Rebecca Mueller Callahan (RMueller on QT) has signed with agent Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Inc..
I knew from several articles that Mr. Galen really appreciates series, so in my letter to him I didn't just pitch The Frozen Witch or its intended sequels, but the whole extended universe those books are set in. I said my goal was to create a complete set of interrelated series, similar to his client Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar collection. He liked it.
[Here is a paragraph explaining why this book may appeal to them].
The elevator pitch of The Frozen Witch: Hildr Jonsdottir's parents were killed in a car accident in the Icelandic countryside when she was four. She was rescued from the wreck by passing giants and raised in their homeworld, Jotunheim, until forced to return to Iceland as an adult. Now Hildr ekes out a living on the fringes of modern society, squatting rent-free in an ancient longhouse and selling spells by word-of-mouth. After eight years of exile, she learns that an ancient magical mill, which has the power to grind out anything from salt to soldiers to good luck, has been stolen from its trollish guards. Believing that this mill can secure her reentrance to Jotunheim, Hildr will do anything to claim it for herself.
Hildr tracks down the mill, only to find it in the hands of an unlikely adversary: Galdur, the severed--but still talking!--head of a rival occultist. He’s allied himself with a white power band called Aryan Lightning, who will use the mill to ignite simmering Scandinavian race tensions into a full-blown war. It won’t be long before Galdur deciphers the mill’s complex spells, leaving Hildr with not much time to decide: should she summon the giants to save a world she hates, or try to steal the mill for herself? And if she fails, how many people will die for the sake of her wounded pride?
Of course, this brief description leaves out many of the most engrossing characters and developments. It gives short shrift to Mariam Haddad, the teenage Muslim immigrant whom Hildr persuades to become a valkyrie. It doesn’t describe antagonists who are not mere Nazi stormtroopers, but eminently human characters whose worldview is both more chilling and more common than many readers are aware. It doesn’t explain the meta-element of two adolescent fantasy fans at last experiencing real magic, only to belatedly discover that it neither solves their problems nor satisfies their emotional hunger. It never even mentions how The Frozen Witch smashes the Bechdel test. These are all story elements that I, as a lifelong lover of fantasy, wish to see more often in my favorite genre. I know that other readers feel the same.
That shared feeling may prove worthwhile, as The Frozen Witch is only the first of a planned series of novels set in the same universe. I am currently outlining Witch’s sequel, The Veiled Valkyrie. I have also already completed drafts of two other novels, Bluebeard (88,000 words) and The Troll Cross (100,000 words). Both of these books--the first set in London, the second in the Southern U.S.-- share minor characters with The Frozen Witch, but can be read separately. Given the opportunity, I would love to produce a much larger collection of loosely connected books, along the lines of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels or the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett.
To write The Frozen Witch, I studied the Elder Edda and medieval Icelandic sagas extensively while earning my Master’s degree in English Literature. I’ve worked to make every aspect of Hildr’s traditional lifestyle, from her ancient longhouse to her iron kettle, period-accurate. For example, for Hildr’s axe-fighting scenes, I consulted a Weapons Master from the Society for Creative Anachronism. I also conducted research on the current rise of white supremacy in Sweden, lurking on Internet forums and referencing political publications by Stieg Larsson (author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The fictional political party to which the antagonists belong, the New Swedish Democrats, is a thinly-veiled reference to the actual right-wing party the Sweden Democrats and their splinter party the National Democrats.
I’ve included the first three chapters and a synopsis below. This is a simultaneous submission, and the full manuscript is available upon request. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with additional questions and/or comments about this project.