This month Nanaimo author Joshua Gillingham releases his debut novel, The Gatewatch. (Photos courtesy Cathy Zoleta/Covervault)

Nanaimo author inspired by Norse mythology, Rocky Mountains in first book

Joshua Gillingham launches new trilogy with debut novel ‘The Gatewatch’

Nanaimo author Joshua Gillingham’s debut novel grew out of an obsession.

Gillingham had fallen out of reading fantasy by the time he was a student at the University of Alberta, but once he started hanging out with members of “an academic club for nerds who were really into [Lord of the Rings author J.R.R.] Tolkien” the myths and magic drew him back in.

“They showed me a few different places in the library that contained all sorts of things including Tolkien’s translations of some of the Norse myths and from there I just kind of followed a rabbit hole down,” he said.

Gillingham said his investigation into Scandinavian mythology led him to come up with some ideas of his own and on May 17 he unveils the fruits of that “obsession,” The Gatewatch.

His debut novel, and the first in a trilogy, follows a trio of heroes who are conscripted to become troll hunters and defend their kingdom from the border village of Gatewatch. They soon learn there is a giant who plans to unite the trolls and launch an invasion and must help prepare for the oncoming attack.

The three main characters are inspired by the Norse gods Odin, Thor and Loki and the story includes numerous riddles, which Gillingham said are common in Scandinavian mythology. For the setting, however, Gillingham recalled his family trips to Jasper and Banff national parks.

“I had these characters and I had this story and it was starting to bubble up and unfold but I needed a setting,” he said. “And for me the most awe-inspiring setting I’d experienced myself was the Rocky Mountains.”

During an online book launch on May 17, Gillingham will read from The Gatewatch, answer questions and hold a prize draw for Viking-style tea and mead, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey. He said his Norse fascination is something he questions himself.

“It seems a little irrational,” Gillingham said. “Why am I so drawn to these stories? I mean they’re from a different time, a different culture, a different era.”

He said an interesting detail that sets Norse mythology apart is the fact that the Norse gods, despite their omnipotence, know they will perish at the end of the world. Although they know their fate, those doomed deities “never back down,” Gillingham said.

“I think we as a society can maybe relate with that a little bit in terms of things like environmental disasters … or this whole thing with COVID,” he said. “We feel that sense of doom sometimes and what I appreciate about the Norse myths is that there’s not a sense of giving up.”

The Gatewatch will be available in stores and online on May 17.

WHAT’S ON … The Gatewatch book launch takes place online on May 17 at 11 a.m. Select ‘Join the Launch Party’ to participate.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ocie Elliott: Facing the Music

Victoria duo describes effects of COVID crisis

YOUR AUGUST HOROSCOPE: It’s Leo Season!

Georgia Nicols giving us insight on what lies ahead this summer

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Psychological thriller filmed on northern Vancouver Island debuts on AppleTV

‘Woodland’ is set in Haida Gwaii, but was filmed around Port McNeill

Symphony Splash goes virtual, revisits 2018 performance

Organizers postpone live event until Aug. 1, 2021

Island pub wants people to ‘drop five’ to keep music alive

Royston’s Charlie Aiken thinks his plan can help artists and venues alike

First Arts Alive sculptures of 2020 now installed

Oak Bay’s annual public art exhibition starts anew

Nanaimo fantasy writer co-authoring Old Norse phrase book

Joshua Gillingham partnering with author and professor on ‘Old Norse for Modern Times’

Cowichan’s 39 Days of July deemed a success, despite COVID-19

Musical productions live streamed from the Duncan Showroom this year

Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival goes ‘mini’ on 10th anniversary

Gabriola Arts Council presents scaled-down, workshop-only IOTA Mini festival

Sooke Fine Arts Show reaches new audiences with virtual showcase

Voting for People’s Choice Award open until Aug. 3

Mural artists announced for Nanaimo’s inaugural Hub City Walls festival

Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen to paint downtown walls

Nanaimo musician Glen Foster releases new music video

‘Brains Brawn and Beauty’ is the latest single from Foster’s album ‘Not Far Away’

Most Read