Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.She is the author of the ya fantasy “Sky In The Deep”.
1. What inspired you to be an author? If you weren’t an author, what would your profession be?
I’ve dreamed of being an author since I was a kid. I loved to read and I would look at book covers and imagine my name on them. But I never really thought it would happen. It was just a far-off fantasy for me. I didn’t get serious about trying to get a book published until five or six years ago. If I wasn’t an author, I would have probably tried to be an art historian or a chef.
2. What inspired you to write Sky in the Deep? Why is the title as such?
I got the idea for Sky in the Deep very suddenly one day while I was driving. In the beginning, it was just that first scene, a warrior girl who sees her dead brother on the battlefield. I wasn’t sure where the story would go but I could see the characters very clearly, so I just started writing. The title comes from a scene in the book that takes place on a frozen lake. The night sky is reflected on the ice, making it look like the moon and stars are in the water.
3. The world you built with not one, not two, but three different tribes is amazing. Can you tell us more about the concept of Sky in the Deep and how you came up with it?
A main theme throughout the story is prejudice and hating because you were taught to hate. I wanted to create different clans that weren’t as different as they thought they were. This has been the story of humanity, in a way, and it even has very current reflections in the world today.
4. Eelyn, Fiske, Iri, Myra. Are the characters based from real people?
I never base my characters on real people, but I definitely write a bit of myself into them. Eelyn definitely has a lot of similarities to me, but we are different. And what she goes through internally is something that I went through myself a couple of years ago.
5. What inspired you to write a Viking-inspired novel? What makes them special from the others?
I didn’t originally plan to make it Viking. I just wanted to write about these siblings. But as the story took shape, it just kind of went that way. And Vikings are a good fit because the female warrior aspect isn’t something that has to be explained or examined or justified. I didn’t want the story to be about how fierce the main character was. I just wanted her to be who she was.
6. How did you come up with the characters’ names and the local phrases (like Elska Ykkarr)?
I tried to be as true to the Old Norse language as possible but it’s a dead language so it was tricky. I did my best with the phrases but the names were fun to research.
7. What’s your best memory as a writer?
I think writing the first scene of Sky in the Deep, because I just knew this story was the one. I knew it was going to be published. I wrote the first chapter in one sitting and it’s never changed. The version in the final book is the original version.
8. Do you experience writers block? How do you overcome them? What is your advice for aspiring writers when encountering such obstacles?
Sometimes I definitely get stuck. When I do, I go for long drives and listen to music and usually that helps me break through whatever isn’t working. My advice to writers who are blocked is to stop pushing. Trying to force a story is never helpful. You can’t strong-arm it. The best thing you can do is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and be patient while the story evolves. That’s hard to do if you just want to write, but it’s very necessary.
Thank you so much to Adrienne for doing the interview ! The interview with Adrienne and the fun facts,this or that edition and the letter to the readers of the book by Adrienne are part of a collaboration between my site and the subscription box Mermaid Crate for their April issue that features everything on this page plus an interview with yours truly,ME.
Favorite author of all time?
I don’t have a favorite. I love so many books!
Favorite book of all time?
Definitely don’t have a favorite book either. There are too many, but a few are Harry Potter, Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Favorite recent read?
I loved The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Fiction world you’d love to visit?
Ketterdam from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
THIS OR THAT? (Sky in the Deep edition)
Vegr yfir fjor or Fjor yfir vegr?
Vegr yfir fjor
Axe or Sword?
Fiske or Iri?
Sigr or Thora?
Oh that’s hard. Sigr, I think.
Sea side or Snowy mountains?
Be killed fighting the Herja or Be killed fighting in Aurvanger?
Killed by a Herja
When I began writing Sky in the Deep, I had no idea where this story would take me. The world that unfolded is one that swept me up and away, and I don’t know if I’ve truly left it yet. Maybe I never will.
Eelyn’s journey is one that I have been on myself. Questioning everything I’d been taught, daring to see the world with new eyes, and finding the courage to carve my own path. I can only hope that this book finds others who have had the same experience.
Get ready to run into battle with a fierce, passionate warrior whose life is about to change forever. I hope you have as much fun reading this story as I did writing it.