L J Rivers
L J Rivers is the pseudonym for a writing-duo of one older chap and one younger dame. Linn and Jørn are both from Norway, living on opposite corners of the country, so they rarely get to meet face to face. That doesn’t stop them from laughing together, crying together and creating as a team.
Their current co-project involves the wonderful world of Ruby Morgan, an Urban Arthurian YA Fantasy series. They also write independently and Linn has published several books under her own name.
Editor’s Note: Linn and Jørn were kind enough to provide individual answers to some of the questions. I think you’ll enjoy seeing the similarities and contrasts between their personalities and works.
What Genres Do You Write In?
Who are the two brains behind L J Rivers?
My name is Jørn (pronounced exactly like ‘yearn’), and I’m 52. I’ve got two children, aged 22 and 24, and I live in a small village on the northwest coast of Norway, called Volda. Here, I work in the IT department of the local University College. A few years back I decided to follow my dream of becoming an author, and have just submitted my crime novel, after revisions following feedback from a couple of publishers. Fingers crossed!
And I’m the other half of our team (I would say better, but trying to be nice to J). My name is Linn, and I’ve been 29 for a few years now. I have two crazy kids, aged 2 and 8, and I live just on the border to Sweden, not far from Norway’s captial, Oslo. I’m hard of hearing, which makes writing and designing covers the perfect day job. It’s nice and quiet at my home office, and I get to create all day long.
Editor’s Note: For a sample of Linn’s cover designs, check out the Facebook page for Magic Lamp Covers. Or you can keep reading this post to see the featured book, “Essence of Magic” by L J Rivers.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
Our latest book is also the first in our collaboration, and the first in a brand new series about our heroine, Ruby Morgan. It’s the result of an idea L had, and when she asked me, in June 2019, if we should write something together, I said yes after about 23 seconds of pondering. Essence of Magic establishes Ruby in her new environment as a journalist student at a university in London. She is of Fae heritage, which has its ups and downs. Her blood is sought after, as is the blood of all Magicals (Mags), since the Harvesters use it to manufacture the drug MagX.
Who is the intended readership for the L J Rivers books?
The Ruby Morgan series is an Arthurian Urban Fantasy series, and we believe it will suit readers of 16-35, if we have to limit the age group. Between us, we’ve used the term “Adult Harry Potter fans”. It’s a great fit for anyone who loves magic, interesting characters, different supernatural beings, and did we mention magic?
Editor’s Note: I’m 45, and loved “Essence of Magic”, so don’t be shy about picking this book up if you’re in the older age group too.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’d like to say in my early teens, as I’ve always written “something”. At first, it was song lyrics and short stories, the latter often in the horror and crime genres. I was inspired by Stephen King and when I read “IT”, I was totally sold. The dream of becoming a writer has always been in me, but I waited way too long to realize it. But, hopefully better late than never.
I’ve been writing ever since I knew how, and I have always loved creating stories. The first time I thought I truly wanted to be a writer, however, I was about eleven years old. I was writing a story with my grandad where we wrote one chapter each, then sent it to the other to continue until we had a finished book. My grandad then told me: “You know, if you wanted to, you could become a writer.” And I remember thinking that, yes, I did want to. A few years later, I had a teacher who told me never to stop writing. As I grew older, I focused on my degree in film instead, and then my brain took over and told me I couldn’t possibly make a living from telling stories. So, I chose a different path for a while, until my hearing got so bad that I could no longer work with kids. That’s when I found my passion for writing again, and discovered that people actually do make it their living. So, I figured, I could do that too. And now, here I am, living the dream. 🙂
Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?
Stephen King is my all-time favorite, but I have to include J.K. Rowling, who revived my love for fantasy-books. I read The Lord of the Rings in 1980, and being a nerd, I also read The Hobbit, after having played the adventure game on my Commodore 64. In the crime genre, I like John Grisham and the genius of the Norwegian “Queen of Crime”, Karin Fossum.
There are so many brilliant authors who have made an impression on me, but the works of Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren are especially close to my heart. They wrote with an imagination and humour I love, and I hope I can achieve to create stories that captivates in much the same way.
What advice would you give beginning writers?
Read! A lot! And write! Writing is a craft, and as such, one should take it seriously. I tend to draw parallels to other art forms, such as music or painting. Learn the basic skills before you play with the rules. Like, learn what “show, don’t tell” means, but don’t be afraid to ignore the rule if it’s right for your scene. Oh, and read. A lot!
Just write. Read and write a lot. Wait … J just said that! Typical of him to write exactly what I’m thinking. Still, I agree, it’s good advice. The rules you can learn (and break) later. The important thing is to get words down, and not expect it to be perfect. Be brave, accept criticism and adapt to it. And last, but certainly not least, have fun!
Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?
I wish I could tell you about the time I wrote a whole short story about April Fools, and then my son jokingly cut the power (since it was the 1st of April), but I’m a nerd who writes in Scrivener, with backups every two seconds, a UPS for my PC and … no, I don’t have any such anecdotes, sorry!
J and I chatted about it, and it’s really hard to think of anything. I could tell you about how J and I can get into hour long discussions about minor details, such as what color hair Ruby’s mum has, considering she’s Fae, and considering Ruby’s hair color. I mean, it all has to fit. Or I could tell you how J is a really big nerd, but then I’d have to admit I’m one too. So, no, I can’t really think of anything good either. Though I’m sure it’ll come to me after this interview is published.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?
I read, go fishing for trout, go for a bike ride or jam on my electric drum kit (I like my neighbors). Two or three times a week I yell at people, as I’m a spinning instructor at a gym in Volda. Occasionally I’ll binge The Office, Game of Thrones, Parks & Rec or The West Wing, series I return to at least once a year.
I love to create, so I make book covers, draw and take pictures. My other greatest joy in life is my kids, and so spending time with my family is at the top of my list.
Some other things you should know about L J Rivers
While I was preparing to write and format this interview, I had a few extra questions, which I put to Linn. Here’s a few other things I learned about the L J Rivers writing team:
- Jørn and Linn are extremely creative people outside their collaboration as L J Rivers.
- Jørn writes and produces music, including “Oh Lady of Avalon” (which you can listen to below). This piece was created specifically for the “Ruby Morgan” series.
- Linn also works as a cover designer, and she talks about her work with a passion. You can find out more about her work, and how to hire her for your covers at Magic Lamp Covers.
- There is a playlist for the Ruby Morgan series over on Spotify, which is great to listen to while reading “Essence of Magic”.
Oh Lady Of Avalon
What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?
2020 is all about Ruby Morgan for the pair of us. J is also working on his crime novel, “The Winning Hand”, and an online course in Scrivener, with plans to start shooting the videos now in January. L has a few different projects lined up this year, and we’ve started throwing ideas back and forth about the next L J Rivers project, but haven’t decided which of the many possible options to choose yet. The only things our current options have in common is a strong female lead, but we’ll see where we wind up. Either way, we’re enjoying the ride.
"Essence of Magic (Ruby Morgan, Book 1)"
What would you pay for a taste of magic?
My name is Ruby Guinevere Morgan. I’m half Fae, with healing powers and the ability to throw the occasional force field.
When I left my home town to study journalism, I made a promise to my mum to stay hidden from the Harvesters hunting for magical blood–like mine. My first week at university, and I’m already about to break my promise.
See, I tend to poke my nose into places where it doesn’t belong, and I can’t look away when the disappearance of a girl on campus is connected to the hottest drug on the market, MagX. The same drug that killed my dad.
My search for answers drags my new friends into the fray. And someone—or something—is watching me from the shadows.
Blood is about to be spilt and it might very well be mine.