Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing
In our final post, we'll look at two of Ofelia's standalone novels, Silent Woods and Eight Feet Of Magic. We also have our author interview and one more chance to win one of her books.
First up, Silent Woods
Do you believe in myths and ancient creatures?
Daniel has never felt the need to leave the city behind, so when his husband suggests a camping trip for their holiday he agrees with reluctance. Even before they step out of the car, Daniel has the feeling of something being wrong. Something about the forest is turning his stomach into knots.
He wants nothing more than returning to the safety of their home, and when their five-year-old son goes missing his fears turn into full-blown panic. What awaits them in the depths of the forest is far more sinister than anything Daniel ever could have imagined. Will they be able to find their son before it's too late?
Anders came back about twenty minutes later. By that point I’d managed to go through every possible—and impossible—scenario in my mind.
“Nothing,” he panted with an edge of panic in his voice. My husband did not panic—he never panicked—I don’t think I’ve ever seen him panicky. He was my safe haven, the solid rock I’d built my entire foundation on.
“What?” I couldn’t keep my voice from breaking.
“Shh.” Anders wrapped his arms around me and Maja, holding us tight.
“What do we do now?”
“Try to stay calm,” he said with a wobbly smile. “You call the police.” He took Maja from my arms—I hesitated before letting go of her. “Tell them were we are, and what’s happened.”
I dialled 112 with shaking fingers, telling the all-too-calm lady on the other end where we were, and what had happened.
“Stay put,” she told me. “The local police are on their way.”
I hung up, and sat down on the ground. A tear slowly trickled down my cheek. Where was my little boy? Anders slumped down next to me.
“I’m so sorry.” His voice was cracking, and he avoided my gaze. “I swear, it never even crossed my mind that there could be any danger. It was sixty yards, at most. I could almost see you.”
I nodded. What could I say? I didn’t know what to say. He’d let our son out of his sight in the middle of the forest. A kid used to the city. What had he been thinking? But I didn’t want him to feel worse than he already did—so I kept my mouth shut. Help was on the way. The police would know what to do. This could hardly be the first child lost in the woods.
The inspector standing in front of me was a greying man, with kind eyes, and a potbelly. He’d introduced himself as Inspector Ahlqvist and started asking us about Axel. “Does he know what to do when he’s lost?”
“No,” I managed to answer in a shaky voice. “He’s not used to the forest, he doesn’t know anything.”
“He knows to hug a tree,” Anders interjected. “He knows to stay in one place and shout or bang a stick to a tree trunk.”
“He does?” I looked amazed at Anders. I didn’t know that.
Anders rolled his eyes in an attempt to make me feel better. “Yeah, he does. What do you think I teach them when we’re in woods?”
“I don’t know.”
The policeman smiled reassuringly. “I’m sure he’s fine. He hasn’t been gone that long, and we have plenty of daylight hours left to find him.”
Again my lungs refused to cooperate, and my stomach turned into knots. The thought of my son alone in the forest at night made me want to throw up. Anders heard my breath hitch, and gathered me in his arms. I hid my face in the crook of his neck, not wanting Maja to see my tears.
“Shh. He won’t be out there alone at night. I won’t let that happen. We’ll find him, and we’ll bring him home. I swear, Honey. No harm will come to him.”
I wished I could believe him—I wished he believed his own words, but I felt the trembling that betrayed his calm voice. He was trying really hard not to break down. He was the one that held it together, he always comforted me when things got hard.
“Do you have anything of his here with you?” Ahlqvist asked.
“No,” I said, wiping my cheeks. “We weren’t planning on being away from the campsite very long. We just brought some water and snacks.”
“It doesn’t matter. The dogs are trained to find people without ever having smelled—”
“I’ll run back to the campsite and fetch something,” Anders interrupted. “It won’t take long.”
Ahlqvist gave him an understanding smile and nodded, seemingly aware that Anders needed to do something rather than just sit around and wait.
Why hadn’t I thought of those GPS things that Anders had talked about? If I had, then we would have found him by now. All of this felt unreal. My son was missing. I kept expecting him to come running up the hill, or jump out from whatever hiding place he’d found, laughing at us for not finding him. But he’d been missing for an hour; no five-year-old played hide-and-seek for an hour. He was truly lost. And this past hour had been both the longest and the shortest of my life. My universe had altered, and I had no control over it. Over anything.
Get the book:
The 2nd book in today's line-up, Eight Feet Of Magic
There is still magic to be found. Even in the bleakest of places.
Hank Goodenough has spent his entire life in the smoggy streets of London trying to keep his head down and not to get noticed. Not an easy feat when you’re the tallest one in the room and have a brass funnel protruding from your head. When he finds himself laid off work once again, his dad wants to drag him away on a crazy quest. Before he can figure out how to get out of it, he finds himself on a steam-driven airship in search of Odin, the old Norse God and sharing a room with Captain Elazar Steel, a man strutting around on one high-heeled boot and one peg leg.
Steel doesn’t care that the winks, smiles, and small touches he and Hank share might get them hanged once they land on the ground again. He is determined to show Hank there is magic in the world and that there is no better place to be than on his balloon ship steering towards the Arctic Circle.
They hurried along the narrow alleys of London, squiggling through crevasses and small openings until they could see the River Thames. The entire time Hank tried to ignore the uneven clinking of one high-heeled boot and one wooden or maybe a metal leg. It sounded wooden but who’d have a wooden leg when they could get a rather elegant prosthesis in metal? The ones Hank had seen, admittedly there weren’t many, were beautiful. Sleek, smooth shapes and cleverly designed in copper or brass. He wasn’t much of a mechanic, but he could think of a few things he’d want to add to a copper leg.
“Ah, there she is.” Steel stopped right in front of him, and Hank was too wrapped up in his head to halt in time.
“Huh…oh, sorry.” Hank gripped Steel’s shoulders to steady him.
“Sorry, Captain.” The words were clear and yet Steel didn’t seem to notice Hank holding on to him. Demetrius, on the other hand, gave a silent wail and Hank feared he’d have to hear about it later.
“I…erm…which one is it?” Hank let go of the lithe shoulders with a sense of loss and looked around the docks. There were several…boats moored there. Some of them were fine ships, some were not so fine, and he feared they’d be going on a not so fine one.
“Aurora isn’t an it.”
“No, I suspected not.” Hank hoped Steel hadn’t heard his mumble, and if he had, he hoped he ignored it.
“She’s over there.” Steel gracefully motioned at a rather small ship with a wooden hull, a wide rounded deck, and metal railings. Not too bad.
It didn’t have any hoisted sails, and Hank feared it was up to him to get them sailing.
“Okay.” The soft glow of the gas lamps didn’t produce nearly enough light to give him a clear picture of the…boat, but Hank thought he could make out chimneys in the dusk so maybe it was steam-driven. Did they need sails if it was steam-driven? He didn’t know shit about ships.
Steel straightened his jacket and righted his hat. With narrowed eyes, Hank studied him. He looked an awful lot like a pirate. The coat was the kind he’d seen in the wanted pictures around the city. And that hair… He glanced at Demetrius. Would he go on a trip with a pirate? Yes. Hank sighed—this was a terrible idea.
Hooves on cobblestone came closer, and Hank squinted at the alley they’d come through. The smeared glow of the gas lamps did little to light the horse-drawn carriage coming nearer. As soon as Hank could see it clearly, Steel threw himself behind him, his nose almost touching his back between the shoulder blades. His long black tresses were blowing in the wind until they caught on Hank’s sleeve.
“What are you doing?” Hank glanced over his shoulder as the carriage passed them. Steel was ghostly pale in the dark, his back stiff, and his dark eyes wide. The mist from his breaths clouded around them and Hank wanted to either pull his coat tighter around himself or pull Steel into his arms—he dug his fingers into the velvet.
“What are you doing, Captain?” Steel held up his forefinger to Hank but didn’t take his eyes off the carriage.
“Are you hiding from someone?” It was information Hank needed. If they were going to be jumped in a tavern or elsewhere, he needed to be prepared.
“Are you hiding from someone, C-a-p-t-a-i-n? Of course not! Everyone knows where I am. I’m Captain Elazar Steel, your go-to guy.”
“Go-to guy when it comes to what?” The accusations from earlier echoed in his head, and it didn’t help that Captain Elazar strutted around in high heels…or one high heel.
“Captain. Go-to guy when it comes to what, Captain? Anything you want.” He winked then held up his finger once again. “Almost.”
“Cap—, well, there are a lot of things I don’t know anything about, but I can always give it a try.”
Hank nodded and glanced at Demetrius. What had he dragged them into? “So who are you hiding from?”
“No one! I just don’t like cabs. You never know where you’ll end up or with whom if you enter one. Captain Bates and the men usually go in cabs to and fro the Bold Ship when ashore.”
Hank nodded again and watched the carriage as it drove off. What the fuck had Demetrius got them into? “Dad—”
“Shut up, Hank. It’s what you do best anyway.” He pushed a little on Hank to increase the distance between him and Steel. “So, Captain, are we ready for take-off?”
“Almost, almost… Hank, did you bring the coal?” Steel fluttered his eyelashes and tilted his hip.
Hank looked down at his empty hands. “The coal?”
Steel glared at Demetrius. “I told you to bring coal.”
“I…erm…we didn’t have time.”
Steel sought out Hank’s gaze, and the playfulness was long gone. “This is why I don’t normally work with crazy people.”
Hank nodded and hoped he’d wake up soon—this had to be a dream.
Get the book:
Interview with Ofelia Gränd
1. What inspires you? What gets you writing?
Inspiration can come from anything—music, a movie I see, a comment from someone, something I hear on the news, the way the river ripples when I’m out on a walk. It often starts with a small thing, like the water flowing in a strange way and me stopping to look, thinking ‘what if’ and ‘wouldn’t it be cool if’ and then my brain takes me to unfamiliar places LOL. Nature and weather often trigger ideas.
2. What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
When I first started writing, I just sat down and wrote a story from the beginning to the end, not knowing what would happen in the scene. That’s not how I do things now. I’m not one to plot in detail, but I have a vague outline. The structure may differ from story to story, though. But having an outline and sticking to it are two different things, it’s when I start taking shortcuts and detours the sticky notes invade my desk. I’m fully aware of looking like a crazy person while scrawling down half-sentences that don’t make sense and then freak out when the kids move them around (tip, if you have kids, don’t have beautiful colours on the stick-its, they’ll disappear). I’m never happier than when I’m writing a first draft. I fly with the story, type as fast as I possibly can, and living in a different world. It’s when the first draft is finished you’ll hear me sigh and moan, when I have to look at the story and try to get it to make sense to a potential reader. Writing is magic even in a second draft, and I would like to do it for as long as I live, but if I could get by on just writing first drafts, I’d be in heaven.
3. Which character from your books is your favorite, and why?
Oh…that’s not an easy pick. I love writing crazy characters, and I’m almost afraid to say this, but I love writing sociopaths and serial killers LOL. Not writing about a guy who’s on the run from a serial killer or a detective trying to catch one, though I can see myself doing that too, but to be in the head of a serial killer. Theophile Lekas from The Snowflake was a delight to write. Theo is an ice sculptor who decides to prove his love to the man he’s been stalking for the last seventeen years by building a sculpture out of body parts. When writing a character like that, I have to peel away all emotions and try to think about what someone would do if they didn’t have a conscience or were able to feel empathy. It should be scary, but when I do a character like that it has me laughing—and that may say more about me than it should LOL. But a character doesn’t have to be evil for me to love writing them. Eldred Henstare from Worth His Salt is another character I adored writing. He’s also crazy, but not in a serial killer kind of way, more in a distracted witch kind of way LOL.
4. Which character is your least favorite, and why?
My least favourite? I don’t know if I have one. Jason from the Nortown series, maybe? But it’s not his fault, I make him do arsehole-ish things at times, but that’s because someone has to. He’s one of the main characters in Once in a Forest, and in that story, he isn’t an arsehole, he’s just…Jason.
5. If you could go back into one of your books and change one thing, what would that be? And why?
In my earliest stories, I ended things too fast. Knickers in a Twist was the first story I wrote in English. Before that I’d written a few paranormal M/F stories in Swedish, none that are published, I just wrote for the joy of it. But I joined the Goodreads M/M Romance Group and discovered the Don’t Read in the Closet Event. When the prompts came in, I snatched one and started writing. It was so much fun, but when I’m thinking about Knickers in a Twist today, I wish I’d taken the time to wrap it up better, to give Alex and Peter a more solid HEA instead of just slapping on a ‘The End’ when I thought the conflict was solved. But you learn something new every day.
6. What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
There are so many stories I want to write, and so many stories I want to finish. I don’t know what’s happened to me these last few years but I start a lot of stories, almost finish them, and then I start something new. New and shiny is always fun, but I’m gonna try to finish a couple of the ones I’ve started. I have one set in a post-apocalyptic world where the government is controlling everything. I have one paranormal story about a bird that’s actually waiting with beta notes, so I just need to tackle them (see almost done *sigh*). And I’ve promised my lumberjack loving readers another Nortown story. Andre needs to find himself a man, right?
About the author:
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes contemporary, paranormal, romance, horror, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.
Thanks for celebrating this fabulous author with us. We hope you learned some interesting facts about Ofelia and found a few more books for your TBR.
Until next time, happy reading!