Interview with Siri Pettersen

Siri Pettersen
Zdjęcie: Lars Myhren Holand
Siri Pettersen is a Norwegian writer, the author of well-received Odin's Child, which opens the trilogy The Raven Rings in a very promising way. 
Could you introduce yourself and tell the Polish readers in a few words who “Siri Pettersen” is?
Too difficult, so I’ll just answer with an internet meme: I am a ghost driving a meat-covered skeleton made from stardust, riding a rock, hurtling through space, I fear nothing. Okay, I’m from the north of Norway, where winters are perpetual darkness and summers have sun at midnight. It’s nuts, as far as places go, so naturally I am, too. I love fantasy, writing, drawing, design, comics and metal. And ravens. After 25 years, I’m still with my teenage sweetheart. Do I hear an “aaaaw”?

“The Raven Rings” are build on norse foundation, however you don’t follow well-known patterns. We won’t find there characters from the mythology, dragons or things like that. On the contrary there are tailed ætlings. Where did you get such an idea from? What inspired you to create such a world?
I wanted to create a world that felt believable, familiar, but still new. To do that, I had to mess with our myths. Think about it: In real life, nothing ever survives history without being altered, edited, added to, misunderstood, messed up ... This is an important aspect of believability. I wanted a world that could easily have existed beside our own, where language, culture and myths would have “leaked” over and affected both sides. A world that would make you think “yes, that could be the actual origin of our own mythology”. So it had to be different, but still the same. I once heard that if you ask two people to explain what happened, and the stories are too similar, they are lying :D
In the world of Ym ravens are sacred and extremely important. Do those birds have some special meaning to you too?
Yes, I love corvids, especially the raven. I’ve read a lot about them and always been fascinated by them. I even did a series of graphic stories once, called “The crows”. I’m not sure why I love them so much. Probably because they are extremely intelligent, mystical and misunderstood. 
Although the whole trilogy has been published in Norway, in Poland we can read only “Odin’s Child” so far. I hope we won’t have to wait for too long for the second part of “The Raven Rings”. Can you tell us in a nutshell what “The Rot” is about?
Well, by now most people will have heard that the three books take place in three different worlds. Opening the second book was a shock to many readers. It’s not really a spoiler because you know from the very first sentence, but still, if you absolutely don’t want to know, you should stop reading now. Okay? In the second book, Hirka is in our world, but not like people expected. Not with vikings or anything like that. She is in Europe, today, in our modern time. It is a dying world, and she is torn between headhunters, dead born and her longing for Rime. And she is about to discover the truth about the rot. It is a book about greed, obsession with revenge, and the fear of death.
“Odin’s Child” was your debut novel but it turned out to be a great success almost at once. Has it changed your life? Do your friends and family members treat you in a different way now?
Yes, my life changed overnight when Odin’s Child was launched. I was a designer, but I just had to let everything else go and keep writing, and spend my days answering mails, messages, interviews, requests, traveling for book fairs etc. I say that like it’s a bad thing, but I am incredibly grateful for what these books have brought me. Especially all the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know. No, nobody treats me differently and I doubt anyone will, unless I start to act differently, in which case someone should slap me.
I read that the movie rights to the trilogy have been bought by Maipo Film. Does it mean we can expect the film adaptation soon?
Yes, Odin’s Child has been optioned for film, but it is still early days. “Soon” in this context would be anything from 5 - 500 years :D Still, it is very exiting.
Is that true that you designed the covers for the whole trilogy on your own?
Yes. Designer is my “real job” so how on earth could I let anyone else do that? :D Poor creature, they would have to suffer an ordeal with me hanging over their shoulders. Besides, I knew what the covers should look like before the books were even finnished.
In 2002 you won a national comic contest with "Anticlimax", the comic strip that made you "Newcomer of the year" in the Norwegian Sproing Awards. Do you still work as an illustrator or you decided to focus only on writing?
I haven’t had the chance to work with anything other than The Raven Rings for these past few years. But I miss it, so maybe an illustrated book or something in the future.
What's your next project? Could you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, thank you for asking! My plans now are a series that is loosely connected to The Raven Rings, but not dependent on it. Meaning you don’t have to read both to understand them, but if you read The Raven Rings you will know what the connection is. It won’t take place in Ymslanda, but it will be set in the same universe.

Thank you once again for this conversation. I am very happy about our interview. Is there anything you would like to add and tell your Polish readers?

Yes, I would very much like to thank you all for the wonderful photos and reviews I’ve seen in social media lately. When people hashtag their stuff, I tend to find it, and it’s very moving. Thank you so much! I am looking forward to seeing you at Polcon in August. 

If you want to read this interview in Polish, please click here