The self-confidence of youth—when everything is ahead of you to explore, to taste, and to conquer, how could you not embrace life? Devour it even? Eli Adelholm seems to me to be doing just that. She is earnest, enthusiastic, self-assured, and passionate about her current interests. Just look at all the things she does—a budding writer, a reader with a book blog devoted to reviewing high fantasy fiction, a metalhead, a sword fighter, and a gamer when she can find the time. And, oh, she reads dictionaries for fun which might help explain why—although she is Danish and English is her second language—Eli appears to have gained enough mastery in English that she could blog and write a novel in it.
Eli presents herself on Goodreads and other social media networks as Hypervorean. Huh? You say. Well, she has a proclivity to name things. That may not really be unusual in itself but it’s her choice of names and her faith in the importance of names that is rather singular. She says:
My computer is Hafrbjarne, my cellphone is Ib III Benny, my guitar is Bragi Náttfari ….If an author cannot come up with a proper name for the character can you trust him/her to come up with a proper story?
Whence springs hypervorean? For Eli, apparently Greek mythology and Nietzsche who referred to his readers as hyperboreans—presumably because his writings are inaccessible to most readers. But, with characteristic aplomb, Eli takes some liberty with the original word and changes the b to v.
Hyperborea (hyper = beyond, borea = north wind) is the land beyond the north wind; a land of eternal spring. The hyperboreans are its people. It is a sort of mysterious land that can’t be found easily nor by everyone who would try to seek it out.
Still, I say the meaning more obvious to most of us—the referent of “vore” derived from the Latin word “vorare” (to devour, consume) and the made-up compound word “hypervorean,”—in fact, describes Eli’s zest for what she takes not only of all that life can offer her. Eli also means to explore the depths of her imagination through reading and creating worlds outside of what she inhabits.
As a reader, what do you find fascinating about fantasy fiction? What do you get from it that the classics cannot give you? Any other genres you read?
Okay this is a tough one. Let me start by saying that fantasy is not the only thing I read, in fact it is only within the last year that my interest in the genre has grown to be so big that I would dedicate an entire blog to high fantasy. Before that I read mostly classics, particularly those of nineteenth century Russian literature. I also read works of philosophy, primarily Nietzsche, and a bit of historical fiction most dealing with ancient or medieval times.
So what is so special about fantasy? Well, it has to be the fantasies, the imagination. I love to be taken away to strange places where strange things happen, and this is exactly what fantasy fiction is good at. The problem with the other genres I used to read a lot is perhaps that they are too predictable, too down to earth. I can be down to earth in my own life, but when I read I want something completely different to happen, something beyond my own imagination.
Then you could ask why I don’t read other genres of fiction. And to own the truth it is simply because I am in love with the medieval ways of life. I read a bit science fiction as well, but I don’t really feel comfortable with the future. Swords and horses suit me a lot better than light sabers and spaceships and I get bored with the more modern stuff, I don’t want to read about today’s society; I could just look out the window and there it is. That is pretty much it. It is all a matter of where your romantic sentiments lie; mine, as it happens, belong in a fictive past.
Tell us about what you are currently reading.
Well, currently I am reading a review copy of ‘Dance of the Goblins‘ by Goodreads author Jaq. D. Hawkins. It is quite different from your normal fantasy story, but I find that quite intriguing.
You like “real” books. Do you read ebooks at all? Would you ever consider them?
Yes and no. I hate e-books, I get annoyed after reading the first ten pages on the screen, but I do realize that it has become a big part of the international book market. Normally I will only take physical copies of books to review, but I have made an exception for books of 200 pages or less. I can force myself to read 200 pages (though it would take longer than reading a physical book of 500 pages), but any more than that and I would never get through them. That being said I would never ever pay for an e-book. I simply don’t think they are worth my money.
You took time off from school. What you were studying and where you want to go with it?
I am taking a year away from studying in order to focus on my writing, which is probably one of the best decisions I have taken in a very long time. I love my life as it is right now.
I don’t mean that I interrupted anything. I just finished “high school” (the gymnasium is the Danish equivalent) this summer and then decided I wouldn’t go on to University just yet. University has become more of a backup plan for me really as there is nothing I want to do more than writing, but that works out for sadly few people. My plan is to study classical Greek.
You have been writing fantasy fiction. How long? In English or Danish? When do you expect to publish?
I have been writing for as long as I have been able to put a pen to a piece of paper. I started before I really knew anything about spelling, (strangely enough Danish without proper spelling looks a lot like Norwegian) but anyway, I started writing more seriously when I was fifteen I think. I began my first novel then, in Danish. Sadly it turned out to be a bigger project than I could manage so it has been paused.
I started my second novel just about a half year ago, in English this time. I am more than half done with the initial draft (thanks to nanowrimo where I wrote 85.000 words), I am hoping to be done with it soon, preferably not later than March; then of course comes editing and all those tiresome things, so I hope it would be publishable before the year is out.
I hear it is almost impossible getting into the English market when you’re neither a native English speaker nor a resident of an English speaking country. But I still maintain that I am too awesome for them to pass me by like that. Yes, I am one of those writers not afraid of how people will receive my work, I just naturally assume that everyone is going to love it, I haven’t yet figured out whether that is a good or a bad thing.
You are passionate about high fantasy. Explain first how that is different from other forms of fantasy fiction. In what ways do you give vent to or express this passion?
I am a bit lazy so allow me to quote from wikipedia: “High fantasy (also referred to as Epic Fantasy) is a sub-genre of fantasy fiction, defined either by its taking place in an imaginary world distinct from our own or by the epic stature of its characters, themes and plot.”
The thing that really appeals to me when it comes to High Fantasy is the world building. I love diving into a completely new world, the stranger the better really. I love when you get that feeling that the book was not just something the author whipped up overnight, when it feels like he has spent years building the universe, drawing maps, making up languages, developing non-stereotypical characters. I love that the imagination doesn’t only come in the form of a plot and a few variations from the real world like urban fantasy tend to do. I want to be convinced that the real world doesn’t exist at all.
I express this passion by being a reader, writer and reviewer of it, by dedicating my entire blog to this sub-genre. I also express it by promoting the genre as well as I can both publicly (Goodreads, Facebook, twitter and so on) and privately.
- In the Realm of an Alternate Universe with Jamie Marchant (margaretofthenorth.wordpress.com)