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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Writing gives physics professor Asa Maria Bradley a romantic angle

Born and raised in Sweden, Asa Maria Bradley, author of the “Viking Warriors” series, grew up with a passion for Norse mythology. Inspired early on, Bradley’s love for the subject grew when a favorite history teacher started sharing his research and lending her books.

“I was immediately hooked,” Bradley said in a recent interview on the Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast.

Bradley first came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student. As “a Viking transplanted to Texas,” a 17-year-old vegetarian, card-carrying Greenpeace and Amnesty International member, Bradley endured an understandable level of culture shock before quickly falling in love with Texas and her host family.

She stayed through graduate school and eventually settled in Spokane where she teaches physics at Spokane Falls Community College.

“Writing helps me teach,” Bradley said. “Everybody learns best through storytelling. If there’s a connection between why we’re learning this topic and how it fits in with the narrative of the world at large, then it’s more interesting.”

Bradley had a knack for the humanities early on, but the challenge of STEM courses attracted her more. So, after studying, working in and teaching physics for her entire career, she hadn’t considered writing a full-length novel until she moved to Washington and joined a local writers group. After experimenting with writing in different genres, Bradley finally turned to her Swedish roots and began work on “Viking Warriors.”

In the first book of the series, “Viking Warrior Rising,” we find quite a few more Viking transplants to the U.S., this time of the immortal variety. After dying in battle thousands of years ago and ascending to Valhalla, Bradley’s immortal Vikings and Valkyries believe their time in Midgard, the mortal realm, has come to an end.

But, when infighting breaks out among the gods and spills down into the world of men, Odin and Freya send an army of these warriors back to combat Loki and his plot to bring on Ragnarok, the Norse armageddon.

Organized into small, secretive chiefdoms, the recalled Vikings and Valkyries live among humans, occasionally meeting and falling in love with them in the process. In contemporary Eastern Washington, we meet Naya Brisbane, a genetically enhanced, supersoldier turned cybersecurity expert on the run as she attempts to protect her brother.

Connections between the rogue government lab where she and her brother were experimented on and agents of Loki begin to form as Naya finds herself drawn into this world of Viking warriors, and, to her continued surprise, locked in an unexpected romance with their king.

The series falls into the expanding genre of paranormal romance fiction, a category that covers everything from magical realism to ghosts, vampires and werewolves. Bradley’s immortal Vikings and Valkyries fit right in, but she wasn’t always sold on the romance aspect.

“It’s a genre with women writing for women; there’s some derisiveness that comes with that … some condescension from other genres that always happens when women do something for women,” Bradley said on Frank Zafiro’s “Wrong Place, Write Crime” podcast.

It wasn’t until a friend persuaded her to attend her first writers conference that she stumbled into a romance fiction panel and finally found her niche.

“The other panels at the fiction conference had been more literature, writing the great American novel. There was a lot of posturing going on about who was the greater writer,” she said on the WWC podcast.

“And then I went to this (romance fiction) panel, and there were these four women and they were laughing and giggling and talking about sexy vampires and the pros and cons of ‘shirt on vs. shirt off’ on the cover, and I was like, ‘I have found my people.’ ”

Bradley will join three other romance writers, Lucy Gilmore, Katee Robert and Rebecca Zanetti, at the Northwest Passages Book Club’s Galentine’s Day event featuring Viking Warriors.