Hi Misfiteers! I am beyond excited to be here on Band Geek Thursday. First of all, my name is ST Bende, and I was a real life Band Geek. (Junior High, Trumpet.)
ELSKER is the story of Kristia Tostenson, a twenty-year-old girl from a one light town who prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs. On a whim, she moves halfway across the world to study at Cardiff University in Wales, where she falls in love with Ull Myhr. Ull isn’t exactly what Kristia imagined for her first real boyfriend -- he’s a Norse God; an Asgardian Assassin fated to die at the battle of Ragnarok. Kristia’s orderly life is about to get messy.
So in honor of Kristia and Ull, here are some songs to get messy by:
Ja Vi Elsker, the Norwegian National Anthem - ELSKER was written by me, for me, with the intention that it never, ever, leave my computer. Somewhere along the way I forgot that, and decided to query it. And somewhere along that way I realized I had to come up with a title. This must have corresponded with Syttende Mai, Norway’s independence day. Because in the midst of numerous rounds of singing Ja, vi elsker dette landet (yes, we love this land), I thought, Hey! Ja Vi Elsker! My book has an Elsker in it. Let’s call it that. But of course, that was too long, not to mention hard to say, and so it became ELSKER. To be honest, I thought my publisher would make me change the title. But they didn’t, so Thank You, Norwegian National Anthem, for giving my story a name. I hope I do you proud.
Brighter Than The Sun, Colbie Callait - Kristia is a completely ordinary twenty-year-old girl, with one exception -- she sees things. She has random visions of the future at completely inconvenient times, and everyone in her itty-bitty town thinks she’s a total headcase. Ull is the overachieving stepson of the God of Thunder. He firmly believes his life was mapped out by Norse prophets, and he has no control over what happens to him. Brighter Than the Sun fits for so, so many reasons. Colbie sings, “I swear you hit me like a vision… but who am I to tell fate where it’s supposed to go.” I mean to me, that was totally Kristia and Ull. And then she sings “lightning strikes the heart”, and lightning’s all tied up in thunder (Thor’s deal), and “we could be the stars falling from the sky, shining how we want, brighter than the sun.” Now, if that doesn’t sound like an Asgardian/Human love story, then I just don’t know what does. Plus, I swear every time I got in my car when I was writing ELSKER this was on the radio, so now it’s irrevocably intertwined with the story for me.
It’s Time, Imagine Dragons - Kristia and Ull are literally from two different worlds. While I was tempted to include that song from Disneyland’s late Country Bear Jamboree (you know, the one where the bear and the octopus are singing “we come from two different worlds”), the Imagine Dragons song seemed a little more on trend. “I get a little bit bigger but then I admit, I’m just the same as I was. Now don’t you understand? I’m never changing who I am.” Like the bear and the octopus, but a little more up tempo. Plus, their music is pretty wholesome, and Kristia is a wholesome girl -- she and her grandma read Emily Post cover to cover. And when I saw Imagine Dragons perform on TV, the lead singer looked like he was having a really, really good time. And I like that.
Uprising, Muse - Muse does the dark, brooding, superhero music like no other. And Ull can be a dark, brooding kind of Norse god. But this song speaks specifically to rising up, taking back power, refusing to be controlled and emerging victorious. All things Ull’s going to have to figure out if he and everyone he loves stand even the slightest chance of surviving the mythological Norse apocalypse. Because Ragnarok’s coming. And “the paranoia is in bloom.” Right Matthew Bellamy? (Coincidentally, the girl who sat behind me in junior high school band was named Bellamy. And it comes full circle.)
We Are Young, Fun - I’ll be honest, I just really like this song. So I played it over, and over, and over when I was writing ELSKER. And editing ELSKER. It might even be playing while I’m writing this post... I’m surprised my computer didn’t get sick of it and accidentally delete it from my iTunes. But it just resonated with me. “Tonight we are young. So let’s set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun.” It speaks of hope, of fully living in this moment because you never know what the next one’s going to bring. Seems kind of good for a guy who thinks he’s got a dark future mapped out for him, right?
A Thousand Years, Christina Perri - This one just screamed Kristia and Ull to me. Any time I wrote a romantic scene, this was on loop. “I have died everyday waiting for you, Darlin’ don’t be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more.” Ull’s ancient -- like, beginning of time, Asgardian ancient. And he’s never let himself fall in love. Why bother if you know you’re going to die? But then he meets Kristia, and oh, man. Eons of pent up emotions come exploding out of this drop dead gorgeous god. “I will be brave, I will not let anything take away what’s standing in front of me. Every breath, every hour has come to this.” Once Ull finds Kristia, he’s going to do whatever it takes to keep her. No matter what it costs him. So. Perfect.
Thrift Shop, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Okay, not really. I could draw a parallel between this song being about looking incredible in old school clothes, and Kristia being an uber-conservative dresser. (A sore spot for her fashion major roommate, Victoria.) But in reality, this song is a shout-out to my fabulous editor, Eden Plantz. See, her husband actually wears his granddad’s clothes and he really does look incredible. So Thrift Shop became a part of my ELSKER playlist during content edits, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. Howdy, Eden. *waves*
THANK YOU, Misfiteers, for letting me play Band Geek with y’all. This was a fabulous way to introduce you to my imaginary friends. I hope you’ll let us visit again soon!
Stop by and say hi on the blog (http://stbende.blogspot.com/)