Rae: First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a Latte with Coconut Milk 🙂 What would you order?
Asa: A chai made with coconut or almond milk. Yum! I love coffee shops, but not coffee the beverage.
Rae: Thanks so much for hanging out with me today.
Asa: Thank you for having me!
Rae: Congratulations on your DOUBLE RITA nomination for Best First Book AND Paranormal Romance category for Viking Warrior Rising. Super exciting. What an honor!
Asa: I’m still pinching myself to make sure this is actually happening. It’s such an honor and when I look at who’s in my categories, I start hyperventilating. I can’t believe my name is next to these amazing authors that I’m a total fangirl of!
Rae: For those who are not familiar with your Viking Warrior series, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Asa: I’m from Sweden originally, so I grew up surrounded by Viking archaeology and lore. Basically, I’m writing my take on the Norse mythology stories that have always fascinated me.
Rae: How did you research for this series?
Most of the research I’ve done had to do with figuring out the English words for what I had learned in Swedish. The other thing that required a lot of research time was figuring out how to write the fight scenes. I spent a lot of time looking at fencing and martial art videos online and also asked friends who fence and do martial arts for advice.
Rae: How many books can we expect in this series?
Asa: So far, I’m contracted for three books in the series. VIKING WARRIOR RISING was released last November, VIKING WARRIOR REBEL will be out in October, and the third book—name to be determined—is planned for fall 2017. I’m hoping for at least three more books after that, so keep your fingers crossed that my editor and publisher are onboard for that too. 🙂
Rae: I love that you’ve taught Physics and write romance. Are you able to use what you know in your stories?
Asa: My physics background comes in handy when I have to choreograph the fight scenes, because it all about action/reaction forces. I also drew heavily on science when I came up with how Naya—the heroine in VIKING WARRIOR RISING—had been enhanced into a super soldier. It all has to do with nanoparticles and a slightly altered adrenaline response. It was very fun to research and tweak all that into the story.
Rae: What is something about your profession that we would be surprised to know?
Asa: Most people who know me as a college physics instructor are surprised to know I write romance, and most people who know me as a writer are surprised I’m also a scientist. And not a lot of people know about my subfield Medical Physics, which is all about how physics is used to treat and diagnose diseases.
Rae: While in Colorado earning your degree what was the best thing to do in the summer and winter? I understand that the state is beautiful year round.
Asa: Colorado is awesome! It’s a very outdoorsy state. People ski and snowboard in winter and mountain bike and hike in summer. The best part about all seasons in Colorado is that they’re very dry. More than seventy percent of the days of the year are filled with sunshine. Since I was a student while living there, my finances didn’t allow me to downhill ski as much as I would have liked to in the winter. Those lift tickets are expensive! In the summer however, I spent almost all my free time outdoors hiking and playing intramural soccer and volleyball.
Rae: When you research for these amazing reads are you able to travel to any exotic locations for research?
Asa: I don’t know about “exotic” because most of my research trips are basically me going home to visit family in Sweden, so it’s more familiar than exotic to me. 🙂 Also, my husband is from the UK so we visit there often as well. That said, this past summer we added several days in Prague to our “going home to see family” trip and the city completely blew me away. The architecture is so beautiful and the art and culture amazing. I’ve visited most major cities in Europe, but Prague took my breath away.
Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another Latte 🙂
Asa: Thank you again for having me! Time for another chai! 🙂
Happy Reading Dear Readers.
Happy Writing Asa!
**** 8 Tantalizing Tidbits ****
1. What is a must read book and why?
I recently binged on Laura Griffin’s The Tracers series. It’s simultaneously fills my geeky CSI fascination and romance need. The forensic science in the series is so well researched and the romantic tension is superb. And I love the character development. The reason I had to read the whole series—and am anxiously waiting for more—is because I fell in love with the secondary characters in each book and had to know how and when they would meet their soulmate.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown?
This is a hard one because I grew up in a tiny community of about 350 houses surrounded by farms and fields. But it is only 20 minutes from Lund, a historic old town with a university that was founded in 1666 and a cathedral that was built in 1145. I went to school in Lund, so I kind of think of it as my hometown by extension. When you go visit, you should see the cathedral, but also check out Kulturen. It’s an open air museum with historical buildings from all over Sweden. The museum also has an excellent Viking collection that includes original rune stones.
3. Castles or Beaches?
Beaches! How else will the Viking longboats be able to land? 🙂
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you?
English is my second language. My native tongue is Swedish. (And according to my mother, I’m a horrible speller in both. 🙂 )
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
Binge reading and binge watching TV. I love reading a long series in one go (see above answer about The Tracers series) and same for watching a TV series episode after episode without pausing. I call it “researching story structure,” but it’s really because I love being totally immersed in a story and have a hard time letting go of characters and worlds that I’ve fallen in love with.
6. What musical or play do you want to see?
Hamilton! Seriously, 16 Tony Awards nominations! I have to see this musical.
7. Roadtrip or Fly?
Roadtrip! That way I don’t have to make agonizing decisions about which shoes to bring. 🙂
8. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
A few years ago, my husband and I quit our jobs and went backpacking in India, South East Asia, Australia, and Europe for a year. I loved being a nomad and having everything I needed in one bag. The freedom of staying longer than planned in places we liked and living earlier if we didn’t really agreed with me. And the side trips we did based on other backpackers’ recommendations allowed us to discover hidden gems not mentioned in any guidebooks. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were under strict orders to come home and attend my brother’s wedding, we’d probably still be on that trip. (And yes, I only had two pairs of shoes with me at any time: one pair of hiking boots and one pair of walking sandals. Although, I replaced both several times since we did a lot of walking and trekking. 🙂 )
Excerpt from Viking Warrior Rising
Leif stepped through the doorway. A black long-sleeved T-shirt strained over his shoulders and broad chest. A pair of black jeans hung low on his hips. All that darkness highlighted the radiance of his ice-blue eyes and the angled planes of his face.
Leif strode toward her, stopping a few paces away, concern on his face. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she croaked. The air between them crackled, making the hairs on her arms stand up. Was she the only one feeling this?
He took a step closer and cupped her cheek in his palm. “Are you sure? You look a little pale.”
She resisted the urge to rest her head in his hand. “No, I’m fine.” She took a step back.
“We found one more bug in the game room.” Her voice sounded rough.
“Ulf told me.” He stepped toward her, eyes blazing.
“We’re working on the computers tomorrow,” she whispered, taking another step back. He crowded her. His body heat confused her, making her want impossible things. She cleared her throat. “It shouldn’t take us long to improve your firewall and install a few security checks.”
Leif watched her silently.
“You want to sit down?” She gestured toward the arm chairs.
“Sure,” he said, but didn’t move.
Naya had to step around him. Her skin sizzled when her arm accidently brushed against his. Relieved, she sank down in one of the blue chairs. A small table created a barrier between her and Leif. “So,” she said. “You were going to explain what makes you different from regular humans.”
He sat down in the empty chair, elbows on knees, studying his clasped hands. After a few moments he tilted his head and looked at her. “I’ll try to answer all of your questions, but some of this may sound a little crazy.”
“I’ll keep an open mind.”
Leif’s eyes met hers. Whatever he saw in them seemed to satisfy him. “I died in 1050.” He paused, watching her reaction.
Naya kept her gasp from escaping and instead nodded encouragingly.
“In the Norse culture, warriors who die in battle or die a heroic violent death are sent to live with the gods in Asgard. The men spend their time training in Valhalla with Odin. The women are schooled by Freya.”
Naya’s mind reeled. What he described didn’t seem possible, but he was so sincere. Obviously he believed his story to be true. “I thought there were only male warriors in the Nordic tradition.”
“Most stories are based on the old Icelandic sagas. They describe Valkyries as leading the men to Valhalla.”
“And that’s not the way it is?”
Leif smiled. “The sagas were all written by men long after the Viking age ended. They didn’t know what happened in Freya’s meadow and took some poetic license.”
“So, typically male, instead of just saying ‘I don’t know,’ you make up shit instead.”
He smiled, his dimples stealing her breath. Again.
She looked away. “So, this place where the gods live, this is the Nordic heaven?”
“Not exactly. It’s the warriors’ reward for dying an honorable death. They are allowed to live on, to fight again.” He studied his hands. “I don’t remember much of Valhalla. Time flows differently there. All my memories run together as if they happened the same week.”
She looked up to find him watching her. “I’m sorry, I’m trying to follow what you’re saying. But—”
“It is a little crazy?” He smiled.
“A little.” A lot.
“Is it any crazier than being abducted and kept in a camp? Any crazier than enhancement injections?”
So maybe her history was a little nutty, but living with gods? Seriously, way crazier. “So, why are you not in Valhalla?”
Leif sighed. “If you thought I was delusional before…” He smirked. “In addition to the Icelandic sagas, there are ancient rune stones that speak of a Viking king defeating Loki and preventing the final battle, Ragnarök.”
I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. Her forehead furrowed.
“Loki is also a god, well, half god, half giant. He likes to stir up trouble. The old stories depict him as a ‘trickster.’ But that is too benevolent for what he is. He can’t leave the gods’ dwelling, so instead he sends his minions to earth to instigate the final battle—minions like the wolverines.”
“Sending monsters to kill you does seem more serious than a practical joke.” How did this Loki tie in with the wolverines being created in the lab? She shook her head. “What about the battle you mentioned?”
“The Icelandic Sagas foretell a battle between the gods and their enemies. According to legend, Ragnarök destroys the world and all of civilization.”
“Why does Loki want to destroy the world?”
“He thinks he’ll be the only surviving deity and thereby rule the universe.”
“But there’s a king who can stop this?” Naya scooted closer to the edge of the seat.
His blue eyes bore into hers. “That’s how some interpret the ancient rune stones.”
“And you are that king?”
“That’s what Odin and Freya think.”
Naya couldn’t process what he’d told her while he watched her so intently. She stood, the heat of his gaze tracking her, prickling her skin.
Get your copy of Viking Warrior Rising (Viking Warriors) here:
It’s $0.99 for a short while.
Read for yourself and see why this book has a DOUBLE RITA nomination for Best First Book AND Paranormal Romance category.
To find out who wins the 2016 RITA in each category head over to Romance Writers of America on July 16 at 8PM PT. Winners will be announced and be sure to follow #RITAGH and #RWA16 for all the news that night!
Good Luck to all!
2016 double RITA® finalist Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Vikings and Valkyries in her paranormal romances. She arrived in the US as a high school exchange student and quickly became addicted to ranch dressing and cop shows. Asa currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. She graduated from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers program at Eastern Washington University with an MFA in creative writing and also holds an MS in Medical Physics from the University of Colorado. Visit her at www.AsaMariaBradley.com, or follow her on Twitter @AsaMariaBradley.