Interview with the Author: Sam SubityBy: Shanleigh Klassen
Greetings, Vikings! For the month of May, we were thrilled to feature Sam Subity's debut novel, The Last Shadow Warrior. This story was such a thrilling and fun adventure inspired by Norse mythology and Viking culture.
Photo by @mummyisreading.
Hi, Sam! The Last Shadow Warrior is an exciting adventure with significant emotional depth. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired the story?
Thank you! As a kid, I'd often wonder what happened to the characters from books after "The End" came on the final page. Sure, I knew it was fiction, but in my mind their worlds seemed so real and alive. So I'd create stories about the continued adventures of my favorite characters like Bilbo Baggins or Encyclopedia Brown. Then a few years ago when I came across an old dog-eared copy of Beowulf from my school days, I started to wonder what if that story hadn't ended with the hero Beowulf's burial? What if that epic struggle between good and evil had continued down through the ages to the present day?
And that's where my 12-year-old Viking named Abby Beckett was born. She comes from an ancient line of Viking warriors, but she deals with a lot of the modern things kids do today like homework and bad hair days.
Vale Hall is such a great setting to explore, and I loved experiencing it alongside Abby. How did you come up with the concept of your elite private school with hidden depths?
I attended a Catholic school where the priests lived on campus in separate quarters that were strictly off-limits to students. And, you know, I was one of those kids who, when you told me I couldn't go somewhere, that just piqued my curiosity and made me want to do exactly the opposite. It was like kindling for my imagination! I would often dream up crazy stories about what happened behind those doors—secret societies, ancient magical artifacts, etc. I'm sure the reality was way more mundane, but even in my wildest imagination I never dreamed it would someday become the basis for my mysterious Vale Hall in a real book. And who knows? Maybe some of my speculations are closer to the truth than I thought...
I’m sure our readers would love to know, do you have plans to continue the story you started in The Last Shadow Warrior?
Absolutely! Vale Hall has plenty more secrets to explore. The original Beowulf epic which inspired my story has three main villains, so to my mind it's a natural fit for a trilogy. Right now I'm hard at work on book 2 for a potential release next year, and I hope readers will be excited to continue the adventure with Abby, Gwynn, and Grimsby! I can't say much about it right now, but it has plenty more of the surprises and adventure of the first book, as well as bigger and badder monsters out of Norse mythology. Abby is going to need all the help she can get!
Who’s your favourite figure from Norse mythology and why?
While Thor with his mighty hammer is sort of the perennial fan favorite, I've always been more intrigued by the wily and inscrutable Odin. Maybe it's his insatiable curiosity that I share, or the air of mystery that shrouds him as he's frequently seen wandering the earth in disguise. Part of it also may be that Odin was a main inspiration for one of my all-time favorite literary characters, Tolkien's wizard Gandalf in The Hobbit. Odin and Gandalf are equally wise and quietly powerful figures, and growing up I always pictured my adult self sporting a long beard and wearing cloaks and pointy hats just like them. I don't in fact own any pointy hats, but my pandemic beard might help me pull off the look.
Are there any middle-grade books you’ve read recently or childhood favorites that you would recommend to our readers?
I'm a member of an author group called "The 21ders" with so many talented debut authors that readers may not have heard about yet. For those interested in retellings like The Last Shadow Warrior, be sure to check out The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman which is an update of A Little Princess, and The Wolf's Curse (Sept. 21) by Jessica Vitalis which is a retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Or for another mythology-based fantasy, Josephine Against the Sea (July 6) by Shakirah Bourne which is set on the island of Barbados is a wonderful story woven around the mythology of the Caribbean.
Thank you so much, Sam!
Itching to discuss Abby, Grimsby, and Gwynn's adventures? Check out our discussion posts for our The Last Shadow Warrior read-along!Discussion Posts:
If you participate in our read along discussions, you'll be entered in to win a FREE OwlCrate Jr box. Winners for this read along will be drawn on Wednesday, June 23rd!
And don't forget to join us Tuesday, June 23rd at 3:00 PM PST/6:00 PM EST for our live OwlBabble author chat with Sam!
Click HERE for all the details to join in on this event.