Some Thoughts with ... Lilian Horn

24 Nov 2022

The Author/s

Lilian Horn

Lilian Horn

Norwegian born and resident Lilian Horn brings life to Scandinavian folklore through her debut Perils of Sea and Sky. With a degree as a biomedical laboratory scientist, hobby painter and game enthusiast, she lives in the arctic city of Tromsø with her introverted and demanding cat. Her second novel, Journey of the Lost and Damned is a sequel to Perils of Sea and Sky and will be released in May 2024.

The Interview

Hello everybody! Welcome to a (very late) interview with Lilian Horn, the author of Perils of Sea and Sky, published by Rising Action Co.

Let's dive in!

1.- When did you start writing? Is Perils of Sea and Sky your first written novel?
I started writing when I was very young. All of my school essays and stories were far longer than they needed to be, to my teacher’s dismay, and I noticed I loved writing longer stories even if they completely missed the assignment. It was when I got my first computer as a teenager I started writing more seriously and looking into the craft, first in Norwegian as my English wasn’t very good at the time, and then later in English because it sounded better and almost everything I read at the time was in English. It was a no-brainer.
I started drafting my first full novel-length at 18 and that took 6 long years to complete in between university and several jobs. That project never went anywhere. It’s still in the backburner marinating as I hone my craft, and I periodically come back to old projects as it’s fun to see how much I’ve improved.
The next book, however, I wrote in only 6 months, and that became Perils of Sea and Sky. I spent around a year editing it before I sent it out to agents.

2.- How did you end publishing with Rising Action Co? 
I had been in the query trenches for maybe two years at the time with very few full manuscript requests, but people still loved the premise even if it wasn’t exactly the thing they were looking for. I was sorta going about it haphazardly as I was running out of agents looking for adult fantasy books, and I had to dig through every resource available for publishing houses. One of those was Rising Action Publishing Collective, they were completely new at the time, and was a golden opportunity for debut authors, as they say. I took my shot, and before I knew it, I had an interview with Tina and Alex, Tina became my agent, and her enthusiasm about my book is what ultimately made me sign with them.

3.- Which elements of the real world would you say inspired you to write Perils of Sea and Sky?
The 1700s setting made it easy for me to incorporate the fantasy and technological elements that fit the narrative I wanted to include. I love sailships and think they’re incredibly cool, and the movie Treasure Planet is one of my favourite movies growing up, and I drew a lot of inspiration from that. But I also wanted a more down-to-Earth setting incorporating some of the creatures and stories that I grew up with. I’ve always loved a good lost-in-the-woods story where there are mythical creatures, and we have some scary woods and marshes for a kid with a wild imagination. Sprinkle a little fantasy element in there and the world makes sense.

4.- Who is your favourite character in the book?
Each time people ask me this question it’s a different character. I love them all, but I do circulate between them, especially since writing book two. I really love the third engineer Gavin Diggle. He’s an aloof young man who loves to crack terrible jokes and puns and is the second engineer’s unintended sidekick and friend, which was fun to explore.

5.- What made you create antigravity?
I didn’t want to create a magical reason for the flying sailships I have in my books, but rather a natural resource that already exists in that world. Steam is also something that I knew came later in this reality of history, but I’ve already seen it everywhere. While my world has steampunk elements, it’s not quite that. I wanted something simpler yet stronger, that relied more on the resource doing its thing rather than the technology driving it, which I felt would fit better in a 1700s setting. There’s a bit of a mystery as to how things work, and especially with a 1700s setting they aren’t fully equipped to know exactly what they’re dealing it. They just know it works.  

6.- Which other literature works would you say have influenced you more? Which novel is your favourite one?
I read a lot of R.A. Salvatore and his Legend of Drizzt series, which also is why I named my cat Drizzt. Salvatore’s writing style when it comes to the mental battle of a journey is just awe-inspiring and checks all the boxes for me, but also his sword fights are just incredible. Another author, Alan Campbell inspired me when it came to genre-bending between fantasy and science fiction, but also world-building.

7.- Is there anybody you would like to thank in your whole career as a writer?
Too many people! My dad for creating a writing gremlin who consumed caffeine in her pjs, my dear friend Chris who have read everything I’ve written and judged it fairly, Tina for being my book champion and letting me keep my creativity, and Rising Action Publishing Collective (and all the people behind it) who got my book out there. I truly couldn’t be here without any of them.

8.- What can we expect from Lilian Horn in the future?
I have a sequel to Perils of Sea and Sky called Journey of the Lost and Damned coming out in the spring of 2024! There was a lot from book 1 I didn’t have the pages to expand upon and I really wanted to dig deeper into certain things. You know when you have a debut book, there are only so many words you can safely get away with when you’re querying.
I had to limit myself, for there was so much I wanted to write about, but I didn’t have the pages for it. So I did just that, explored more of the mysteries of that world, and dug deeper into how the events of book 1 affected the characters.
I’m neck deep in edits of book 2 and I can’t wait for it to be out there with book 1!

Well, that's all from our side! Thanks to Lilian Horn for taking the time to answer all these questions!