Gate of Air author Resa Nelson joins us to share the top 10 influences on her new series, Dragon Gods.
- My Dragon Cycle: The Dragon Gods series fits into my medieval fantasy world, which is influenced by the Norse/Viking era and features strong women. Series #1 (the Dragonslayer series) is about a female blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers. Series #2 (the Dragonfly series) is about a Northlander woman who strikes out on an unexpected adventure when her sweetheart betrays her. Series #3 (the Dragon Gods series) is about a woman who has mixed blood – part Northlander and part Far Eastern – and is given the task of finding the dragon gods of the Far East and convincing them to make peace with the Northlander gods they’ve offended. My intent is that each series can be read independent of the others, but the richest experience is to read each series in order.
- High school student request: A high school student asked me why it seems like most fantasy novels feature a heroine who is blond. It inspired me to find a way to create a heroine with black hair, black eyes, and golden-brown skin.
- European vs. Asian dragons: When I first began writing books in this fantasy world, I read about different types of dragons. My world has two types of dragons. One is dangerous (based on the European dragon), while the other can be helpful (based on the Asian dragon). These helpful dragons have powers over the elements: air, earth, fire, and water.
- Viking gods: Although the traditional Viking gods don’t make much of an appearance in the first two series, they are critical to the world. Many years ago, the Northlanders switched their allegiance from the Viking gods to the dragon gods of the Far East. Now the Viking gods demand that those dragon gods make amends. Otherwise, all Northlanders will be destroyed.
- The Handmaid’s Tale and Chinese fairy tales: I read The Handmaid’s Tale when it was first published, and it terrified me because it felt like something that could really happen. Before writing the Dragon Gods series, I read a lot of Chinese fairy tales, and they reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale. Except the Chinese fairy tales were even more terrifying.
- Experience with medieval weapons: When writing Series #1, I studied medieval weapons. First, I read about them. Then I found a museum that taught historically accurate courses about how to use medieval weapons. Once I took a few courses, I joined the museum’s sword guild for more practice and study. Eventually, I became a weapons demonstrator at the museum. All of this experience has a major influence on every fight scene I write in all of my novels.
- Flipping the script – women rescue men: I’m so tired of reading books where women are in danger and have to be rescued by men. So in the Dragon Gods series, women are sometimes in trouble, but they’re the ones who rescue men.
- Wild China (BBC series): When possible, I travel to countries that inspire my fantasy world. Circumstances made it impossible for me to travel to China, so I turned to the BBC instead. I bought a documentary series that explores the landscapes of China.
- Viking ship museums: My main characters often travel by ship. In past years, I’ve visited Viking ship museums and exhibits in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. At one museum, I was able to take a short trip on a replica of a small Viking boat.
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Every book I’ve ever read that features a strong female character influences my work, but none more so that Lisbeth Salander. My main character, Frayka, is influenced by Lisbeth’s cunning and resourcefulness.
Gate of Air
(Dragon Gods, #1)
Publication date: June 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.
The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.
Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.
But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.
Especially when the one being punished is a woman.
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Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon’s Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.
Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .
Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.