. In fact, The Gatewatch began as a creative retelling of the myth where Thor and Loki travel to Utgard and encounter the jotun wizard Utgard-Loki. However, the thing grew legs and ran away on me, so it ended up becoming a full-fledged book of its own.
2. The Gatewatch is home to a whole host of different characters and species within its pages – who is your favourite character and which is your favourite species?
Truthfully, I most enjoy writing the nidavel who are essentially dwarves. However, the dwarves in Norse mythology are quite distinct from what we might think of as dwarves today; games like Dungeons & Dragons as well as fantasy works such as Tolkien’s have branded dwarves in a manner quite dissimilar to how they are portrayed in the myths. By calling them nidavel instead of dwarves I hoped to create a race much closer to the dwarves of the Norse myths. They are sly and sneaky, greatly skilled in magic and smithing, and can never fully be trusted. Of course, I play with this idea of racial stereotypes in the book and the characters come to befriend two nidavel throughout the course of the adventure who ultimately prove these stereotypes do not apply to all nidavel.
3. The dwarves in your novel are famous for their ability to craft magical objects – if you could invent your own magical object, what would you invent and what would you use it for?
This is an excellent question! While the items crafted in the book are nods to the myths, if I could have Mastersmith Ognir craft me my own item I think I would like a golden ring that would allow me to feast and drink without gaining any calories or becoming overly inebriated!
4.Norse lore is embraced within your novel and the poetry you have written is full of humour and charm. When did you become interested in Norse mythology and what drew you to writing Norse poetry?
Tolkien is present here again as it was in university after joining ‘The Last Alliance’, a Tolkien book club led by a professor at the University of Alberta. It was through this book club that I learned of Tolkien’s actual career as a linguistics professor; writing books was simply his ‘side gig’. I discovered the Norse myths through his writing and uncovered many other translations, as well as related stories such as the Icelandic Sagas and other heroic epics such as Sigurd the Dragonslayer. I even went as far as to take a Norwegian language class, though I would have been better served with a crash course in Icelandic. As a bonus, my family heritage is Norwegian, so it all tied together quite nicely!
5.How long did it take roughly to write The Gatewatch? Is this the first novel you have ever written or did you have some practise novels beforehand?
The Gatewatch was my first novel and, to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. However, in the course of the three years it took to write I learned a lot. I’ve now finished the second and third book, each of which took about a year to write and edit, and I am excited for the series to be completed.
6.The Everspring is coming out later this year – can you give us any clues to what we could be looking forward to?
Yes – I am very excited to share that The Everspring, sequel to The Gatewatch, is coming to bookstores and bookshelves on November 2nd, 2021! The saga of Torin Ten-Trees continues with more adventures and more riddles, flavoured with hints of such heroic sagas as Beowulf, Sigurd the Dragonslayer, and Angantyr the Berserker.