That Strange Little Place in the Mountains

  

If you’re feeling a little burned out, there’s no better place to go to refill the well than Røros — which is just what a friend and I did this summer. It’s not far from home at all, just a few hours’ train ride, but I have rarely been there in summer. Røros is more of a winter place with a huge annual fair in freezing temperatures — an ongoing tradition since 1854.

Røros was founded as a mining town in 1644, when they found copper — and later silver — in the area. The mining was the backbone of the community until the mines closed in 1977. The harsh conditions for the workers has been an inspiration for several works of fiction, the most famous being Johan Fakberget’s three volume series Nattens brød (1940-1959). The movie An-Magritt (1966), starring Liv Ullmann, was based on Falkberget’s books.

The beautiful location high up in the mountains and the 17/18th century architecture has drawn a lot of creative people to Røros, and the town today is a playful cross between a artist colony and a living museum. The considerable number of authentic buildings still standing earned Røros a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1980, and has made it a coveted movie location. The town has in the latter years gained a reputation as a gourmet haven with several local specialties on offer, especially dairy and meat products. In addition, Røros has always had a  considerable Sami population (of which many still keep reindeer herds) adding another cultural layer to the mix.

We weren’t there just for the food though. We were there for the dead soldiers.
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Best News Ever

Last night, while I was already sipping bubbly things at the annual office Christmas party — I got an e-mail with this beautiful gem of a screen cap:

Yup, it’s true. My strange, little novel has found a home with Tor, and I just couldn’t be happier!

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This Year’s Summer Reads

I’m not sure if my summer reads are what most people consider summer reads. I tend not to choose the easy breezy ones — although I often like them when I do. This year’s load of novels is no exception, though, and I’ve gleefully read about about darkness and mayhem through hot, sunny days. Sunscreen and monsters are excellent companions.

These are the ones I liked the most:

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The One Book to Rule Them All

Rereading this one — am looking forward to feeling slightly insane for a while.

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The Dead Next Door

From I was nine to nineteen, I lived on the wooden half of a former island studded with ancient burial mounds. It’s not hard to see why the place has always been inhabited: the soil is rich, there was game in the woods, fresh water and easy access to the sea.

As kids, we didn’t pay much attention to the mounds – we knew what they were, of course, but they were also excellent castles or houses when needed be, especially since the grave robbers of yore had left shallow pits in some of them, digging in to search for gold. To us, these pits became separate rooms and chambers in our woodland castles.

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Some Very Good Reasons to Like Elisabeth of Bavaria

Erzsebet_kiralyne_photo_1867

O loved ones who live in distant times to come
and who now speaks to my soul,
will often be in your company:
will be revived when you read a poem.

Sometimes an odd bird flies into a royal cage. Elisabeth of Bavaria, “Sisi”, (1837 – 1898) was one of them. Strange and out of place, she spent much of her life battling mental illness and a sense of solitude. Although her struggles are well known today, she  still she is revered as the ultimate fairy tale princess: beautiful, mysterious and tragic.

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Cake in Vienna

This week, I was in Vienna.

This is what I saw:

Everything is big in Vienna.

Everything is big in Vienna

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Best reads in 2015

I read a lot last year. Much of it was mediocre, some of it bad, and a few books were shiny, glittering gems.

These are the jewels:

wylding hall

Wylding Hall by Elisabeth Hand

This is my no. 1 read last year, it still haunts me months after I finished – in a good way.

In the free-spirited 70’s a folk band is sent by their manager to Wylding Hall to work on their new album. During their stay they encounter a number of peculiar phenomenons and situations, culminating in the unexplained disappearance of their lead singer, the enigmatic Julian Blake. The story is told through a series of interviews with the remaining band members and acquaintances almost forty years later.

I fell head over heels for the unexplained mystery at the heart of the novel and the fascinating bits of folklore and legends. The ending sent chills down my spine.

Add to that great characters and beautiful writing, and it’s a winner.

Wrens are spooky birds!

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The Worst Guy…

I am quickly approaching 40, falling by every definition into the spinster category: unmarried, unwooed and with my very own cat collection (albeit a small one, counting only two). What does not appear in this picture however, is that I am already in a relationship; long-standing, demanding, at times quite awful, at other times worth it all. I have fallen under the spell of the worst guy of all: THE MUSE!

framed faerie

“But,” people say, “muses are Greek goddesses running across meadows in fluttering garments.” I laugh at them then, loud and shrilling. “No, I say, “Muses can take any shape they want. They are cunning and treacherous and quite possibly lethal. ONE thing is certainly for sure: they WILL take over your life.”

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Favorite Tarot Decks

For the last couple of decades I’ve been a notorious collector of tarot decks. I think the main reason for this obsession (besides the obvious prettiness of the cards), is that I couldn’t get them where I grew up. As an aspiring wiccan in the early nineties I read books about the cards, marveled at their mysterious (or not so mysterious) origins, and their complex (or not so complex) symbolism. But there were nowhere to buy them in rural Norway at that time, and internet shopping was still not a thing, so I was left gawking at book pages with no chance of getting an actual deck.

I saw a deck once, at a music festival in Oslo. I was fourteen at the time, on vacation with my family – and had already blown my money on other trinkets and bubble gum. I hovered by the stall that had them on display for hours, aching in my little chest because I couldn’t get my paws on the shiny deck. I knew there was no way my mother would allow me to borrow money for something like that, so I had to leave empty handed.

Twenty-five years later it still hurts.

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