Young Icelandic author creates a medieval fantasy world

The first book by young Icelandic author Elí Freysson has been acclaimed by critics and readers alike. The book was published last December by Sögur Publishing in Iceland and a sequel is on its way. In the book, Master of the Blind, Elí has created a unique medieval-fantasy world. We met the author to learn more about his world.

How do you start creating a world like this?
Really just by choosing a starting point; what kind of story I wan to tell, what kind of characters and events I want to portray and expand from there. I don’t really know how to describe it any greater detail, but it really is just a case of one thing leading to another.

Where do you draw inspiration from when you create the characters?
The strangest thing to discover about this was that my inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere. Movies, books, video games, real events, myths, whatever. Any moment in anything can lead to sudden inspiration. A little “say, that gives me an idea!”

We know that you have already written book two and three, what are you working on now?
Yes. I already have a rough draft of the fifth book in my head, and overall I would say I have material for at least ten books in the series. And when that’s done I have ideas for a completely different series.

When you are writing, do you plan events into the future in the series or do you let the writing take you where it goes?
It’s a bit of both. I do try to have a plan so as not to write myself into a corner. But I also find that I can’t predict what ideas I’ll get down the road. So I try to keep the plan loose enough to adapt to new ideas.

Do your characters take on a life of their own? Do you favor some of them over others?
I have three main characters in the series. One is the easiest to write, one is the most interesting to write, and one is the most fun. They each have their appeal to me.

Are there plans to publish your books outside Iceland?
Not yet. I’ll have to prove myself at home first. But it is an ambition of mine and I fully intend to make it happen some day.

Örlygur Hnefill

Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson is the manager of Húsavík Hotels and co-founder of He has worked as a journalist at Fréttablaðið newspaper in Reykjavík and at the Parliament of Iceland, as an assistant to MP for North East Constituency.

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