Odin’s Promise is historical fiction for middle-grade readers depicting the first year of German occupation of Norway during World War II. Eleven-year-old Mari relies on her elkhound, Odin, and her family for comfort and protection. Mari draws on love, humor, and inner strength to confront danger, find her voice, and endure hardship and heartache.
Amie: Hi Sandy! Welcome to the Mixed-Up Files. Tell us why you enjoy writing middle grade fiction.
Sandy: Middle grade fiction hits a “sweet spot” for me as a reader and a writer. The stories and characters offer infinite opportunities for change, challenge, growth, and discovery. Anything is possible; each page turn holds the potential for surprise. I’m never able to name “favorites” from among the books I’ve read, yet many of the ones I reread and treasure most are middle grade books.
Amie: What’s special about Odin’s Promise and why would kids love it?
Sandy: Odin’s Promise allows the reader to experience the impact of war from an unusual perspective. Germany invaded Norway claiming to be “friends”, but the threats and dangers surrounding Mari, Odin, and her country were no less real. Young readers with pets will recognize Mari’s relationship with Odin. They’ll also recognize the confusion and frustration of adult secrets, conflicting expectations, and uncertainty about who can be trusted. Readers who enjoyed Mary Casanova’s KLIPFISH CODE and Margi Preus’s SHADOW ON THE MOUNTAIN will enjoy comparing all three titles. We each researched extensively and incorporated humorous details from wartime journals.
Amie: We’re always looking for fantastic historical fiction here at MUF. Sounds like your book will really fit the bill! Tell our readers a bit about Norway and why it’s an inspiration to you.
Sandy: I’m not Norwegian, but I visited Norway twice with a friend who is. We stayed with her relatives each time in the small village of Ytre Arna, which is where the story takes place. The physical beauty of the country was breathtaking: spectacular mountain views; crystal clear water; structures, stories, and history that predated the Vikings. Even more memorable to me were the hospitality, generosity, and stories of the people I met there. These memories never left me, and some fictionalized versions eventually found their way into my book.
Amie: Sounds lovely. If forced to eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sandy: Hmmmm… what a tough question! Allow me a few moments to grieve the loss of dark chocolate and ice cream.
Amie: You still there?
Sandy: Still grieving here… a moment , please.
Amie: Just one moment…
Sandy: Okay, I’m back. It must be pizza. That’s hedging my choice, since pizza can be made into unlimited varieties, but still, pizza is pizza!
Amie: Great choice!
About Sandy Brehl:
I’ve been an elementary educator and a writer in Wisconsin for many years. I also have file drawers full of rejection letters. Then I joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), which helped my writing immeasurably and led to this publication. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, gardening, and volunteering. Website Blog Facebook Twitter1 Twitter2 Goodreads
How would you like to win a copy of Odin’s Promise? Well, you know what to do!
Amie Borst co-authors the Scarily Ever Laughter series with her middle-grade daughter, Bethanie. Cinderskella is their first book and the sequel, Little Dead Riding Hood, releases October 2014.