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'A delightfully quirky satire I didn't know I needed.' – Jenny Lawson, author of Broken (In the Best Possible Way)

'So, I loved it! Here's my quote: "Funny, quirky and surreal, this is the Norse myth you've been craving." Will it do?' – Joanne Harris, author of The Gospel of Loki and Chocolat'

Poor Odin only just started existing and already has a Universe to decorate, a smug Tree to ignore, and two competitive brothers who think they’d make better All-Fathers. His wife, who knows the future, won’t tell him a word because of his cheating, which he hasn’t even invented yet. Horrible things such as celery, mosquitoes, Loki’s dubious sense of humour, and people keep happening at him. The esteemed egg whisk and highly regarded feather duster? Not so much. There are only two sensible things Odin can do: 1) hang from the judgy Tree for nine days with a spear through his side and 2) drink from the Well of Wisdom, whose guardian, Sir Daddy Mímir, likes one-of-a-kind gifts. In his head, Odin’s idea seems wise…

Perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Jenny Lawson, and Calvin & Hobbes, Why Odin Drinks is suitable for readers aged 14+. The book features no graphic content, although some characters wish it would.

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The story of Why Odin Drinks

 

As I worked on Children, which despite the title is absolutely not suitable for children, I was unconsciously indulging in self-therapy. I knew there were two really dark scenes and this was why I put content warnings in front. When people told me they had to put it down and take breaks throughout the whole book, not just in chapters 4 and 7, I laughed. “You have no idea how much of it is autobiographical,” I’d say. For some reason, though, it was a difficult book to write. It wasn’t something I could work on day after day even before the 2020s arrived. “Things can only get better,” I declared on the New Year’s Eve, 2019. Oh boy.

To distract myself both from whatever it was that the world was doing and the pain I didn’t know hid inside me that I was pouring onto the pages, I started working on a different sort of Norse mythology retellings. The first idea I had actually came from Children, where Maya achieves a lot of things because nobody told her they were impossible. It’s adults who limit children’s infinite imagination and creativity – you can’t do this, you’re doing it wrong, don’t touch this (somehow, children’s infinite imagination inevitably leads to attempts at sticking fingers or forks into electric sockets).

The Gods were first. There were no responsible adults to explain “limits” or “danger.” (Or “electric sockets,” but luckily there were also no electric sockets.) Imagine three competitive four year olds with ALL the superpowers unleashed onto an empty Universe and allowed to do anything they could come up with. You just know they’d find a good replacement for electric sockets… since there was nothing, though, they’d have to create it. Could that be the reason why the original Norse creation myth features Odin with two brothers, but the brothers never appear again? ‘Creation’ was my attempt to answer those questions in a light-hearted, often silly, way.

I sketched a few more stories, never finishing any, just having fun. In ‘Loki Runes Everything’ I attempted to explain Odin’s thought process that made him decide to hang himself off Yggdrasil, the Norse holy tree that connects all the worlds, with a spear through his side. For nine days and nine nights, as well. How exactly does someone decide this is the best way to spend their free time? Is a spear through the side the new electric socket? ‘Fashionteller’ was based on nothing but a brief mention in the lore that Frigg, Odin’s wife, can see the future, but doesn’t speak about it. Why? I made everything else up, but the question had an answer now. 

In Children Thor’s hammer falls into the hands of a king of the ice giants. The lore doesn’t explain how it happens, though. Could someone have stolen the hammer, then tried to blame it on somebody else? Why? Odin wanted to drink from the well of wise dom, I mean wisdom, and the payment he decided was suitable was his own eye. It was obvious that the man’s, I mean – All-Father’s, ideas were not a product of wisdom. What would happen once he got to drink from that well, though? What could it be like to shift from a four-year old bouncing from walls into someone who understood everything?

Children came out in October 2020. The 2020s kept coming up with inventive ways to make everything worse, bleaker, darker. I didn’t feel like contributing to that mood. Without giving it a lot of thought, I finished the first story, ‘Creation’. Some parts turned out to be more philosophical than silly, though, and I worried I made it too serious. I was aiming for silly. Odin insisted on thinking, though, and he’s as flexible as Maya. The people I asked to beta-read it wanted more depth, not less. Odin was right, even without the wisdom. I dialled down the LOLcat humour, and headed in the direction of Sir Terry Pratchett and Calvin & Hobbes. 

On one level, Calvin & Hobbes is a comic about an obnoxious boy and a stuffed tiger. On another, the boy and the tiger’s personalities are based on Calvinist and Hobbesian philosophy. I have re-read the complete omnibus too many times to count, every time discovering something new, even though I’d swear I memorised each panel by now. I put more work into ‘Creation’, creating three brothers with wildly differing visions of leadership, added jokes about peeing dispensers and avian ass-thetics, stirred well, and published the novella.

It did something unexpected. Namely, it sold, and the readers demanded more.

*

Knowing how I was feeling about the 2020s and bleak books, I probably could have guessed that people would like it. I wasn’t thinking long, or even medium term, though. ‘Creation’ was a mental break, even though it ended up more ambitious than I thought it would be. There was no plan, of the business or any other sort. Things would have been very different if I had finished stories to publish on monthly basis. All I had were sketches, some nearly finished, some on the idea stage. One was half the length of ‘Creation’ and another twice as long. The readers’ reactions made me realise I had something in my hands. I just didn’t know what.

I finished three more stories – ‘Loki Runes Everything’, ‘Fashionteller’, and ‘The Well of Wise Dom’, and decided to put all four into one book, deleting the Creation paperback (if you bought one, you own a collector’s item now!) and e-book. The tagline for Creation, “in the beginning there was confusion,” turned out to be a prophecy. I definitely managed to confuse readers and reviewers, some of whom insisted they already bought and read the book months ago. (Opening Why Odin Drinks with ‘Creation’ didn’t help.) Suddenly I knew how Odin felt when he decided to impress his brothers by creating something that would serve as food, drink, and clothing all at once, and the result was a cow.

Why Odin Drinks is suitable for readers aged 14+. There are no graphic scenes of any sort, although an adult… here is where we pretend fourteen year olds don’t know how Internet works… so, an adult might guffaw at something the tween won’t find funny in the slightest. (Assuming, of course, that the adult makes it past the peeing dispensers.) Why Odin Drinks is also – remember, in the beginning there was confusion, then things got worse – the first book in the Why Odin Drinks series. Hopefully by the time the second, Bloodbath & Beyond comes out, people will have forgotten about Creation. It’s strange to hope that people forget your third book, although it technically wasn’t a book, which you are proud of, so you incorporated it into your fourth book, which is now officially your third book…

No wonder Odin drinks!

The stories

Creation 

Ever woken up being a God, but not knowing how to God properly? Your brothers, impossible to restrain, keep creating mosquitoes, celery, and other even more terrifying weapons. How do you become THE All-Father and make them, at best, the All-Those-Uncles-We-Don’t-Talk-About?

Loki Runes Everything 

Odin isn’t happy. His brother believes in the afterlife. His future-telling wife, Frigg, sends him shopping. Loki asks Helpful Questions. What can you do but hang yourself from the Tree with a spear in your side for nine days? (Don’t answer that.)

Fashionteller 

When Freya, her brother, her hubris, and her miniskirt pay Frigg (and her rabbit sweatpants) a visit, Frigg decides to become the vanguard of haute couture. As she’s taking a peek at the future anyway… what does one wear on The Final Day?

The Well of Wise Dom 

Desperate to learn what women think, Odin heads for the well of wisdom… guarded by the Wise Dom. Can he afford to pay for a sip – but, more importantly, should he?

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