August 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton – Interview and Giveaway


Welcome to our Tour Stop for

The Strange Maid (The United States of Asgard #2)
by Tessa Gratton

presented by Random House!

Be sure to the enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Fans of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Maggie Stiefvater will embrace the richly drawn, Norse-influenced alternate world of the United States of Asgard, where cell phones, rock bands, and evangelical preachers coexist with dragon slaying, rune casting, and sword training in schools. Where the president runs the country alongside a council of Valkyries, gods walk the red carpet with Hollywood starlets, and the U.S. military has a special battalion dedicated to eradicating Rocky Mountain trolls. 

Signy Valborn was seven years old when she climbed the New World Tree and met Odin Alfather, who declared that if she could solve a single riddle, he would make her one of his Valkyrie. For ten years Signy has trained in the arts of war, politics, and leadership, never dreaming that a Greater Mountain Troll might hold the answer to the riddle, but that’s exactly what Ned the Spiritless promises her. A mysterious troll hunter who talks in riddles and ancient poetry, Ned is a hard man to trust. Unfortunately, Signy is running out of time. Accompanied by an outcast berserker named Soren Bearstar, she and Ned take off across the ice sheets of Canadia to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy’s destiny.

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The Strange Maid (The United States of Asgard #2)
by Tessa Gratton
Publication Date:  June 10, 2014
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers

Available for Purchase:



Top Favs with Tessa Gratton

You’re home alone, there’s a fire!  Top 3 things you’d grab and save from the fire.

–        My 18 volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary if we’re pretending I’m strong as the Hulk.

–        My phone, ok, yes. We neeeeeeds it, precious.

–        Tiny yellow stuffed animal from Japan I’ve had since I was born


Top 3 Favorite authors (dead or alive) and why

–        Anne Rice, because I would not be the sort of writer I am without her lush, historical, sexy, bloody books.

–        Melina Marchetta, because she makes me want to be better and dig deeper and challenge myself

–        Robin McKinley, because her books taught me to love reading, and she is a crazy delightful person.


Top 3 Favorite snacks while writing and why

I am an alien, and don’t snack on work days. When I am hungry during the writing day I eat chicken or a spinach salad or maybe slice cheese which is LIKE a snack. If I’m snacking because I’m on vacation or taking a fun day off, here are my top 3:

–        Champagne (what! It counts!)

–        goat cheese and dates

–        Girl Scout Cookies


Top 3 Favorite books that inspired you to write and why

–        BEAUTY by Robin McKinley, because I’ve never loved a book as much as I loved that one when I was 10 years old.

–        THE VAMPIRE LESTAT because I was absolutely transported

–        FROI OF THE EXILES by Melina Marchetta because it is so hard, and so unique, perfect, and did I mention hard? I long to write a Tessa version, something that is hard in a Tessa way, unique in a Tessa way, and also beautiful and dangerous.


Top 3 favorite songs to listen to while writing and why

This changes with every single book and my mood. I listen to songs that fit the scene I’m writing, either with atmosphere or lyrics. For THE STRANGE MAID three of those were

–        “My Medea” by Vienna Teng

–        “Gasoline” by A Silent Comedy

–        “Girls Like You” by The Naked and Famous


Top 3 favorite techniques to overcome writers block and why

–        Delete everything and start over

–        Hang upside down listening to very loud, dark music, preferably NIN

–        Take a day off and read a great book


Top 3 musicians/bands/groups and why

–        Ke$ha – She is brilliant and fun and I can always find something to love in her music. I admire her as an artist and a person, too.

–        Mumford and Sons – there is poetry and prayer in their music unlike anything else I have.

–        The Airborne Toxic Event – they are so passionate and interesting. Whether I love a particular song or not, I can always hear their passion.


Top 3 favorite movies of all time and why

I would list some animated ones here, so I’m glad I noticed the next question first! I love me some animation!

–        “The Last of the Mohicans” It is so epic, but told intimately, amazing little gestures that characterize instantly.

–        “Stage Beauty” is about theater, language, gender, and love.

–        “Labyrinth” Jareth the Goblin King is great, but really it’s this amazing movie about a brave teen girl and the power of her imagination.


Top 3 favorite animated movies and why

–        “Spirited Away” I never am tired of watching it, or feeling what it wants me to feel.

–        “The Little Mermaid” Saw it in theaters when I was 8, and my life was changed because I learned what longing meant.

–        “Lilo and Stitch” This movie has everything: it is gorgeous and hilarious and makes me cry.


Top 3 favorite movie moments and why

–        When Chihiro remembers Haku’s real name in “Spirited Away”

–        The final ten minutes of “The Last of the Mohicans” because no matter how often I watch it I can barely breathe.

–        In the otherwise terrible 1999 movie of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” there’s a moment at the end when Sam Rockwell, playing Flute, playing Thisby makes me cry. It’s a ridiculous movie, all gags and silly things, and this part is usually played for slap-stick comedy. But instead, he does the lines seriously. It changed the whole movie and taught me something about that play.


Top 3 favorite actors/actresses and why

–        Chris Evans, because that smile. And also his entire face. And also because he seems to be able to act really, really well. Though he seems to die in about 60% of his movies.

–        Sam Rockwell because he’s perfect in everything.

–        Ewan McGregor because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad movie he was in. Unlike my boy Chris Evans.


Top 3 favorite gadgets and why

I’m not sure I even HAVE 3 gadgets…

–        my iPhone

–        my iPod

–        … Nook!


Top 3 favorite dream destinations and why

I was lucky enough to travel a lot as a kid, thanks to my military family, and continued the tradition as an adult whenever possible. So it’s hard to pick places I’ve never been that I really want to see! I’ve been to the Great Wall of China, and Budapest, and Uluru, and the Grand Canyon and a ton of places I want to return to, but I’ll give it a try:

–        I’d love to tour the Middle East, for the history and incredible architecture, and I hope someday I can do it.

–        Lejre, Denmark because it’s probably where any historical events that inspired Beowulf happened. And Greenland, too. Actually let’s just make this a tour of Scandinavia.

–        South Africa. A friend used to live there and I need him to come be my tour guide.



Tessa Gratton has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. Alas, she turned out too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for a someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. She now spends her days staring at the sky and telling lots of stories about magic. Monthly free short stories with Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff at The Merry Sisters of Fate:

Connect with the Author:  Website | TwitterGoodreads


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  1. melissa cushing

    I love the cover and I love the synopsis even more! Thanks and hope to win a copy to review!

  2. Linda romer

    I would like to read the strange maid because it sounds wonderfully exciting. Thank you

  3. Vivien

    I really love reading Tessa’s novels!!!

  4. Sioux

    Okay, I’m officially intrigued! What a fun and unique premise – sounds awesome!!

  5. Natasha

    I want to read The Strange Maid because it sounds amazing!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Judy Cox

    I love books that you think and wonder if this could happen. Anne Rice and her book Lestat is my all time favorite author and character. I will put this on my TBR list!!!

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  9. Mai Speak

    I like reading anything by Tessa Gratton. She’s so funny and her books are so good.

  10. I rather enjoyed the first book, so I was looking forward to this one. I’m a sucker for anything Norse inspired.

  11. Karen Bainbridge

    I love the Simple face of Signy The Strange Maid and think that she along with her ‘friend, Ned and the mountain troll will make formidable allies in finding the answers that will enable her to fulfill her destiny. I am also a ‘sucker’ for books with riddles in them and Norse history/mythology is full of them. I am hoping that I win a prize copy

  12. I’d like to know who the mother of the trolls is. Sounds full of fantasy, which I love. Thanks for the giveaway!

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