Interview with Lars Walker, Author of 'West Oversea"


Lars Walker grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota. He has worked as (among other things) a crab meat handler in Alaska, a radio announcer, an administrative assistant, and a librarian, and he does Norwegian translation. He is the author of several published fantasy novels, the latest of which is West Oversea, published by Nordskog Publications.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Lars. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m fairly well known as one of the dullest men in North America. I decided to be a writer back in high school, because in books and TV shows, writers were always irresistible to women. (I hadn’t yet figured out that books and TV shows are written by writers.) I started the story that became my first novel around 1970, and eventually got (a different book) published in 1997. So my road to book publication only took a little more than 25 years.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I’ve been a Viking buff most of my life. I’ve read most everything I could find on the subject since I was ten or so. (Writing a book about it makes it tax-deductible). My latest book, West Oversea, tells of a Norwegian chieftain, Erling Skjalgsson (a real historical character, by the way) who gives up his property and power rather than do a shameful deed. With his friends and family, he sets sail west to visit Leif Eriksson (whom he probably actually knew) in Greenland. But bad weather and supernatural forces make the voyage a lot longer and more dangerous than they plan. They spend time in Iceland, and even visit a new land recently discovered by Leif.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

Locations are always a challenge, when you write about places you’ve never visited. I’ve been to Norway several times, and spent a little time in Iceland. I’ve also been to L’Anse Aux Meadows, the Viking archaeological site in Newfoundland. But I had to rely on research for my Greenland scenes.

Deep water sailing is something else I had to research. I found some excellent books on the North Atlantic navigation, and managed to run down a fellow who’d done a sailing voyage to Norway. He vetted the manuscript for me in return for dinner (also deductible).

Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

I’ll have to refer you to my publisher for that.

Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

I’ve done some radio interviews, which are fun for a former DJ. I do lectures on the Vikings, on invitation, to groups in Minneapolis and points thereabout. I always bring books to sell.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I don’t have an agent at the present time. I had one for many years; he passed away not long ago. Having an agent is generally an advantage to an author. I do recommend it. If anybody knows an easy way to get one, let me know.

Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

Nordskog was quite generous with print advertising, and we got some excellent web reviews. I also did the radio interviews I mentioned earlier.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I hope to chronicle the whole saga of Erling Skjalgsson’s remarkable life. And I have a few modern and near-future fantasies in the pipeline as well.

Thank you for your interview, Lars. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My author’s web site is http://www.larswalker.com/. I share a blog at http://www.brandywinebooks.net/, and I blog occasionally at http://www.stkarnick.com/ and http://merecomments.typepad.com/. West Oversea can be ordered from Amazon, or from my publisher at http://www.sendmethatbook.com/.
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