Today we talk about Armin, a book by Joanna Pettersson published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Joanna Pettersson, to get to know her better, the moment that brought her to the writing of her book Armin, as well as how she chose the title of her book.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What is the moment that brought you to the writing of your book?
After having finished my previous novel, Alter, I was curious about how the life of the son of the main protagonist will develop. The name of the boy was Armin. When the first story ended, Armin was a toddler. I imagined him as a teenager, then – as an adult man – and I followed the course of events. For me, writing is similar to watching a movie. In my mind, I see the scenes in which my characters are involved. After having seen the “frames”, I try to understand the connections between them, and, finally, I convert the pictures into words. I never have a plot ready when I decide to write a new book. My writing process is perhaps best explained by the following quotation from my novel A shattered shield:
“Sir Richard, where did you hear this fairy tale?
‘I never heard it,’ Richard smiled. ‘It came to me at your request.’
The girl stared at him in awe.
‘How is it possible?’
‘You asked me to tell you a story about unanswered love. I imagined a fairy and a prince, and then I just followed them and watched what happened,’ he replied.”
- What are the crucial themes of your book?
First of all: friendship and loyalty. Next: hate-love relation between a father and a son. Also: ethics of scientific research. Again, I would like to explain the themes (at least two of them) by quotations, this time from Armin: Friendship and loyalty: “I was too hard on Ilmir, I thought. He did something unacceptable, but he did it for me. (…) He couldn’t accept that I was dying. He did everything he could to save my life, although what he did was abominable. But I shouldn’t have scolded him as I have.” Hate-love relation between a father and a son: “My father was a myth. He was a hero, almost a demigod, and protagonist of numerous troubadour songs. (…) I was five when he died, but I didn’t remember him at all. Perhaps some memories would have surfaced if I had not been persecuted at every step with stories about Prince Malager, who was called the Just or the Magnificent.”
- What is the message you want to communicate to your readers?
I would like the readers to enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I also wish that, after having followed the adventures of my characters, the readers would ponder about certain ethical questions. If your friend, who once had risked his life for your sake, starts doing things you find decisively wrong, would you quit the friendship or stay loyal? If practically all people around you think that you are suffering from delusions, but you feel that your perception of the world is sound, would you adjust to the opinion of the majority and consider yourself a lunatic? Is a human clone an individual that should be treated with respect, or is it an object that does not deserve human rights? Is it morally acceptable to commit a crime to save somebody’s life? Last but not least, I hope that the readers would develop emotional bonds with Armin and his friends and try to understand my heroes’ doings (while understanding does not necessarily mean approval).
- How did you choose the title of your book?
I partly explained the title in my answer to the first question of this interview. My hero Armin made his appearance already in the first book of the series, as a young child. His name was chosen by his father, Prince Malager. As explained in the novel, “Armin” is an ancient word that means ‘strong and mighty’, ‘protector’, ‘guardian’, or ‘eagle’. Malager opted for this name against his wife’s will; she was in favour of something more “royal”, connected to the dynastic tradition. However, the Prince wanted his heir’s name to indicate that the boy will become a powerful protector of his subjects and a clever man, who will be able to see the world through an eagle’s eyes. In my stories, the characters are central; that’s why I often choose their first names as titles. I am primarily interested in what happens inside the protagonists’ minds, and I regard my heroes’ adventures as consequences of their thoughts and feelings.
- Are you working on a new writing project you can tell us about?
I am working on an English translation of a book that I consider being my best one: the already mentioned novel A shattered shield. It is not a fantasy story in the strict meaning, although some paranormal elements are involved. The book is rather like a historical novel, situated in the Middle Ages. The characters and their adventures are fictional, but I tried to keep to the medieval realia. There is a rather charming anecdote connected to A shattered shield. One reader who found me on the Internet sent me an enthusiastic review and attached a picture which she had drawn. It was a portrait of one of the heroes. This picture was very close to my idea about the character’s looks! I got the portrait framed and I keep it on my writing desk. It seems that my hero helps me while I translate. I have another writing project going on: a third book situated in the Alter and Armin universe. I have a clear picture of the main protagonist in my mind, and I like that guy very much. However, it is too early to talk more about him. He has not gotten any name yet…
Europe Books thanks the author, Joanna Pettersson, once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book Armin. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my readers, may this book excite and intrigue you; in the same way that the ethical issues told here provide you with new insights into what is morally acceptable and what is not, about friendship, love, loyalty and all the other values conveyed by this story.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy your reading!