Hello everyone! I’m absolutely thrilled that I am second stop on The Night River December Blog Tour for E.C. Hibbs final book in The Foxfires Trilogy, The Night River. My book review will be coming out today and here are 8 things from the Foxfires Trilogy that happened in real life.
8 THINGS FROM THE FOXFIRES TRILOGY WHICH HAPPENED TO ME IN REAL LIFE
This one goes without saying, since it sets up all the following points, but we might as well start here! When I was twenty-four, I crossed the Arctic Circle for the first time: namely, into Finnish Lapland. My home there was a tiny village in the middle of a frozen forest, surrounded by fells and lakes, 90 miles from the nearest city. I lived in a log cabin with triple-glazed windows to keep in the heat, built fires every day, and saw reindeer wandering down the road. It became my second home, and I spent the next five winters there.
2. I got frostbite.
Two characters from the Foxfires Trilogy, Tuomas and Mihka, are unfortunate enough to endure frostbite. While this was something I’d planned from the beginning, I went back and rewrote those passages after I ended up suffering a case of it myself! Luckily, it was very mild and no damage was done, but it really let me understand and sympathise with the pain of having body parts literally freeze. I do not recommend!
3. I ate reindeer meat.
This has brought me several exclamations of horror in the past (“How could you eat Rudolph?!” comes up a lot) but I have no qualms about it. The reindeer live free in nature and their industry directly benefits the Sami: the indigenous people of Lapland (Sapmi, as it’s called in the Sami languages). The commercial meat (which I enjoyed as steak, burger, and even on pizza) has a similar taste to venison, but with a ‘wildness’ which can only come from surviving naturally in the forest. I also tried reindeer heart and tongue with my Sami friends, cooked over an open fire, as well as reindeer milk. Not a fan of that last one!
4. I met a very angry ptarmigan.
The trilogy occasionally mentions ptarmigans, with their ‘strange warbling yelps.’ Their proper name is a rock ptarmigan, but my friends and I often called them snow chickens. In their winter plumage, they’re white all over (save for marks on their heads which look like red eyebrows), with fluffy feet, and they have one of the weirdest calls you’ll ever hear. The males can also be very territorial, and one morning a couple of friends and I were harassed by one. It followed us all around a field, shouting and jumping at us, and attacking our hats!
5. I had my hair and eyelashes freeze.
This happened to me a few times when it was particularly cold! Parts of my hair (usually the ends and flyaways around my face) turned completely white. It’s important to not manipulate the hair, as it becomes very brittle and can snap! With that being said, the worst was when I blinked away some tears at -32°C and they froze my eyelashes together! I looked like I had two white feathers stuck on my face! I ended up cupping my hands over my eyes and using the body heat from my palms to thaw them out!
6. I learned how to chant.
I’ve already mentioned the Sami people, and my time living in the Arctic allowed me to make some amazing Sami friends and experience their beautiful culture first-hand. I learned about their history, the reindeer herding, the migrations, and joik. This is a kind of chant, performed to channel the essence of a person, place, memory, reindeer, or anything the performer wants to honour. It’s a very personal and historic form of expression, and one of my friends kindly showed me the techniques to do it. Joiks speak to me on a deep level, and I used them as one of the inspirations for the chanting performed by the mages in the Foxfires Trilogy.
7. I saw the most amazing skies.
Everyone talks about seeing the northern lights – and we’ll get to those shortly – but even regular Arctic skies are something to behold. When it’s very clear and cold (-15°C or below), you can get what I like to call ‘candyfloss sky’: everything turns crisp shades of baby blue and pink, and just seems massive, like you’re inside a giant glass dome. On days like this, any moisture freezes, so the very air around you sparkles and glitters. The sunsets are also incredible: golds, purples and reds, which then bounce off the snow and set the entire forest on fire. And after dark, because there’s so little light pollution, you can see every star in the sky, the milky way, shooting stars and satellites. But my favourite time of day is the period of twilight which happens during the polar night. There is only a little light, but it reflects everywhere and turns the world shades of blue and black. Because of this, it’s often called ‘the blue hour.’
8. I watched the northern lights.
And not just once, either! Since I lived in the Arctic for extended periods every winter (rather than just a few days, as most tourists do), I saw the aurora borealis many times. The lights are just as stunning and magical as you imagine them to be. Something which fascinated me about them, however, was the way they move. In many videos, the footage is sped up in order to show the extent of their display, but I feel this robs the power in a way. It’s like the thinnest fabric floating in water, combined with a really slow-burning fire. I can understand, having stood underneath them, why in Finnish they are called revontulet: literally, fox fires.
I can’t believe this all happened! Here is the book information and other information for you all to check out!
The Night River: The Foxfires Trilogy, Book Three
GENRE: YA fantasy adventure
RELEASE DAY: SATURDAY DECEMBER 19TH 2020
Enter a frozen world of brutal beauty, where Spirits roam, nights last for months, and magic is wrought by the beat of a drum…
As the light returns, darkness will fall…
Spring is coming to the Northlands, but even as winter fades, an icy terror spreads. The three Worlds are on the brink of collapse, and ancient monsters rise from the earth, their wicked eyes set firmly on the mages.
Tuomas, still reeling from his defiance of the Great Bear Spirit, must finally face the reality of who he is. Mihka is furious with him, Elin refuses to speak to him, and the people do not trust him. As the villagers drive the reindeer back into the south to safety, he must set out with Lumi one final time to right his wrongs and keep the Worlds from falling apart.
But this quest shall bring the greatest test of all, for it will take him into the Deathlands: a place where no living person has ever stood…
Beginning December 19th (and including pre-orders of The Night River) 10% of royalties from the sale of each book in the Foxfires Trilogy will be donated to Adopt a Reindeer Foundation, to support the indigenous Arctic Sami people and help their traditional way of life to thrive.
RELEASE DAY GOODIES: Live Instagram reading, live YouTube Q&A and free Facebook party: http://echibbs.weebly.com/events.html