Derek Nelsen was born in New Jersey and raised in North Carolina. A second generation Norwegian American, his grandparents emigrated to the US, settling in Norwegian neighborhoods in New York.
Within a generation these wonderful people left NY to find a better life for their families in the country. New Jersey, the Garden State.
Kids grow, neighborhoods change, and slopes are slippery. To protect their four boys from inevitable incarceration, the next generation moved south. Back when calling long distance cost money, before overnight delivery, and when flying home was not an option, Derek’s mother and father left friends and family behind to escape to beautiful Western North Carolina.
Derek graduated from Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and a couple of minors (not related to writing). His career afforded him the chance to get paid to travel and see the world. For over twenty years he used the time traveling to project sites to rediscover his love of story.
Weary of the radio always playing the same songs, sports, and politics, Derek remembers making a conscious effort to turn off the noise (well, most of the time).
On his way to becoming an airline million miler, every time Derek was in a car, waiting in an airport or flying on a plane, he was reading or listening to audiobooks or podcasts. How else could a modern man claim to have read Crime and Punishment? For the first time he studied the Bible and religion, read philosophers and storytellers, and discovered a new love of History and Science, too.
Derek’s favorite non-fiction stories have a nautical bent, and include Nathaniel Philbrick’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex’ and Alfred Lansing’s ‘Endurance: Shackelton’s Incredible Voyage’. His favorite fiction authors range from Michael Crichton to George R.R. Martin, with a special love of the masters, Inklings C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Recognizing the ties to Epic Fantasy, Derek began delving deep into his Norwegian heritage, reading the Scandinavian Sagas, Myth and Folklore.
It was these master story tellers and epic sagas that lead Derek to discover his own love of creative writing. In 2014, Derek was compelled to write his first Epic Fantasy novel ‘Viking Lost’, the first in his ‘Saga of Souls’ series. Writing these books it turns out, was something he’d been preparing for his entire life.
Derek still feels blessed to be able to call the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina home. After marrying Lisa, a local girl, he believes his family combines the best of their two worlds, like tynne pannekakes (Norwegian Crepes) and biscuits and gravy.
The Vikings want the village. The gods want the souls. Can Tor save his family before everything goes to Hella?
With one son preparing for marriage, the other about to have his soul ring painfully cut from his chest, things were finally looking up for Tor and his family. He was even thinking of ways to fix his own marriage with the boys’ stepmother. But when a weather-worn dragon ship washed into his hidden fjord with a half-dead Viking giant, a Christian slave girl, and members of Tor’s old crew, the life he’d made began to unravel.
Once, Tor had traded his own cracked and mottled soul for glory—but he wanted better for his sons. But even they could be lured by the Viking’s promises of adventure and riches, compared to their life of want and runaway goats. Only Tor knows that if he can’t defeat the giant, he and his family might be the village’s first sacrifice to the gods he left behind.
Viking Lost is the first novel in the exciting Saga of Souls historical fantasy series. If you like Norse Mythology, soul-less Vikings, and want a glimpse of the underworld, read Viking Lost!
This book is one of the BBNYA semi-finalists, a contest run by book bloggers to vote for their favourite indie-published book. To read more about BBNYA, click here.