Undermountain by Eric Edstrom {REVIEW & INTERVIEW}

Posted on 13 February, 2012 by Faye - 6 Comments

 Today I am excited to introduce you all to Eric Edstrom! Eric is the author of Undermountain which I have just recently finished (review below). Today he is being interviewed by me for all of you lovely followers of mine! I have to admit that reading his answers made me realise just how nice a guy he is!

So, here we go!

puzzlepiece13


Tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
I live outside of a small town in Wisconsin, about a 90 minute drive from Chicago. My wife and I have one daughter, Ella, who just turned eight.
How long have you wanted to be a writer?
I had many false starts as a novelist, beginning when I was fourteen or fifteen. I would start stories without any idea of plot or story arc. My main objective was to have a character discover something mysterious, or find out he had some amazing magical power. 
When you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do? 
I do most of my creative work away from the keyboard. I like to dictate the first draft of my stories while I’m walking or driving. I find it goes faster and it keeps me from editing, which always kills creativity. Aside from that, I enjoy writing and recording songs. I have a nice hobby studio for that work. I spent several years traveling to Nashville, Tennessee writing songs for country singers. When I got distracted by writing fiction, I realized I was working in the wrong field!
What inspired you to write a story involving bigfoot?
I came up with the seed of the idea several years ago. For some reason I was thinking about Bigfoot, a popular legend in the US and Canada. I discovered that there are similar legends all over the world. I’d be counted as a skeptic for sure. But I thought that if the creature did exist, it would be far more interesting if it was more technologically advanced than us humans. I followed that thread of an idea and discovered that they lived in a huge underground city, waiting for us to get our act together.

I was quite excited by it at the time, but I just didn’t have the time to work on it. When my nephew challenged me to a NaNoWriMo, I accepted. Those 50,000 words became the genesis for Undermountain.


Have you ever been to Banff? Is Undermountain located in a real mountain you saw there?
I have been to Banff several times. My wife and I got married there, in a beautiful outdoor ceremony among the mountains. Our only witnesses were the marriage commissioner, her husband and our photographer. Undermountain’s true location is top secret!
Did you enjoy writing your story? 
I did enjoy it. At times I wondered if I’d gone insane, because any time I tried to explain I was writing a novel about bigfoot, I got weird looks. But once I met my characters and got to know them, I became deeply attached to them. I really wanted them to succeed. sometimes it was painful because as an author you take a break and go see a movie or something and the whole time you’re thinking about the horrible predicament you left your characters in when you left off!
Did you use a structured plan or did it sort of tell it’s own story along the way?
Because of the nature of the bigfeet and the two-headed tangoga creatures, I had to do quite a bit of world building prior to writing any prose. So when I started, I knew a LOT about the history of the bigfeet and how they came to be living in Undermountain.

When I started NaNoWriMo I had a very rough idea of who my characters were and what they would do. Once I completed NaNo, I outlined the entire story and rewrote huge chunks of it, including the entire last third. I changed a bunch of viewpoint chapters to make Breyona a more important character, which was great and painful at the same time. I think I suffered more than she did over some of those chapters.


You mention that you wrote this during NaNoWriMo, how many times did you participate before Undermountain emerged?
It was my first NaNoWriMo! I’d heard of it a few years prior, but it seemed insane. If my nephew hadn’t challenged me, I might not have written it. 
quick fire round;

ebooks or hard copies?

Yes. I switch off depending on my mood. Sometimes I like the smell and tactile experience of a hard copy. 

day or night?
Day. And more specifically, morning. This answer is a shocks me, though. 

reading or writing?
writing is almost the same thing as reading for me. Have you ever read a book with a cool idea and character and then shouted “No! No! No! they should do this, then this, and this should happen.” When I write I get to make the story go the way I want. And the reason I write is so I can read the story.

paper or computer?
Computer. Paper is for world building, brainstorming, journaling, and grocery lists.

tea or coffee?
Delicious 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee. Black.

favourite book of the moment?

I’m currently enjoying Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Very clever and fun.

most memorable book?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 

Favourite movie, and therefore best ever made or ever to be made in the history of the universe? (this was added by Eric himself)
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Eric can be found on these sites;
www.ericedstrom.com 
http://ww.facebook.com/erickentedstrom 
And, Bigfoot Grizz sometimes tweets here;
@bigfootgrizz  
 Undermountain Book Trailer
——- 
 
Author: Eric Edstrom
Publisher: Undermountain Books LLC
Published: 24th December 2011
Pages: Kindle Edition (Unknown)
Goodreads: Add It
Summary: (Goodreads)
Undermountain is an innovative, clever and wildly imaginative adventure. Along the way, Edstrom turns the legend of bigfoot on its head.

A group of troubled teens escape to the Canadian Rockies for a ten day excursion. All they take with them is their backpacks and their grizzled old mountaineer guide.

But when Danny and Breyona encounter a creature of legend—an eight foot tall beast they tag as “bigfoot”—the hike turns into a race for their lives.

Swept to the secret city of Undermountain, Danny, Breyona and their friends find themselves in the middle of a war—between their “bigfoot” captors and horrific creatures called “shriekers.”

But more than their freedom is at stake. To escape, to survive, to save the Earth, Danny and Breyona must end the war … and make sure neither side wins.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS ****
This novel had me hooked from the first page. The writing style was brilliant and really kept me captivated but really it was the story that was absolutely amazing. This was a story like none I have ever read and I was well and truly hooked. It was a book about bigfeet. You know it to be a legend but as you read this book, it seems that this could actually be real. It is so descriptive and imaginative that I honestly forgot that bigfoot doesn’t exist because he felt so real in this novel. It was just such an interesting read.
The story takes you on the journey of five kids who were on a ten-day hike in the Canadian Rockies when they were suddenly chased down by a two-headed creature. Finally they are rescued by a bigfoot. It is soon discovered that the legends are true but before they can run off and tell everyone about it, the kids are lead into the mountain by not one, but several bigfeet. Down and down they go until they reach, Undermountain; a civilised city full of bigfeet who are actually creatures from a different planet and are waiting down in the mountains until the humans are ready to be introduced to their existence.
The characters in this story are so realistic. Each and every one has their own back story, their own fears and worries and strengths and weaknesses and it is so lovely to read how they all come about. It is their personalities that change the way the narrative turns and this is just marvellous to see. The things that are happening around them are out of their control but within their control all at the same time and I absolutely love that. I love that all five of the kids went on a journey and came out a different, yet better, person because of it. I also admire that it didn’t just stick to one POV as I feel that this would have made it a difficult read. The ever-changing POVs was not confusing either which was really good.
I adored the bigfeet. I loved their community and the way that within it, it still had its own problems. They believe that the humans are not ready for them but I also believe that they are just as corrupt as the humans but just aren’t willing to admit it. I love their oath and the different interpretations of it. I admired that as the story continued I forgot that bigfoot is just a legend and actually started imagining these characters as real creatures. Honestly, I would like to have Grizz around me at all times; he is by far the best bigfoot.
Not only were the bigfeet interesting to read about, the Tangeg and Tangoga were as well! I loved the two-headed creatures with almost two different personalities. I loved the banter that they had between each other and the way they tried to work through their problems alone. After all, wouldn’t we all just want to have a friend permanently attached too us? I loved the different personalities of all the different Tangoga and the difference between those and Tangeg but really, I just found it all fascinating that I could imagine them clearly and could really believe that they were real. Eric Edstrom certainly has a way with words!
Aside from the magnificent characters, the world-building in this novel was brilliant. The descriptions weren’t too heavy but they was just the right amount of them to imagine the place completely. This was just a brilliant example of how well Eric can write. This was also shown through the plot which was so captivating. Never was there a dull moment in the book, there was always something going on. Even when you thought that things would slow down, you would suddenly be shocked out of your system as something else would happen that would force you to continue reading and turning the page.
The ending was brilliant, and really left you feeling like you’d lost a friend when you got to the last word. I wanted there to be another page, some more words for me to fill my brain with. It was absolutely marvellous and I will, from now on, be keeping an eye on Eric Edstrom to make sure that I read every single book that he publishes.
This book was simply a brilliant read. The only problem I had with the book was that it was quite long. For a YA book, it seemed to continue going and I think that some YA readers may find this difficult but, this was only a thought I had for some of the book. As I’ve already said, by the end of the book, I was simply craving more. Really, the only thing wrong with this book is that there isn’t another one already waiting for me to read.
 I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read something that is a unique sci-fi with page-turning adventure filling the page. I would also like to thank Eric for sending me his book looking for an honest review as I am incredibly glad that I got the chance to read this book and urge all of you to do the same!
Faye

6 Comments

  • First time hearing about Undermountain. It sound interesting. Awesome interview. EEeeee I’ve been dying to read A Thousand Splendid Suns; I’ve read The Kite Runner and LOVED it, but never got around to reading TSS. Thanks for sharing this great post.

    • Get to reading it! You won’t regret it! :D

      And Oh My! ATSS is just A-MAZING. I totally agree with Eric *points below* it’s a powerful and emotional read and is one of the high reasons Khaled Hossieni (sp?) is one of my ultimate favourite authors.

      So go check both books out… now! :D

  • Yey I’m glad you enjoyed this book too Faye!

    Don’t you think this book would make a great movie? I forgot to mention that in my review. It kinda felt like one of those books that I could visualise as a film whilst reading.

    Great review :)

  • Eric Edstrom says:

    I hope it’s not bad form for me to chime in here!

    Sagacity Quest, I chose A Thousand Splendid Suns was a heartbreaking read. It’s one of those books I loved, but I don’t know if I could bear to read it again. Very powerful.

    Ali, I agree! Almost everyone I’ve talked to said Undermountain would be a cool movie! I don’t know if I could stand the excitement if it ever happened. And then there’s the very real risk, Hollywood would screw it up. I started a thread on the goodreads page for the book about who I’d cast in the movie. I don’t know enough of today’s young actors.

    • Not bad at all Eric! Good, in fact :-)

      I love that you love A Thousand Splendid Suns :D

      And I would totally understand that fear! I would not want it ruined and everyone has their own unique view on things so it’s likely, even if it didn’t for some, it might for others, including you! That’s why I’d prefer to be a writer than a director! :D

      hehe.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: