The Gatewatch is a fantasy novel with roots in Norse mythology and it releases today! I was lucky enough to chat with author Joshua Gillingham about his exciting debut.
Hi Joshua. Tell me about your book. I can guess what it’s about from the cover, but what’s the story?
Hello Trey! Thank you for having me on. The Gatewatch is a troll-hunting misadventure inspired by the Norse Myths and Icelandic Sagas; it is my debut novel and I am excited to share that it will officially launch on May 17th, 2020. The Gatewatch is perfect for fans of all-things Viking ages fourteen and up. Here is a quick overview of the story.
Torin Ten-Trees and his closest companions, Bryn and Grimsa, set out to join The Gatewatch and become trollhunters. When a troupe of meddling dwarves throws them off course they are captured by trolls and taken as prisoners to a secret gathering deep underground. There they learn that an ancient giant has crowned himself king of the trolls and plans to utterly destroy The Gatewatch. Their perilous journey back to the land of sun and stars will stretch their strength to the limit, strain their wits, and demand an unspeakable sacrifice. But will it be enough to defeat the Troll King? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out…
That sounds exciting! Can we expect more books in the series?
Yes! In fact, I am already finished Book 2: The Everspring and am well into Book 3: The Elder Trees. Therefore the Saga of Torin Ten-Trees, as it currently stands, will be a classic fantasy trilogy. My hope is to release Book 2: The Everspring late in 2020 after it has run the long and bloody gauntlet of the editing process.
I love your cover. Did you have a hand in how it ended up looking or was that all up to the designer?
Ah yes, the cover! I did have a part to play in its design, but only a small one. The art is by the incomparable Hela Rosova, though many in the online Viking history community might know better by her DeviantArt username, Hellanim. Her artwork is absolutely stunning and the moment I saw some of her depictions of the Norse Myths online I knew I wanted her to design my book covers. We connected online (she is in Europe and I’m in Canada so we had to manage time zones) and we immediately bonded over our interest in the myths and the challenges of modern representations. It was incredible watching the cover take shape and, without a doubt, it exceeded all my expectations. Hela is so knowledgeable about the myths and has such an eye for detail that I truly could not have had better luck finding a cover artist for The Gatewatch. I am glad to announce that she is already designing the cover for the next book in the series!
May 17th is the Norwegian Constitution Day. It seems fitting for a book rooted in Norse folklore. Were you aware of this or is this by chance?
Yes, this was definitely intentional. The Gatewatch was actually slated for release on Leif Erikson Day (October 9th, 2019), but due to some publication delays it was pushed back a few months. When my editor at Crowsnest Books suggested a launch in May I knew that May 17th, or Syttende Mai as it is known in Norway, would be the perfect day to launch. I am personally quite new to this whole book marketing thing and so I’ve been learning a lot on the fly. There are some great articles online if you don’t have a background in such things and, of course, publishers are also a great resource because they are in the business of selling books and know it best.
Thank you for chatting with me Joshua, and good luck with the book. What are you hoping your readers are left with when they read The Gatewatch?
The Gatewatch was born of my fascination with the Norse Myths and with Viking history. I hope to have distilled some of that feeling into its essence in the narrative of the story. If readers experience a glimpse of that same awe and wonder then I have accomplished what I set out to do. Further, I think that a lot of modern Sci Fi and Fantasy tends towards a certain brand of amoral dystopic pessimism which can be quite corrosive to the human spirit. The characters in The Gatewatch face a dire threat but their response is not to give up or to view the whole situation as hopeless or to commit heinously immoral acts in order to save themselves while abandoning others. Instead, they use every ounce of strength and wit in an all-or-nothing gambit to save their homeland realm of Noros, an effort that requires both boldness and virtue. In that sense, I hope that readers finish the book with a sense of instilled courage which inspires them to be brave and face the ‘trolls’ that they encounter in their own life.
Well, there you have it. The Gatewatch by Joshua Gillingham releases today, and sounds like it will fit right at home with any lover of Viking history and Norse mythology.