note from kaye: While I haven't had a chance to yet read Resa's books, I was instantly taken in by her description of a strong female MC in a world where it's difficult for them to step forward and take charge. I'd also like to note that perhaps this post may include trigger warnings for some with regards to sexual harassment, so please take that into consideration before reading.
How I Chose the Journey for Astrid, the Female Blacksmith Hero of the Dragonslayer Series:
My first fantasy series is the 4-book Dragonslayer series, and it revolves around the adventures of a female blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers. I’ve always loved the Viking culture, especially because of the rights women had in that culture. So I created a world that’s parallel to ours, and I decided to choose an easily recognizable Scandinavian name for my hero, Astrid. But the real story behind the story is how I chose her journey. It began many years ago when I worked as a receptionist at the corporate headquarters of a big company. As the receptionist, I was the least powerful person in the company. So when I was propositioned by a vice president (who had a wife and two young children), I felt shocked and disappointed. I thought we had a good working relationship, and his advances made me feel betrayed. At the same time, I knew speaking up could put my job at risk. There had been an earlier incident where I’d made a complaint about another man who had a recorded history of stalking women, and the company had let me down by failing to take appropriate action and treating me as if my concerns weren’t legitimate. The company I worked for had already proved that it couldn’t be trusted. I knew if I complained about the vice president, he’d probably lie, and I’d probably get fired. So I had to figure out how to protect myself at work while keeping my job.
That’s how Astrid’s journey began. I wondered what it would be like if I had a job where people depended on me to have a good working relationship with a man who protected them from harm. If I’d written a mystery story, I might have written a story about a female beat cop being propositioned by an important detective or district attorney or judge. If I’d written a science fiction story, I might have written about a lowly lab assistant being propositioned by a scientist who held the answer for keeping the planet from being destroyed by an incoming asteroid. Because I decided to write a fantasy story, it made perfect sense for me to write about a female blacksmith who provides weapons to the dragonslayer who keeps her village safe. To raise the stakes, the village has always been protected by a dragonslayer who is her friend and sweetheart. But when he vanishes without a trace, the village hires a stranger to replace him – it’s this stranger who propositions Astrid. And she has to figure out what to do about it without putting everyone she cares about in danger. After all, if the new dragonslayer decides to stop protecting the village, they’re all at risk of being killed by a dragon.
Many years ago, being propositioned at work was one of the most horrible things I’d ever experienced. That vice president had no respect for his wife or his family or me. He only wanted what he wanted with no regard for how his actions would hurt other people. The funny thing is that while I have no desire to ever see or speak with him again, I’m grateful for what happened because otherwise Astrid wouldn’t exist, much less the entire Dragonslayer series!
(If you’d like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at http://www.resanelson.com/files. No cost, no obligation, nothing to sign up for, no information gathering. I like giving away samples of my work so you can decide for yourself whether you like it or not. Also, you can enter to win signed copies of the first three novels in my Dragonslayer series on GoodReads at this link: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness. You can get 10% off my books (ebooks and paperbacks) when you buy them from my publisher (www.mundania.com). Enter this code at checkout: MP10.)
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.
Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom. Her first novel, The Dragonslayer's Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November. Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended." Resa lives in Massachusetts.