* or How I came about writing about the Norse goddess and publishing my first book
I have several writing projects in the pipeline. The first is a fantasy trilogy involving a world that I have created from scratch. The first book has been drafted and placed into the metaphorical drawer, collecting metaphorical dust on my hard drive. That story was my first foray into writing seriously, but the first draft is so rough, it’ll take more than sandpaper (more like a grinder) before it is in any fit state to be read.
By contrast, the seed that is “Freyja and the Brisingamen Necklace” came about in an unexpected way. While social platforms have both pros and cons, in this scenario it turned out to be a blessing.
It started with Instagram. Back in 2015, I opened an account. At that time, my goal was purely to use it as a form of expression. I would post short stories and poems/quotes that came into my head. Anyone who liked what I had written was a person I connected with (even if it was that brief second of them casting their eyes over my words and pressing the ‘like’ button); my job was done.
At the same time, I searched for those things that inspire me – other writers, artists, poets, and creative souls sharing their work
Through this platform, I met Elizabeth McKenzie and we began following each other. She was complimentary of my quotes and stories, and I adored her art, which contained a life, a colour, a joy that was unique, and I had not seen before anywhere else. What also astounded me was the sheer volume of her work. Liz generates art at a pace that I am in awe of.
After a time, I asked Liz if I could use some of her work and write a short story based on the artwork and post it on my Instagram feed. She was happy for me to do so, and you will find in my earlier 2015 postings stories such as “Chances” and “The Dance“.
But it was a post by Liz titled “Frida” that sparked a desire inside me to write a full story. The seed was planted.
In Scandinavian countries, this name is derived from the Old Norse name Fríða, which can also be pronounced Freyja.
Being a fantasy writer, I love all forms of mythology and Norse mythology is rich in material. But like most myths, Norse included, the tales were almost always about gods and goddesses who were adults.
I began imagining what they were before their deification was realised. I asked myself, “What was Freyja like before she became a Norse goddess of Asgard? What was Freyja like as a child?”
As with any seed planted, I began to water, nurture and give plenty of sunlight to this question and the story that grew inside my mind.
I wrote to Liz and said that I so loved her Frida illustration that I proposed (half-seriously) that I could write a novel based on that image and perhaps, she could illustrate each chapter.
Little did I know the fire that burned so brightly in Liz would take to my idea like a flame to dry wood! She was all for it, and thus our journey as writer and artist began.
The fruits of three years working together on “Freyja and the Brisingamen Necklace” is now in the Amazon shops, and to be frank, I can hardly believe it’s actually there.
As a writer and story teller, you can only hope that people who read your words will garner some inspiration from it. I know that Liz feels the same way with her art. And as with any creative work, it won’t be to everyone’s liking and that’s okay. But if it inspires one child to read, to write, to pick up a paintbrush then that, to me, is mission accomplished.
To Liz, I wish to say, that it has been a wonderful experience. Even through the challenges and frustrations of going through the publishing process and ensuring every page has the correct margins and every illustration has the right colour, I can say without any doubt that it has all been rewarding. It is the trials that make completing this first book all the more meaningful, and I am filled with a sense of serenity that I was able to do this with you.
It also demonstrates to me that sharing art in this way bridges so many gaps. Liz and I are two people that have never met face to face (she lives in America, I live in Australia). But together we have created something close to our hearts.
Regardless of our cultural background, our race, our colour, our religious and political beliefs, we have made a meaningful connection. It is concrete evidence that creativity, whether that be through stories, art, music or some other creative pursuit, can bridge so many gaps that is ailing our tiny blue dot.
And if young Freyja can make the world a little bit brighter, what more could I ask for?