Perhaps you know the myths.
Today I’m beyond excited to kick off The Goddess of Nothing At All Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! This upcoming week we’ll be showcasing Cat Rector’s dark fantasy/Norse retelling debut, a book I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about. Those of you that know me also know I’m incapable of saying no to Norse flavored stories, and this one sounds right up my alley. And it also helps that Cat is one of the most awesome authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what others think of this story of hers, so stay tuned, it’s going to be a busy and amazing week.
Cat was kind enough to stop by for a chat about this beautiful book of hers (look at that cover!), the research she’s done and what she hopes people take away from this tale she’s penned, what lies ahead, and more. So, keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, read the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a copy of The Goddess of Nothing At All!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature The Goddess of Nothing At All. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
SEPTEMBER 29TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Devouring Books (IG: @wilcoxmandy)
Brinns Books (IG: @brinnsbooks)
Girl Who Reads
A Part of Your Book World (IG: @apartofyourbookworld)
Armed with A Book
Dragon Hourglass (IG: @zxeper)
OCTOBER 5TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
About the Book
Perhaps you know the myths.
Furious, benevolent Gods.
A tree that binds nine realms.
A hammer stronger than any weapon.
And someday, the end of everything.
But few have heard of me.
Looking back, it’s easy to know what choices I might have made differently. At least it feels that way. I might have given up on my title. Told my father he was useless, king of gods or no, and left Asgard. Made a life somewhere else.
Maybe I would never have let Loki cross my path. Never have fallen in love.
But there’s no going back.
We were happy once.
And the price for that happiness was the end of everything.
The Goddess of Nothing At All by Cat Rector
SERIES: Unwritten Runes (#1)
PUBLISHED: October 1, 2021
GENRE: Dark Fantasy, Norse Myth Retelling
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Meet The Author
Cat Rector grew up in a small Nova Scotian town and could often be found simultaneously reading a book and fighting off muskrats while walking home from school. She devours story in all its forms, loves messy, morally grey characters, and writes about the horrors that we inflict on each other. Currently, she lives in Belgium with her spouse. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing video games, spending time with loved ones, or staring at her To Be Read pile like it’s going to read itself.
The Goddess of Nothing At All is her debut novel.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Cat. Since we already have your official bio, can we have the MCs from The Goddess of Nothing At All introduce you in one sentence?
Umm I mean yes, sure…though I’m not sure that Sigyn and Loki have anything nice to say about me—
Sigyn: “This b**** spent hundreds of pages ripping my life apart and I’m supposed to say something nice? What fresh Hel is this?”
Loki: “At least it takes the heat off of me.”
Sigyn: “DOES IT THOUGH?”
Give us an idea of how The Goddess of Nothing At All came to fruition.
I started writing The Goddess of Nothing At All when I was between jobs and on a Norse myth research kick. I had just finished reading the Eddas (the books that are as close to source material as we can get) and I had expected to get some answers from them. Lo and behold, it told me very little of what I really wanted to know. I was deeply interested in knowing the reasons behind the choices that had been made. Why did Loki do particular things? Were his choices reactions to things in the myths that had happened to him? And between all these questions was this figure shrouded in mystery. Who was Sigyn, this wife of Loki, and how did she survive a life with so much violence and upheaval?
Whatever role she really played in the mythology is lost to time. That wasn’t good enough for me, so I just started writing some fanfiction to answer my questions. I finished the first version and still couldn’t let it go. At some point I realized I wasn’t writing to keep busy anymore, I was writing a book. It took years of work to learn how to turn it into something I was proud of, but my nerdy little project is now a real, published book.
Can you share with us something about The Goddess of Nothing At All that isn’t in the blurb?
This book is very queer. It’s not a secret, it just isn’t something that made it into the cut on the blurb. Many of the characters fall under the LGBTQA+ umbrella somewhere, and while I don’t use modern labels in the story, I’ve listed them on my website so that it’s not confusing or up for debate.
Part of why this was important to me is that Loki in the Eddas felt very queer to me. There are many parts that read as queer, and once you see it, it’s hard to look away. Writing a book where this family as straight felt disingenuous, and I’m hardly the only person who feels that way. There are now plenty of people studying the myths from a queer lens and publishing academic papers on it, and the study of ancient magical practices in Scandinavia involves plenty of discussion on sex, sexuality, and societal gender roles.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
One of the most influential things for this book has been researching the Lokean section of paganism. Many people have taken on Loki and his family as their patron deities. To oversimplify it, for many people, Loki represents a god of change, of lost people, and of LGBQTA+ identities, while Sigyn represents a force of reliability, stability, and caring.
There’s also a running belief that if a follower of Loki is stagnant in their lives, Loki can (and definitely will) provide a catalytic event that will push them towards change. Are you staying inside all day and doing nothing to help your own loneliness? Wow, wouldn’t it be a shame if your computer randomly exploded a little! It’s a bit akin to the idea that “God never gives you a challenge you can’t overcome” but with more of a focus on making sense of chaos and repurposing it for growth.
A lot of these concepts became part of my personification of this flawed god. Among other things, my rendition of him is a deeply queer character who acts (willingly or unwillingly) as a catalyst in everyone’s lives.
What do you hope your readers take away from The Goddess of Nothing At All?
All of my characters are flawed people making flawed choices. I hope that some readers are able to feel seen when they read the book, either because these characters are struggling in ways they relate to, or because they also feel like flawed people. The message so many of us get these days is that if we just learn enough, fix enough, try hard enough, we’ll someday be flawless. But we won’t, and that’s fine. We’re all making the best choices we can with the information we have, and we’re all heroes and villains depending on the perspective of the person looking at us.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
For me, it’s the characters. Typically my books begin percolating as some very vague topic, then I create the main characters, and then I build the world and plot around them. I have a temporarily abandoned project that started as the thought “what if this train station I work at is just a chaotic liminal space, because this place is 24/7 ridiculous.” I spent two weeks daydreaming of the two characters that existed in that idea. It’s been like 3 years now and I’m still not settled on what the plot will be. (Good thing it’s not my next project.)((Isn’t writing glorious.))
What do you think makes a good story?
I’m really drawn to stories that challenge me and hurt my feelings. Stories about imperfect people and the human condition are usually high on my tbr. Some of my favourite books are Celeste Ascending (about abuse) and White Oleander (about the foster care system) because those books pushed me to think deeply about the pain of others and become a more empathetic person. Books like those have also been reliable sources of self-reflection and have helped me with my own internal struggles.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
*Laughs maniacally* Like, all of it.
As I said in an earlier question, I didn’t take the first draft of this seriously and it was absolute garbage. I was just having fun. When I did start taking it seriously, I had to start from the beginning to build out the concept, create a better plot, and remove things that were self-serving rather than enjoyable book content. I learned a lot and I took my time making a book that I was proud of. I don’t regret the way my book was born, but I would neither recommend it nor want to repeat it.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
My tip is to beware of tips. In the online world, content that’s broad and easy to agree with earns the most views. Writers with big audiences literally make a profit by saying things like “write every day!” It’s easy to say, hard to achieve, and is guaranteed to lead new writers into a pit of self-doubt when they can’t pull it off. And you won’t be able to pull it off, because working 365 days a year is neither healthy nor a reasonable expectation. And the big secret? The person who said it isn’t doing it either. Everyone is full of shit and faking it 100% of the time, so take the pressure off your shoulders and just do the work.
Want real rules can you live by? The book won’t write itself. Find routines that work for you, search for inspiration in everything, study marketing, and make writing friends. Boom. Go do your best.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Winter or Summer?
Winter. Being less cold is easy, but at some point trying to be less warm becomes illegal nudity.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Both. Have you tried lugging Priory of the Orange Tree in your purse?
Mountains or Oceans?
Ocean, my natural habitat.
Beer or Wine?
Books or Movies?
The cool answer is books but movies are so easy to absorb…
Cowboys or Aliens?
Aliens. Cowboys are the bottom of the pile for me.
Pie or Cake?
Lemon Meringue Pie or BUST.
Rural or Urban?
Rural PLEASE get me out of this city I BEG YOU
Work hard or Play hard?
Work hard. Who is play, I don’t know her.
Have you read anything awesome lately?
Yes! My author friend Lyra Wolf let me read an ARC of her Loki novella Thunder, Blood, and Goats and I had a great time with it. I also just started the audiobook of Ten Arrows of Iron by Sam Sykes, and I adore the voice actor for the series.
If you’re fishing for more recommendations though, I’ve been collecting Norse myth/Viking themed books over on my Goodreads author page under the Cat’s Bookshelves section. (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21515704.Cat_Rector)
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Cat. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Thank you so much for having me! After this book is released, I plan on sleeping for a thousand years. I’m currently working on the sequel for The Goddess of Nothing At All, which is currently in its second draft. Then it’s on to my other WIP about a witch who really does commune with demons Thank-You-Very-Much, and her accidental Puritan-inspired accomplice who discovers that his village isn’t as innocent as it appears.
Oh, and probably I’m going to eat a lot of ice cream.
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International • Ends 10/6