Friday, October 10, 2014


LGBT MONTH Author Interview: Nina Rossing

Posted in , , ,


About the Author:

Nina Rossing lives in Norway, where the winters are long and the summers short. Despite the brilliant nature surrounding her, she spends more time in front of her computer, or with a book in her hands, than in the great outdoors (though you may find her out on her mountain bike if the weather is good). She works as a high school teacher, which in her opinion is probably the best job in the world.

Nina is an avid and eclectic reader whose bookshelves are bursting (and so is her e-reader). After thinking about writing for many years, she now finds time to live out her dream after her kids are in bed. She prefers creating young adult stories where obstacles are overcome and endings are hopeful.
(Taken from Goodreads)

What made you want to become a writer?
I always loved to read, so when I wasn't reading, I made up stories in my head.  I was also painfully shy, so making up stories worked as an escape from the stressful real world.  I think I share that trait with a significant number of writers!

I loved writing stories in school, and I even came second in a YA short-story competition when I was seventeen (not a very good story, I might add - and that's not me being bashful about it either!), but I never felt I really had anything important to write about.  I think I read too many "serious" bppls. and felt I would never be able to match them with my limited life experience.  So I dreamed of writing a novel for many years, but never got around to actually doing it, until one day I decided to stop worrying about what kind of book I would write, and instead told myself to just get started on a story I would have liked to read.

So, a piece of advice to avid readers out there who think about writing: just do it.  Seriously.  If you let yourself be bogged down by what you think others will like or approve of, you'll never get a writing career.  Write what you want to write, and see where it takes you.  Sooner rather than later!

Where do you get your inspirations from? 
Maybe this sounds a bit dull – but I actually get very inspired through my job. Also, I have to say just paying attention to what is happening around the world provides tons of inspiration. I have so many ideas and not enough time!
As for my job, I’m a high school teacher, so I’m surrounded by lively people all day, and that is always good for inspiration. 
What inspires me can be really simple – for instance, a student says something in class, or writes a specific sentence that I notice in a paper, and then I start thinking and before I know it, I have something to work on that is usually completely different from what set off the idea in the first place.

Other than writing books, what else do you do in your free time?

I try to go out on my bike during summer months, because it’s nice exercise, and I like the forest. During winter it’s too dark and/or cold and/or snowy to ride a bike – for me at least –  so when I feel like doing something else than taking care of my kids, reading books and trying to catch up with friends and TV series, I have a spinning bike that I ride while watching Modern Family on my computer. 40 minutes of spinning = two episodes. Brilliant!

If you could work with another author, who would it be?

I had to think real hard about this one, because there are so many writers I admire, but also so many of those that I think I'm not at all compatible with when it cones to writing.  I wouldn't have minded writing a novel with a make writer where he writes chapters from a female prespective while I write from the make one, and then all sorts of crazy wonderfulness could unfold.  But who?  Maybe Matthew Quick, whose writing is very down to earth and subtly superb.

Other writers whose style I like, and who I wouldn't mind working with if I ever got the chance, are Carrie Mesrobian, Ruta Sepetvs, and Cat Clarke.  They're such good writers, and they're not afraid to tackle dark themes.

What are major themes of your work?
I think my major themes are pretty universal: Finding out who you are, and what purpose your life has. How to stand up for yourself, how to meet the expectations of others, and accepting that you are in charge of your future.

What do you think people look for in a book?

Escape, entertainment, and the opportunity to learn more about life through the eyes of others.  At least that's true of me when I read.  I vary the genres and categories I read quite a lot for this reason.  I read more YA than other books these days, since I think it's important as a YA writer to get a feel of the territory, so to speak, but I also read literary adult novels, romance novels, crime and thrillers, chick-lit, and feel-good...the list could go on and on because there are so many categories, and most novels can be put down into several.

Basically, as long as people read something, they're good.

Are there any recent works you admire?
Hundreds! But if I have to be specific, I can say that Madeline Miller’s award-winning The Song of Achilles is the best book I’ve read in many many years. There’s not a sentence in that book which doesn’t have a clear purpose. As for YA, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was fabulous, and Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence was also brilliant.

Questions About the Book (Supermassive):

Which character in the book do you think you can relate to the most?
Since my novel is told from a first person present perspective, it would have been difficult for me not to, on some level, relate to my protagonist, Ing. I had to get under his skin to know how he would react, which could be draining at times since he responds differently to how I think I would have done in similar situations. I think that Ellis, who is mostly calm and doesn’t carry a lot of drama with him, is the one I can best relate to in terms of what kind of personal traits we share (he still does a few things I would never ever, though!)

How did you come up with the character's names?

With the setting being Norway, I needed to use local names. I could have gone with a few that are pretty hard to pronounce in English, but I chose to go for names that wouldn’t be too troublesome or unfamiliar. Astrid and Kristin, for instance. Finn is also a common name many places around the world. And June, pronounced something like ‘Yun-uh’ in Norway, is no problem in English. I needed a brave name for Odin, so I gave him the name of the mightiest of the old Norse gods. As for the protagonist, Ing, his name is short for a name he doesn’t like (which relates to him not being sure of who he really is yet), and Ellis was on a bit of a whim, to be honest!

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Once upon a time, I worked in a small place pretty similar to the one in the book.  Being a city girl, I was fascinated by the way the local community worked.  I knew I wanted to write a good old love story at some point in my life, and I wanted the remote surroundings I once experienced myself, to be an important part of the story.  When writing the book, I tried to use the landscape and mature of the setting to amplify the intense emotions of the protagonist.  I knew the fact that he is in love with another boy would never be the main obstacle, though obviously it did play a vital part in my inspiration - it has never been easy, I think, to be any kind of different in small communities, and when you are young, being different in any way can control your life.  The main obstacle in the book is the universal feeling of insecurity when you're in love and don't know if the feeling is mutual.  How difficult it is to put yourself out there to find answers, was what I wanted to be central to the story, which is also why I chose to tell the story from Ing's perspective in the present.

*The questions and answers of this author interview are only for Ethereal Book Reviews to use.  If you would like to get interviewed, please visit our "Contact Us" page and send us an e-mail.