Monday, August 15, 2016

Realm Explorers Part XCXVI: Visit Bjergen with Malinda Andrews

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name: Malinda Andrews

Title of book and/or series:  The Ryder Chronicles, The Incalescent Trilogy

Brief summary of the story:

To Riona, life was simple. She and her mother lived on the outskirts of a village in the secluded Rhal-Dages Mountains of Bjergen. They grew, or hunted what they could, and traded for the rest. Her best friend for the twenty years of her life, Damien, and his family were there for her without question. At least until a mysterious figure reveals something within her, setting in motion events that sweep Riona into a conflict decades in the making.

After another figure’s unexplained visit, Riona is required to accept that the abilities she has had for so long, and tried to hide, come from magic. But since Moriel destroyed the legendary Ryders and their powerful dragons twenty-one years prior, magic was something to be feared by the people. Magic was dangerous, and those using it were sought out and killed.

Forced to leave her home, Riona is stalked by nightmarish shadow figures, as she tries to uncover the truth of who she is. Her choices, and discoveries, could mean the destruction, or salvation of the people she loves most.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

The entire world for this trilogy contains several Realms. The Realm where book one takes place, and where the main characters are from, is called Bjergen. It is a mountainous realm that also includes a large, ancient, forest to the west of the mountains. Rivers, and small streams litter the landscape, providing the necessary irrigation for the people to farm small plots of land to supplement their hunting.

If we were to visit Bjergen as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?

If you were to visit Bjergen you would be in for a hiking lovers trip! This Realm covers the Rhal-Dages Mountains and surrounding forests. Most of the realm is made up of small villages, but the capitol city of Erskine is the crown jewel. The majority of the city is built directly into the mountains! The home of the ruling family is extensive, and offers rooms to accommodate visiting Dragon Ryders and their Dragons, complete with oversized balconies!

What dangers should we avoid in Bjergen?

At one point in the history there would have been the danger of wild dragons. Now, there are wolves, and large wildcats that stay away from the villages and populated areas.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Bjergen?

No, the main faire is pretty typical medieval menus. Ales, meads, venison, roasts, fowl dishes are all common.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Bjergen?

Heavy armor complete with heavy horse and infantry units make up the majority of Erskine’s standing army. Due to skirmishes on their eastern front, Erskine is also well versed in archery and building defensive structures.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Bjergen?

The main mode of transportation is either wagons, horse back, or of course walking.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Bjergen that we don’t see on Earth?

Prior to both the rise of the Ryders, and then Moriel’s vengeance, dragons would have been prevalent throughout the realm. Some are friendly, some not so.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Bjergen?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.

Magic was once something that was common, but after the fall of the Ryders magic became taboo. There are three types of magic systems. One is inborn magic, magic that runs through the blood of the first people in the 5 Realms. The second is the magic of the Dragon Ryders. Being bonded to a dragon gives the human abilities that they would have otherwise not have had. Using and having those magical abilities will change the individual at a genetic level, which will pass to the offspring of a Ryder. The third type is ritual magic. This is extremely taboo, and banned. The books that contain this knowledge have been hidden away. This magic is also extremely dangerous to the user.

What is the political or government structure in Bjergen?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?

The line of Charncoite has ruled unbroken in Erskine for thousands of years. The previous king was a wise and kind ruler, who passed his crown upon his death to his twin sons who are to co-rule. Along with the king there is a council of advisors that aids in making decisions and provides support and information to the king.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?

I had come up with this story/realm when I was much younger, but it wasn’t until I was visiting the highlands of Scotland that I really “saw” the landscape. Being amongst the craggily mountains, and sweeping hills really cemented the realm in my mind.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?

There really aren’t any “hot-button” or controversial topics, but I do often explore the concept of “nature vs nurture”. There are a few twins, and backstories that include sharing the same upbringing, but how different two people can end up.

Author Autobiography:

A transplant to the Midwest from Washington State, Malinda Andrews works as a desk jockey by day, but by night—and sometimes on her lunch break—she escapes the ordinary by writing. The love of writing started young (she credits, or alternately blames, her parents for her love of reading and writing) and she followed her passion for the written word into college. Forgoing financial security, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in December 2012.

The novel that started it all, Through the Mountains, was dreamt up when Malinda was sixteen. Though the assignment was only a ten-page short story, Malinda handed in the first twenty-five pages of her novel. Despite her passion, it would take until the last semester of college for inspiration, planning, experience, and momentum to culminate for the novel to be finished.

An avid reader, Malinda also enjoys crocheting, watching TV and movies, book shopping, hiking, and camping. She lives with her husband and their cats.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?  Please include links.

They are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.

Through the Mountains:
Across the Sea and Hills:
Fire and Snow:

Where can readers connect with you online? 

I can be found online at:

Twitter: @OnADragonsWing2
Instagram: @onadragonswing2
Pinterest: Onadragonswing2

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Bjergen.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the _____ world of ______, in Realm Explorers Part XCXVII!
-Annie Douglass Lima

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