True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Featured Author: James Erich

James Erich
James Erich James Erich has had a passion for young adult fiction since he was a teenager himself. In his high school and college years, he was saddened to see how few positive stories with gay protagonists there were, but is delighted to see that changing. Though he has previously published adult titles under another pen name, James recently joined the ranks of YA novelists, with the publication of his first YA novel, Seidman. He is openly gay and lives with his husband in the small town of Raymond, NH.

Visit James Erich's website:

Q&A with Author James Erich:

  1. If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

    It would be fascinating to be Kol, in Seidman, to not only experience what it was like to live in the Viking Age, but also because Kol has magical abilities such as transforming into animals that would be wonderful to experience. But I think I would rather be Sael, in my new novel, Dreams of Fire and Gods: Dreams. Sael is nobility, so he lives a rather… comfortable life, doted upon by servants. At the same time, like Kol, he’s also a sorcerer, so he can fly and cast firebolts. He’s also an excellent swordsman.

  2. Seidman was based on Norse Mythology and we heard that you were fascinated by Vikings. So, please tell us are you going to give us another taste of YA Vikings in the future?

    I’m sure I will. Viking Age Iceland and Scandinavia is something that I’ve been fascinated by for most of my life. I also have a minor pet peeve about other YA novels on the subject. While they may be excellent, they are almost all about young (heterosexual) men growing up to be warriors. We haven’t heard much about gay men and women in that time period and we haven’t heard much about what it was like to be anything but a warrior. I’d like to write more stories from the perspective of farmers, sorcerers, merchants, bards… all the other people who made up Viking Age society.

  3. We haven’t seen too many YA historical fantasies in LGBT. Please tell us what inspired you to write Seidman?

    As I mentioned, I’ve been fascinated by Vikings for most of my life. I’ve become quite a scholar on the subject, reading books from academic presses in Scandinavia and teaching myself how to read Old Norse, the language the Vikings spoke. (There were a few dialects – I’ve been learning Old Icelandic, because that’s the language most of the Sagas are written in.) It occurred to me that I would like to read a story that presented me with more realism than what I’d been seeing. I wanted to know what it was like to really be present in that time and place—what people ate, what they did on holidays, what their bathrooms were like. And how would a gay, intelligent-but-not-very-athletic guy like me find a place in their world? So I created a character somewhat like myself—Kol Bjarnason—dropped him into Viking Age Iceland. Then I asked myself, What happens now?

  4. What other exciting books do you have released or will be coming soon?

    Book one of my new YA fantasy trilogy has just been released through Harmony Ink Press. It’s called Dreams of Fire and Gods: Dreams. This time the world is one I’ve created, but I put as much thought into the details of it as I did with Seidman. It begins as a standard sort of high fantasy novel, with an old wizard escorting two young men, Sael and Koreh, across a hostile landscape, so that Sael can return to his brother’s castle. Along the way, they do battle with monsters and assassins and wizards. But where it hopefully becomes more than a stock fantasy is when these characters gradually become aware that they are pawns in a much larger battle between two ancient factions of gods. And in fact Sael and Koreh are to be key players in this battle.

  5. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    Gay men and women have been present in all cultures and periods throughout history, despite the fact that our history books rarely tell us this. I think it’s essential that the LGBT community begin to see themselves reflected in all of human history, and in all the literary genres as well. A decade ago, if a gay teen wanted to read a story about a gay Viking or a gay sorcerer or a gay astronaut, there was next to nothing to choose from. That’s changing now and I’m very excited to be a part of the change.

Now Available from James Erich:

While Sael and his father, Vek Worlen, attempt to keep their respective cities from coming apart under the strain of frightening magical influences or being destroyed outright by the gods, Koreh is informed of an extremely dangerous plan that the Taaweh have to rescue their goddess from the Stronni: a plan that only he and Sael can carry off.

In the meantime, a young man named Donegh begins to piece together what happened in Harleh Valley, as he makes his way through an increasingly alien landscape, intent on carrying out his mission to assassinate the Dekan of Harleh, Sael dönz Menaük.

A thousand years ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak by warring for the land and the frightened humans who lived there. Then suddenly the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.

Now, as tensions escalate between the emperor and his regent, Vek Worlen, the vek’s son, apprentice mage Sael dönz Menaük, finds himself allied with a homeless vagabond named Koreh. Together they flee the capital city and make their way across a hostile wilderness to the vek’s keep, mere steps ahead of the emperor’s assassins.

But Koreh has dreams—dreams of the ancient Taaweh—and he knows the looming war between the emperor and the vek will be nothing compared to the war that is about to begin. The Taaweh are returning, and the war between the gods may destroy the kingdom once and for all.

In Viking Age Iceland, where boys are expected to grow into strong farmers and skilled warriors, there is little place for a sickly twelve-year-old boy like Kol until he catches the eye of a seið-woman—a sorceress—and becomes her apprentice. Kol travels to the sorceress’s home, where her grandson, Thorbrand, takes Kol under his wing. Before long Kol discovers something else about himself that is different—something else that sets him apart as unmanly: Kol has fallen in love with another boy.

But the world is changing in ways that threaten those who practice the ancient arts. As Kol’s new life takes him across the Norse lands, he finds that a new religion is sweeping through them, and King Olaf Tryggvason is hunting down and executing sorcerers. When a decades-old feud forces Thorbrand to choose between Kol and his duty to his kinsman, Kol finds himself cast adrift with only the cryptic messages of an ancient goddess to guide him to his destiny—and possibly to his death.

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