BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

A lively discussion of ancient and modern Pagan literature -- including children's books, graphic novels, science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries -- along with interviews, author highlights, and profiles of Pagan publishers.

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Interview: Jenn Campus

[Today, we sit down for a quick interview with Jenn Campus. Along with her husband, illustrator Roberto Campus, Jenn has launched a kickstarter to fund the creation of Dreams of Ýdalir. Described as "Norse Mythology meets The Mists of Avalon," the novel centers on Ullr and Elen of the Ways. If you are inspired by what you read here, please look over their kickstarter page and consider funding Dreams of Ýdalir.]



BookMusings: For those not familiar with Norse mythology, what can you tell us about Ullr and Elen of the Ways?

Jenn Campus: Ullr is typically known as being God of the Hunt. He is also well known in ski communities for being the God of Skiing and other winter sports. There are “Ullrfests” that take place all over the world. Yet very little is said of him in the literature, but we know from archaeological studies that there were a lot of places named after him in Northern Europe, which leads historians to believe he was once a much revered God, but somewhere down the line fell into almost obscurity. With this book series, we are shedding light on other aspects of Ullr and hope to bring him back to the forefront of the Norse pantheon.

Elen is another elusive figure from the British pantheon. Both she and Ullr are strongly tied to the Greenwood and to Deer. Elen is associated with Ley Lines and being a protector of the forest and its inhabitants. I have always seen Ullr having “Greenman”/ Cernunnos associations and as I began to write their individual stories, they began to cross over in a way that was very compelling.

BM: Norse mythology is rich with stories both romantic and tragic. Why did you decide to focus on Ullr and Elen of the Ways?

JC: For the reason that they are my patron God and Goddess. I have been a practicing pagan for over twenty years and although I honor many Gods and Goddesses, these two have become the Gods of my family’s hearth. For years I felt their similar energies, but it wasn’t until Yule of 2012 that I got the message loud and clear that this book needed to be written and to tell a story that had long been forgotten. 

BM: What inspired you to make Dreams of Ýdalir a hybrid of prose and art? And how do you decide which portions of the text should be illustrated?

JC: In reality the reason is personal. My husband and I have always been inspired by one another’s work and we have worked on other projects together. He is a well-known illustrator and he’s been listening to my stories about Wuldor and Elen for years and he really wanted to bring them to life, visually. The color art in the book focuses mainly on “portraits” of the main characters and other really pivotal moments in the story. The sketches are reserved for the “journal” section of the book, where our heroine chronicles her adventure. The sketches are her way of sharing more intimate details about the more mundane storyline, which allows the reader to really see into her mind and have a stronger connection to her.

BM: What sort of research has gone into Dreams of Ýdalir? Lots of trips to the library? Big stacks of books on your desk?

JC: This story has come out of many years working directly with and for Elen and Wuldor. It encompasses countless hours of meditation and channeling. I think in the end it is a blessing that not much is written or known of these two figures, because it allowed me to really open my heart to what they wanted to tell me and so learning to trust the story that the Gods themselves have woven for all of us to enjoy. It was clear from the beginning that this was to be a work of fiction and fantasy because there is so much that is fantastical about it and it also needs to be a rich tapestry of words and images to excite a larger audience than just those who already know Wuldor and Elen. This is a book for everyone and it appeals to many different people and the Gods want that.

There has been some research done with regard to my human heroine’s part of the story. Of course writers write what they know, and Fawn’s story has much of my own tied into it. But the time period of the late 18th century (one of my favorite historical periods) is one I have had to research a bit more to understand what life would be like for an orphaned girl. I also chose that time period because I could write in cameos of one of my favorite writers who was alive then and living in that area of Scotland. It also allows me to write in a little of the history of the Scottish clan that I am a part of, so this is a way for me to pay homage to my ancestors as well.

BM: Do you have any advice for those who are thinking of launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a literary project?

JC: When posting on social media – always use images, videos are even better and use all of your characters to promote the book from their various angles. For example, we have two video trailers running for Dreams of Ýdalir – one that focuses on our human heroine, Fawn and her personal journey, while the other focuses on the Gods, Wuldor and Elen and their perspectives. Each one hit a different market. Our heroine trailer appeals to the YA market, while the one focused on the Gods appeals more to the fantasy and Pagan market. 

Social media is great, but try contacting people individually that you personally know and know will love your book. The personal touch is what has been most successful for us.


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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


  • Jenn
    Jenn Wednesday, 26 April 2017

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you about the project!

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Wednesday, 26 April 2017

    Rebecca, thanks for supporting Jenn and Roberto's project. They are personal friends of mine, so I can say with confidence they are two of the nicest people on the planet, not to mention utterly devoted to their Gods and to serving community. So I really appreciate your help re such loving work.

  • Jenn
    Jenn Thursday, 27 April 2017

    Thank you so much for your un-ending support, Francesca!

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