‘Exile of Fenrir’ has original stories and a fresh take on Norse Mythology
By Caroline Ho, Arts Editor
Peter Curson has one Business Management Diploma and two self-published novels under his belt.
Curson recently finished his studies at Douglas in the spring of this year. He also released his second novel, Exile of Fenrir, this past July—which was written and edited in just a year, while also balancing coursework.
Despite studying business, Curson’s passions and ambitions have long been in writing, and he filled his electives with Creative Writing courses. His favourite of these courses, he told the Other Press in an interview, was Speculative Fiction with Amber Dawn. Not coincidentally, both of his novels are in the genre of speculative fiction.
Curson’s first book The Reign of Evil (2015) is a more traditional fantasy novel set in an original world entirely of his own creation. It’s like “Lord of the Rings, but a lot more toned-down,” said Curson to the Other Press. The Reign of Evil lacks Tolkien-style elves and orcs, but it does contain two men with mysterious birthmarks, powerful kingdoms, and epic wars, all in one standalone novel, although the author is currently working on a sequel.
Exile of Fenrir takes place in a possibly more familiar, yet no less fantastical, setting: The world of Norse mythology and the gods of Asgard. The novel follows the shapeshifter Fenrir, son of Loki, on a series of adventures that are linked to traditional Norse mythology, though the plot is original rather than simply a retelling of standard lore. Fenrir is almost always depicted as evil in stories, but Curson explores another side to well-known legends by portraying Odin, Thor, and the other gods of Asgard as the ones responsible for Fenrir’s actions. For readers who are familiar with Norse mythology, or with popular adaptations such as Marvel’s Thor movies, Exile of Fenrir casts characters in a completely different light.
Although Curson’s novel contains his own new stories, he has also tried to stay true to the spirit of the traditional tales. When writing the book, he undertook a lot of research into both the mythological stories and the culture from which these stories arose, delving into the worldview of the Vikings and their own understandings of their gods. Exile of Fenrir captures this characteristic Viking brashness and humour, with a tone that Curson believes might appeal to fans of TV shows like Vikings and The Last Kingdom.
Curson hopes to have Exile of Fenrir eventually published traditionally, through an agent and a publisher. For now, both of his novels are available online via Amazon or Chapters, in hardcover, paperback, and eBook versions.
The process of self-publishing a book on Amazon, according to Curson, is actually a very simple one. Amazon has a free platform called CreateSpace where an author simply uploads their manuscript and cover, sets their pricing, and waits for the website to approve and put it up for sale. Every time a book is sold, Amazon takes a cut of the profit; there’s zero start-up cost to the author.
“Anyone can write a novel. It doesn’t take a Creative Writing major,” said Curson, who wrote Reign of Evil in his first year out of high school. “It takes time, it takes commitment … But anyone can write one.”
The commitment might be the real challenge, especially for someone also juggling school and other responsibilities. The trick, according to Curson, is to keep yourself inspired—in his case, through music (Viking metal), other books (especially J.R.R. Tolkien), and nice walks through nature.
Still, Curson says he’s learned a lot and benefited hugely from the Creative Writing courses he’s taken at Douglas. The biggest benefit of this, he’s found, has been having a writer’s community, a group of peers to read and critique each others’ work. Since the Creative Writing courses here are all workshop-based, they provide an excellent environment for this type of feedback and support. “Even if it’s just one friend that you can be vulnerable and share your work with and they’ll give you true and honest feedback on it, it honestly helps so much,” said Curson.
For readers seeking a taste of Norse mythology and writing talent honed at Douglas, the first four chapters of Exile of Fenrir are available for free on Peter Curson’s website, www.petercurson.com.