Interview with Michael Rabasco, Author of The Secret of Grimsey

22 Sep 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Secret of Grimsey?

I am a first-time author and am excited about the release of The Secret of Grimsey. This novel is the first of three–the second installment will be titled, “The Long Road.” The story revolves around three small town teenagers who are thrust into the middle of the Viking end-of-times myth, called Ragnarok (the twilight of the gods). The teens must contend with powerful forces as they come to terms with an otherworldly inheritance. There’s a heavy dose of magic, but this magic comes in a realistic, almost scientific context. The book also explores the good and bad in human nature and exemplifies the old adage that “even the smallest among us can change the course of the world.”

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Ever since I discovered Greek and Roman mythology as a young boy, I was fascinated by the genre and all that myth and fantasy had to offer. When my 5th grade teacher in Maine, Mr. Fournier, read The Hobbit to our class over the course of the school year -with a spot on Smeagol accent- I was hooked. From that point, I scribbled bits and pieces of stories from time to time, but it took me about 35 years to get serious about it.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (I know I’m bending the parameters of the question, but I’m counting this trilogy as one book). And what can I say, other than it’s simply the best.

The Silmarillion, also by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s the most sublime, deep, and complex world and myth building I’ve come across.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It’s a wonderful and moving display of the manifestation of hubris, identity, basic human needs, and the meaning of humanity itself.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brone. Heathcliff, the quasi-villain, is perfectly conceived and executed, and is such a classic and enduring character.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I recently read this novel and was completely enthralled. The author provided a master class in different characters’ perspectives.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

You’re probably going to identify a pattern in my answers, but it would have to be J.R.R. Tolkien. I would want to talk with him about his creative process and how he approached and was inspired by the Norse myths. I’d love to know how the Runic alphabet influenced his creations, particularly the language of the Dwarves, called Cirth, which was one of the many languages that underpinned his world. In terms of a specific question, I would want to know the secret behind his most enigmatic character– Tom Bombadil.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

There are two things I enjoy. First, the research that goes into writing. For this novel, the research revolved around learning more about the history, origin, and different cultural traditions of the Norse myths. Second, I love the “ah hah” moments when discovering something new about my characters. They really do take on a life of their own.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full-time and write part-time as a hobby whenever I can. Most of The Secret of Grimsey was written at a local coffee shop in Washington, D.C. near my home and also in Boston, where I recently lived. I tend to work several hours at a time and then break until the next session, but the characters and storylines stay with me and evolve even when I’m not actively thinking through what will come next.

What scene from The Secret of Grimsey was your favorite to write?

I loved writing anything to do with Alrick because of his mixture of seriousness and joviality. I also share his love of good food. In terms of a specific scene, I would say either the events at the Temple or Meddybemps Lake.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Again, you might see a pattern in my answers…

“Someone else always has to carry on the story.” –Bilbo Baggins

This quote conveys the idea that every person has inherent value and a unique contribution to make to our communities, society, and the world. Each of us plays a part in the “story” passed down from generation to generation.

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Michael Rabasco is the author of the new book The Secret of Grimsey.

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