STEPHEN CHRISTIANSEN: ORBBELGGUREN MEANS SPIDER KILLERS
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Stephen Christiansen is the author of epic fantasy series Orbbelgguren. If you are fans of dark elves, you will enjoy for sure the books. It’s time now for our next interview. Please welcome Mr. Stephen Christiansen.
– Stephen, what is your fantasy series Orbbelgguren about?
– The Orbbelgguren series has many plot lines that twist and turn and it’s hard to really pin-point anything without giving away the surprise ending. However, among these various plot lines, we see a set of dark elves that learn more about themselves and each other. They grow, mature and develop relationships. They establish depth of character in a world that hates and fears them. As everything they know changes, as war erupts around them, as the world starts to die, they find that they must adapt and change as well.
Each book seems to introduce a little bit of the real plot line and over time the reader will begin to understand what the series is really about. However, expect the unexpected. I think the reader will be pleasantly surprised.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I’ve always been fascinated with dark elves and as I experimented in my mind about different characters, I began to see how they would relate to each other. When I finally started to create a background for each character, I was able to see how these backgrounds could interact with each other. I guess good characters really do write themselves.
I read a series called “The War of the Spider Queen” and thought “Why should that series only be a 6 book series, why not 8? Wouldn’t it be better to have 8 books for a Spider Queen?” That’s when I thought that I could add some of my stories together to create an 8 book series. Eight books became 10, then 14, then with 3 offshoot stories, then 17 (so now 20 total).
I’ve let my mind wander and let the characters do what they are supposed to do. From there, it’s only a matter of putting “pen to paper.”
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The biggest challenge is to have confidence that the words will come. Sometimes the write-up process falls short of an entire book and I start to wonder if the book will wind up happening. But, I always surprise myself with great ideas. The next biggest challenge is to not be distracted. However, once I get going, I find that these challenges easily go away.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Hmm, that’s going to take a bit of understanding of the series to know more about the “main character.” The main character changes from book to book. This not only includes the hero and heroine, but the villains as well. I’ll take the time to talk about the most noted heroine, Medri.
Medri was a throw-away character. She was supposed to be a necromancer mage that sat in the background, who tossed in a few undead, and didn’t do much of anything beyond that. She had no personality and no voice. Yet each time I needed a female dark elf to rise to the situation, it was Medri that my mind continued to go to. It was then that I came to understand that she had more personality that I realized.
Medri is a strong, independent female dark elf necromancer. She comes from a society of abuse and neglect. When she finally gets burned one too many times, she finds that she must strike out on her own.
She learns to trust, learns to build relationships, and learns to give up control. She learns humility and sacrifice while keeping her strong will. It’s a long and hard road for her but she ends up being a better individual than she thought possible.
I guess I can relate to her journey. I can understand trying to get over a rough past, isolation, abuse, and rejection. Medri has an inner strength that has inspired me, something that I tried to strive for.
There are many other characters in the story that are reflections of friends that I’ve come to know over the years. They each take a spot light and become the main character if only for a short time. I hope that I’ve been able to capture their personalities and depth of character as I’ve seen through my eyes. These characters and the real people that they represent will always have a special place in my heart.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Each book takes a little over 3 months to write, at the average of about 100 thousand words each, and almost another month to edit, but I guess it depends on how long the book is. I write about a thousand words a day so my longest book with 120 thousand words took closer to 4 months to write and a little over one month to edit. I’ve been writing every day for several years and I’m almost done with my 11th book.
– What is the meaning of the series title?
– The word “Orbbelgguren” is dark elf and needs to be broken down for its translation. Orbb = Spider. Elggur = killer. En = plural. So the literal translation means “Spider Killers.”
However, the dark elves are known to twist words and give double meanings. This could mean “spiders that kill” or “those that kill spiders” and since dark elves follow a spider queen, each implication is very significant. I won’t reveal which one applies as this plays into some of the twists of the plot lines.
– Who are you?
– My name is Stephen Christiansen. I’m 45 years old and am the oldest of four siblings. I’m married to a beautiful wife and we’ve just hit 17 years of marriage. We have a wonderful 13 year old daughter and live in Washington State. We are very active in our community and help with Camp Fire USA.
I was a navy brat and moved around a lot. I’ve been very fortunate to experience many different cultures, and visit some of the most wonderful places. I love to travel and have visited ancient civilizations, great forest, desolate deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, and wondrous mountains.
It is my hope to project my aspects of life as father, husband and traveler into the stories that I write.
– What are your writing habits?
– I like to go upstairs to the study and write when I can. I try to average about a thousand words a day, more or less depending on how distracted I become. When I’m out cabin camping in the woods, I can write about 3 to 4 thousand words a day. Some days are dedicated to developing story plot lines, others is about character development, while other days are for research. (Yes, there is a lot of research even for a fantasy/fiction book.)
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– I can’t say that I’m satisfied by the sales of the series yet, but it’s still early. I’m not looking for an overnight success or for the book to go viral (although that would be nice). I think a small fan base, who can appreciate the hidden Easter eggs, hidden meanings, is what I’m looking for. Once the series starts to circulate into the right circles I’m sure the sales will start to pick up and do well.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– First, I inform my friends and family. They help promote my book by words of mouth. Next, I tweet, use Facebook and Goodreads. I spend most of my time writing the series and less promoting, so any help in the field of promotion is much appreciated.
Hopefully, once the series hits the right circles, they will take off and promote themselves.
– When we will see your next novel?
– My first offshoot book, “Emilia”, is about 75% done and I hope to finish it by the end of the year. My goal is to finish the editing by the end of Jan 2015 and release it then. Then it’s off to the next book, book 11 of the series, “Grandfolk”.
“Grandfolk” will take place right after book 10 “The Troll Wars.” Here, we are going to see what happens to the world after a great war has left it to die. There will be survivors’ remorse, anguish over lost loved ones, guilt about decisions that had to be made, ghosts haunting those that made these decisions, but worse yet there is a vacuum of power that will be filled.
The individual that comes to power has been driven mad by watching his god die and has been made insane by traveling through time too often. He will stop at nothing to ensure that his species survives, even if it means destroying everything else. He will be able to bring back the dead and turn them against their loved ones. The war is over, the nightmare has just begun. Death is only the beginning.
– Do you have other writing works except Orbbelgguren series?
– At this point, I don’t have any other writing works. This is my first published works, although I have several unpublished that I would need some major work before being made public.
I’ve kicked around a few ideas. I would like to do a conspiracy novel, similar to “Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco, a two-book detective series, and a story about a small desert town done in a Stephen King style. I’m also thinking about bringing some of my short stories together and giving them a common theme, so the whole book is one story about several stories all tied together. I would also like to start to compile some of my best poetry.
– What (where) are you working and how (does) your job experience helps you in your creativity?
– I currently work at a durable medical equipment provider as a medical biller. My wife and I work at the same place and we have work together for the majority of our marriage.
While working at my currently location, I’m able to see the physical and emotional needs of individuals. This has helped inspire me to add compassion to my characters, the ability to empathize and sympathize with their world around them. Since these dark elves come from a society where compassion doesn’t exist, this bit of depth of character is critical to their development.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– I think the one question I would ask is: What are your influences in your writing?
There are many things that have influenced my writing and I hope that I give them their due justice.
My experiences in life play a major role. I hope to bring some of the places I’ve been to and some of the trials of my life into the series. I find that this series is a catharsis and a reflection of my life.
Then there are specific authors that have made a great impact. These include R.A. Salvatore, Stephen King, and my favorite Edgar Allen Poe. You can see a huge impact from R.A. Salvatore in most of my books but there is definitely an influence from King shown in book 7, “Qu’ellar B’Nossta” and more so in the one I’m writing now, “Emilia?”.
Finally there’s certain shows that I used to watch that have contributed. These include “The Outer Limits”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Ray Bradbury”, and “Tales from the Dark Side.” These have given me off-the-wall plot lines, twists, turns and different perspectives. I think the reader will be able to see some of these influences in the series and will be pleasantly surprised.
Take a look at his book
Orbbelgguren Series Book X The Troll Wars