1. Where did the idea for Bian Shen come from?
I grew up reading a lot, and at some time I got really annoyed with literature for children and young adults. It was too careful, too happy and not at all realistic in terms of what it means to be growing up. Luckily that has changed a lot the last years. But at the time I knew I was going to try and write a book, and I wanted to write about children, for children. Having travelled some around the world, its not difficult to notice that what it means to be a child is not even comparable around the world. So the idea for the book came from a question: How can I write about children, for children, and be able to show the huge differences between growing up, not only through time, but also location. The answer was the idea that for some reason a group of children have been living for thousands of years, never allowed to grow up. From that answer the idea grew into Bian Shen.
2. Who are your intended readers?
First and foremost, I wrote a book that I would like to read, but you could say that the main target is young adults. I think the book can just as well be read by adults. Although I understand that there is a young adult segment in the industry, I also think that its possible to write books that can erase the borders. Perhaps Harry Potter is the best example, but Twilight and Hunger Games are also doing this, and I think more will follow.
3. Some of the content is very advanced, with various discussions about technology, science and philosophy. Is it too advanced for young adults?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I believe it isn’t. It was a very conscious decision to write it the way it ended up. I don’t want to underestimate the readers. I also think that it has to be advanced in many ways, its sort of implied by the setup of the world, and how these children are. They are not your average persons, even if they lived only one life. I don’t expect every young reader to get everything, but I hope that it might then spark interest in the topics.
4. Speaking of advanced, what about the short stories between the main chapters, why are they so cryptic?
There were more than one reason for writing them the way they are, some of them I cannot divulge here. There were two main reasons. First, I wanted the reader to get a different view on a character that I did not want to include as a character with a viewpoint in the main story. Second, they also function as a view into how it was to live through history as one of these children. But yes, they are cryptic, although I think most readers will be able to figure them out, with the help of other readers, or perhaps on the forum.
5. In many passages you are using references and writing in other languages with no explanation at all. Isn’t it asking a bit much of the reader?
Maybe. 🙂 I admit that it might be pushing the patience of the reader, but I have made sure that most is very easy to find if you decide to look for it. It is perhaps unusual to ask the reader to have internet available while reading a book, so I have tried to avoid it as much as possible. I guess I don’t like it when writers implement all sorts of things, just to be able to explain to the reader every nitty bitty detail of what’s really going on.
6. Where did the idea for the cover come from?
No idea to be honest. I came up with the concept and asked my cousin if he could do it. He was unsure, but he would try. I think he solved it brilliantly.
7. How many books are planned to be publish?
Bian Shen is first and foremost a trilogy. So the main story that is begun will last for three books. However, there is also the possibility to write books that features the main character that goes back in time. There is planned one such book in my head. There could possibly be more, but that remains to be seen.
8. When will the next book be published?
Book 2 will be published early 2016.
9. Who made the cover for the book?
The cover art is the work of Tord K. Øverland. He is my cousin and did a tremendous job making a cover that really stands out. The concept was an idea I had, but it turned out much better than my expectations thanks to Tord. Tord is available for work, and can be reached at his adress: