Organized by Storytellers On Tour, today, along with several other bloggers and bookstagrammers, we present to you Windborn, Alex S. Bradshaw‘s debut Norse Mythology inspired Dark Fantasy novel, in celebration of its release! Make sure to check out their posts as well!
Today I have some special content for you. I invited Alex to take part in one of my features called Party with the Stars and we even had a little chat, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post along with the giveaway, and believe me, you want to enter this one!
Have you ever wondered what might happen if an author could throw a party of their choice and not only could they invite their MC(s) but other literary figures as well? In this feature, I ask them to imagine exactly that scenario and some more. Meet Alex S. Bradshaw and his company, and let’s get the party started!
aka The Author
Alex S. Bradshaw grew up in Kent in the UK and spent much of his childhood hiding (sometimes under tables) and reading a book. He has always been a fan of epic stories (as well as dinosaurs and cake) so it came as no surprise to anyone that he went on to study Classics and Ancient History at university. Now Alex works in publishing and has turned his hand to making epic stories of his own.
Alex invites you to a barbeque!
It would be a lovely open space where people can mingle, take a drink of whatever they fancy, and we can cook plenty of food on the grill. As this party is being thrown in honour of Windborn and its characters, the occasion is just getting everybody together! Everyone’s been through the wringer recently so this would be an occasion to hang out with friends and have a drink in real space (not over Zoom!).
It feels particularly fitting right now, but if we were throwing a party to celebrate after Windborn (I’m not sure any events in the book call for a party!) it would be: a reunion.
aka The MC(s)
I’m pleased to introduce you all to Edda Gretasdottir. Yes, that’s her the fearsome looking woman over there with the braided blonde hair. Please, don’t be alarmed by all the scars. She’s good fun at a party, I promise, it’s just that she’s been raiding for years and gotten into a few nasty fights recently. Edda’s been a raider for a number of years now, she’s been across the sea to Ertland and earned her share of plunder, which means that she’s pretty good at holding her drink! In fact, she had a drinking contest with her husband on the day she met him (in case you’re wondering it ended in a draw)! She might seem a bit grumpy, but she’s been through a lot. If you hand her a drink and tell her a good story and don’t ask her about her scars then you’ll find she’s good company!
I think, for Edda’s sake, I would invite her friends. She had to leave plenty of people behind as she picked up her axe and sought revenge so it would be nice for her to be able to see them again! Specifically, she had to leave her lifelong friend and shield-sister, Fjola, behind. I’m sure she’d love to see her and Fjola’s family again.
The Main Attraction
Apart from the pleasure of mine and Edda’s company, the main attraction is the never-ending, ever-cold booze (courtesy of Edda’s supernatural icy powers) and the enormous hog roast just over there. Go and make yourself a sandwich, but don’t forget the apple sauce! We’ve also made up some lovely grilled veggies, mushrooms and halloumi for any vegetarians. Now that you’ve got that, enjoy the spectacular view! Just turn that corner and the whole mountain view will will open up before you. You can see a couple of fjords, a sweep of forest. Really, what better way to enjoy good food and the company of friends?
Drown by Bring Me The Horizon
Not only does this song fit in ridiculously well with the tagline of Windborn (Drowning is only the beginning…) so do the first couple of lines of the verses: “What doesn’t kill you / makes you wish you were dead” and “What doesn’t destroy you / leaves you broken instead”
At the start of Edda’s journey she loses everything and wishes she was dead, feels like she’s broken.
Sleep In The Sea by Dayseeker
This is another one that fits in very well with the theme of losing everything and also with the ocean taking things from you. When Edda returns from her final raid across the sea in Ertland it is the ocean that takes most from her. The lyrics of this song fit that very well and the soft and then heavy sound of the song also fits how Edda oscillates between grief and rage throughout her journey.
Death Is Not Defeat by Architects
For this song, we’re taking the energy of not giving up. No matter what’s happened. Not even death can stop you. This is the kind of energy that Edda brings to her journey. Nothing’s going to stop Edda so you better get out of her way, otherwise she’s going to take you down.
Seven Nation Army (covered) by Skald
We couldn’t have a party in Windborn’s honour and not have some Viking music! I love this version of Seven Nation Army. It’s got a Viking twist, it’s a great song, and it gets the blood pumping! I picked this song for Windborn because there are a fair few fights in it and they definitely get Edda’s blood thumping (as well as flowing if she’s not careful)!
Warrior Daughter by Wildwood Kin
It’s about time we had something a little more upbeat to get the party going! I really like this song. I love the warrior woman, empowerment vibe that it has – and Edda’s definitely a strong woman who never gives up so it feels doubly fitting! And, as we come to the end of the party it feels like a calmer vibe to catch up with friends than all the furious metal!
aka Who Let the MC(s) Loose?
Volund would sit in solitude, alone, save if approached by someone. He’s more into deep conversation than revels.
I have a feeling Edda will drink almost too much, probably challenging at least one person to a drinking contest before getting into a drunken fight with someone (hopefully not me…). Its nothing that couldn’t be smoothed over the next day with a hangover-curing breakfast though!
Welcome to the Asylum, Alex! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!
Thank you very much! It’s a pleasure to be here. Should I be worried about the people screaming? I suppose not, they’re quite far away. Ah, thank you, I’ll have one of those beers please, yes the porter would be lovely.
I’m Alex S. Bradshaw. I live in the south of the UK, not too far away from Stonehenge. A couple of things about me; dinosaurs are pretty much my favourite thing and one of my last D&D characters was a poison frog person who did martial arts.
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil?
After I’ve made the appropriate sacrifices to the almost-forgotten gods of storytelling and given the imps who control ideas their due, I try to find stories that I would want to read with compelling characters at the centre of them.
My favourite question to ask when I’m planning a story is: “What’s the worst that could happen?” And then that usually ends up being the direction the story heads in!
I suspect my characters do not like this question as much as I do…
Describe an asylum set in the world of your book, Windborn!
First off, you’d need some strong guards and probably magic to make sure the asylum can keep any kind of patient safe. So there will probably be a few superpowered Windborn to act as security as well as a few god-speakers and rune-weavers to use rune-magic to keep people safe. They would also use their rune-magic to heal people if they can, but safety is the number one concern!
It’s also probably best if this asylum’s somewhere a little out of the way. Thankfully there’s loads of small coastal islands in the world of Windborn so one of those would suit perfectly. It would also mean patients and staff could have a stroll along the beach to relax after a long day or call themselves down.
Your MC is locked in an asylum. What did he/she do to end up there?
If Edda’s been locked up in an asylum then it’s probably down to anger management issues. She’s got a lot of rage bubbling away inside her that she could use some professional help with (or someone to aim an axe at…)!
I’d hope that if she was getting some help in an asylum then they’d throw in a bit of grief counselling too.
Which fictional character (it can be one of yours) and/or author would you like to live with in an asylum and why?
I’m not sure any of my characters would want to be locked in with me for any length of time (or if they did, I don’t think I’d enjoy it!). It might be good to live with Kaimana from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld books Where The Waters Turn Black and To Dream And Die As A Taniwha Girl. She’s an expert musician – it’s her Knack – so I think we would keep each other entertained! (And maybe her monstrous sidekick, Raku, would bust us out!)
While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?
If it’s not cheating, Tor released an omnibus edition of Malazan: Book of the Fallen so… that! I love the Book of the Fallen series and I think that the 11,927 pages would keep me busy for a while!
Wait, that’s a hypothetical question, right?
Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*
At least leave me another beer!a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you’d like to get in touch with Alex S. Bradshaw, you can find him on social media:
Grab a copy of Windborn!