My friends Jenn and Roberto Campus are a husband and wife creative team, inspired by mythology, the Fantasy genre, and the Old Gods. Since they met, they’ve worked together on projects they are passionate about. They dream about living a life off the grid and working by natural light and candlelight. Check out their new project on Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ydalirpress/dreams-of-ydalir-the-illustrated-fantasy-novel-har.
I know Jenn well because she’s trained with me for years in shamanism. I’ve gotten to know Roberto since we are both painters. And I can tell you they pour immense love and caring into their work. So I’m delighted by their new project and wanted Jenn to tell you about it. Here’s our conversation:
Francesca: Your new project is a book called Dreams of Ýdalir. What is it all about?
Jenn: In a nutshell, it really stems from our devotion to our Gods and telling Their unknown and untold stories. Our underlying reason for doing so is to try to add beauty and richness to those stories as a way to facilitate the return of the Old Gods into the everyday lives of Their people. By writing the book, we have started to create a rich world where mythology and fantasy meet. This also led us to design an evolving line of products for Etsy that are inspired by the story and the mythology surrounding the story and its characters.
Francesca: So you have a Kickstarter for the book running right now. Tell me more about the story and who might want to read it.
Jenn: The year is 1794, Fawn is a seventeen-year-old orphaned girl, living in the Scottish lowlands. When she begins having strange dreams of a flame-haired woman named Elen who appears to be part human, part deer and Wuldor, a mysterious dark-haired woodsman gifts her with a magical deer mask that allows her to travel to other worlds. So she believes she has the resources to finally find her own fey-touched mother. As her relationship with these mythical beings deepens, she writes it all down in her journal. Through this coming of age tale, she is gifted with their divine stories and learns her true origins. Where Norse Mythology and Mists of Avalon meet, this is also the untold love story of the Gods, Ullr (Wuldor) and Elen of the Ways.
The book is getting attention from Fantasy fiction fans, Fantasy art fans, Norse mythology buffs, comic book readers, young adults, people who love strong female leads, Pagans, and a lot of other readers.
Francesca: What is your personal connection to the subject?
Jenn: This story has my heart and soul wrapped up in it. I am honored to have Wuldor (Ullr) and Elen of the Ways as my patron God and Goddess. Elen first came to me in the mid ’90s, and it literally took me 2 decades to understand that others also knew Her and worked with Her. She is a mysterious Goddess of the Wildwood, and Her story is heartbreaking and powerful. Then there is Wuldor who has wanted His story, this story told for the past several years. There is not much known about Him in “the literature” beyond that He is son of the Goddess Sif and the Stepson of the God Thor and that He is tied into hunting and winter sports. But He has an amazing story that I have been able to patch together to create a rich tapestry, and so the book also includes fundamental truths spoken by the Gods themselves to help us understand our own place in the cosmos.
Some other personal parts of the story is that I love journaling, and so creating a book that is also a young woman’s journal has made the writing much more intimate. I have been through many struggles that are similar to those of my heroine, Fawn, and that is why a lot of my heart and soul is in this book. I have even included a little of my family history by including some peripheral stories about my Scottish Clan, the Boyds. There is even a cameo of one of my favorite writers, Robert Burns!
Francesca: What is it like working on this project with Roberto, who is both your husband and the artist for the book?
Jenn: Roberto and I have been working together on projects for the past decade. He is the most talented artist I know and has listened to my stories about Wuldor and Elen for years, so he knows them intimately and has really brought them and the other characters in the book alive. He had a career creating illustrations for many famous publishers like Marvel and DC Comics, the Game of Thrones and War of Warcraft TCGs as well as Dungeons and Dragons and Gurps, so he has an immense passion for Fantasy.
We work so well together because we have complimentary skills and very similar interests. Every writer needs an amazing illustrator, and every illustrator longs for the stories behind their images to be told. We make a great team.
Francesca: Well, I always enjoy the work you too do. It is filled with heart and utterly without pretense. Thanks for giving me the chance to tell my website visitors about Dreams of Ýdalir.
Jenn: Thanks for telling them! Great to talk with you!
Click here to learn more about Dreams of Ýdalir: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ydalirpress/dreams-of-ydalir-the-illustrated-fantasy-novel-har