I love it when authors choose creatures we don’t know a lot about. Your introduction of the Fossegrim intrigues me. Where did you find out about this? What can you tell us about it?
When the three main characters of Jules, Andrew, and Nick appeared, I wanted to discover their back stories. Since I enjoy urban fantasy and magic realism, I wanted Jules and Nick based in an existing culture that people might not be familiar with. I spent three years traveling Europe as a teenager with my family and wanted to draw on this experience since I was in a position to voice what that was like. One of the places we visited was relatives in Sweden so I had first-hand experience. I also had many friends in school who were from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. One of them even taught me the three little Swedish words Andrew says!
Once I chose Scandinavia as the anchor for the back story, I couldn't help but trip all over the folktales of trolls, gnomes, elves, and fairies captured in Grimms' Fairy Tales. In their version, the Fossegrim is a troll-like creature who lives in a waterfall and plays a fiddle. If you brought the Fossegrim food, he would teach you to play. But beware the person who tried to cheat him! On the surface, it's a moral story about cheating and theft. but for me, it was just a nice juicy morsel of back story!
What can you tell us about the Fossegrim that we wouldn’t know after reading your book?
The Fossegrim is a type of Troll in a larger community of magical creatures. The one we meet in Tenderfoot is one of a handful in existence. In my take on the Fossegrim, the Trolls taught the Vikings war. I reference this in a short story on my blog titled "Predator."
How does Nick fit into the story? He seems to be a driving force in the blurb.
Nick is a 250 year old Fossegrim. He looks and acts like a human, but that's just a facade that allows him to operate unnoticed as he takes advantage of people's judgments and expectations. He's a creature of secrets with unknown motivations. Rest assured, everything he does is for a reason. His job is to be there for Jules as she comes to terms with what she is. Best of all, he's the character you love to hate.
Jules is well-traveled. Where are some of the places she’s traveled to and what drove her to all those places?
Jules is a typical international kid. Her parents moved from Manhattan to France to follow a job when she was eleven years old. Several years later, her family moved again for a job, this time to Stockholm. Like the kids I grew up with, she's experienced the larger world and gained both historical and personal senses of freedom. Most importantly, she's gone through the agony of being ripped away from everyone and everything she knows twice. Her mother died while they lived in Stockholm, so loss is this huge thing for Jules. When she arrives in Chapel Hill hoping for a fresh start, she's pretty much one big untended wound.
What inspired you to write this story?
My characters took me hostage! Really, for a while there, they were all I thought about. I'd be making lunch for my kids while trying to figure how exactly how Nick was getting under Andrew's skin.
After starting a family and having two daughters, I felt a little lost. I've always written my way through my problems so it just seemed time to write another book and express myself the way I enjoy most.
What can you tell us about Blinded, Book 2 of the Tenderfoot series?
While Tenderfoot is from Jules' point of view, Blinded is from Andrew's. I wanted to stretch and see what it was like to be in Andrew's head. He's such a sweetheart. I wondered, what does he really think about Jules and her little quirks? Does he notice the things going on with her, or is he content just to let sleeping dogs lie?
The other thing I can share is that Andrew and Nick finally duke it out. It's a great scene!
Where can readers purchase your book?
Readers can purchase my book at:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tenderfoot-amy-tupper/1101222573
and the Amazon websites for other countries as well.
Where can readers connect with you on the web?
I post news, six sentence excerpts, and weekly flash fiction on my blog. I also feature other authors with a feature called "Writers And Their Chosen Settings." I am always interested to find out how other authors chose settings for their books and what that contexts means to them.
May we read an excerpt from the book?
Nick began playing his guitar again. This time was different. My perception changed. It tightened into focus. It was like I could hear beyond the music. There were a few pulsing seconds of faint pain in my gut but then it faded away.
I turned my head toward the waving shadows on the grassy ground. Like before, things I should not have been able to see at such a distance became instantly clear. They popped into focus as if I was standing a few feet away instead of hundreds. The noise of the leaves grew louder as the leaves brushed against each other. I raised my head to better hear the whistle of the wind. I picked up the tinkling sounds of piano from Person Hall. The smell of sticky honeysuckle drifted in from some place nearby. I inhaled deeper. There were traces from people who had walked through. Each scent was somehow unique. The smell of exhaust and diesel wafted down from the cars on Franklin Street. How could I have not noticed all of this before?
The music itself was louder now. It sounded like a folk tune I used to know. Nick continued to play and I relaxed, closing my eyes to tune in. Before long, the song came to an end. I opened my eyes. There was an aura surrounding his body, a wave of changing color rolling out from him in all directions. It mingled with the music spinning out of the guitar. A blue aura surrounded him at the center of the wave. I screamed.
In a flash, he was up on his feet and crouched down in front of me. As soon as the music stopped, the stream of colors vanished, the aura gone.
I abruptly shut my mouth and covered it with both hands, frozen.
A big thanks to Amy for this week's interview. If you'd like to hear more, we'll be chatting with her again on Wednesday at 3:30 PST. You can set a reminder here.