Ingrid Paulson is the author of Valkyrie Rising, a book I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on. Ingrid very kindly took some time out of her busy day to answer a few of my questions.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Ingrid Paulson] Science nerd and avid reader turned young adult writer. Former Olympic athlete (not really).
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Valkyrie Rising?
[Ingrid Paulson] I’m a huge fan of girl power stories, so I set out to write the kind of book I would want to read. In a nutshell, Valkyrie Rising is about a girl (Ellie) who comes into her own while visiting her grandmother in Norway. Boys start mysteriously disappearing, including her brother, and it’s up to Ellie to save them all and overthrow an ancient power. And along the way learns a few unexpected things about her family history.
But I think the copy on the back of the galley says it best:
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s astonishingly epic coming-of-age.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Ingrid Paulson] A few years ago, I went on a trip Norway with the Paulson women, and I was so inspired by the mountains and fjords that I wanted to write a book based on the setting alone. I knew right away it would include Valkyries—I’ve always loved the idea of strong warrior women.
I was actually working on a different book, but Tuck and Ellie captured my imagination so suddenly and completely that I sat down and started sketching out scenes. The rest of the story came together around those two characters and the setting.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Ingrid Paulson] There are about a million challenges in writing a book–it’s hard to pick just one! But I think I struggled most with the ending and ended up re-writing it several times. I’d set up big stakes in the first three-quarters of the book and it was hard to tie everything back up together in a satisfactory way while keeping the action fast and light. Fortunately, I had an amazing editor who helped me work through those issues.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Ellie?
[Ingrid Paulson] This is hard because Ellie changes a lot during the course of the story. But the girl she becomes by the final scene is determined, resilient, and brave.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Tucker would never have in his pocket?
[Ingrid Paulson] Tucker is the type to always travel light. It’s not likely he’d have anything but his cell phone and a credit card or two. But he’d definitely never have another girl’s number, even if he’s likely to be slipped more than a few. He also wouldn’t be caught dead with anything relating to school or homework. Part of his casual confidence thing is never admitting he puts work into anything.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Ingrid Paulson] I love reading and that definitely inspired me to start writing. And this might sound creepy, but I also really enjoy people watching (I’m a shameless and painfully obvious eavesdropper). I think that contributed a lot to creating the other people who reside in my head. In the case of Valkyrie Rising, travel was also a huge influence—I was fortunate enough to stumble across incredible vistas in Norway that made me itch to describe them on paper.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Ingrid Paulson] I need coffee and silence. When I hit a tricky scene or plot issue, I often work it out on a long run, so I guess I need running shoes too.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Ingrid Paulson] That is a hard question! I think the biggest contributor to my love of reading was a father who would sit and read to me for hours and hours on end. His love of books is infectious. However, I was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein and can still recite embarrassing amounts of their works.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Ingrid Paulson] Lately, I feel like I’m always either writing or secretly thinking about writing while pretending to pay attention to something else. But I live in San Francisco, pretty close to the bay, so I just love being outside and wandering the city with my daughter. I love to travel (who doesn’t) and spending time with my friends.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Ingrid Paulson] My websites is: www.ingridepaulson.com
I’m on twitter @ingridepaulson.com
Facebook: Valkyrie Rising
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
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