The Recorder – Fantasy worlds in our backyard and beyond

Jorma Kinsson first considered penning the concept of young adult (YA) in the 1990s. He was employed in the athletics department at the University of Massachusetts, working with the women’s soccer team.

“The girls were reading Harry Potter,” he told me in a recent interview. The players encouraged him to read the popular series, and the books came home with him.

He always enjoyed fantasy. The first full-length book he remembers reading was “The Hobbit.” He was inspired by the Potter books to begin planning his YA fiction, he explained.

“What I loved about the Harry Potter books was that there was another world happening to us at the same time,” he recalled. “We had parallel planes of existence.” He decided that he wanted his work to include a single duo.

Kinson didn’t actually get around to writing his first book for a few decades. His first obstacle was the rapid pace of work. Not only did he put in long hours at UMass, but he was also doing freelance public relations and multimedia work.

Another tricky block was the health crisis. In the early 2000s, he felt more stressed. He thought the problem was work, until one day a UMass police officer stopped him for driving the wrong way, took a look at him and sent him to the hospital.

Johnson found out he had a serious, chronic case of Lyme disease.

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He wasn’t able to return to UMass to work so he had to make a living freelancing as much as he could. Over time, with the help of Western and Eastern medicine, he developed a workable schedule. And he decided to try his hand at the young adult novel he had been mulling over for a long time.

His first novel “Wild as the Wind” was published in 2000. He planned it for the first time in a series. Another book “Side Road” was published last year. It consists of three long stories that complement the characters of the first book.

The third book, “As Deep as the Sea” was published on October 26. Like the previous two, it is self-published. It continues the story of the first book.

“Wild as the Wind” centers on Viola Freeman, a lifelong athlete and nature lover who discovers a whole new world literally in her own backyard. Communicating with the spirits she meets in the forest, she learns that she is destined to play a greater role in the universe as a shaman – or, as she calls it, a she-woman.

“Deep as the Sea” focuses more on Viola’s fraternal twin brother, Sebastian. Conson refers to the couple’s name in Shakespeare, whose twins Viola and Sebastian are shipwrecked in “Twelfth Night” and must find a way back to each other.

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Like his sister, Sebastian has new powers. He is less willing to accept these powers than Viola, at least at first. His story begins on the twins’ 13th birthday. Sebastian is going to a school he wants to attend, Pocomatuck Academy in Deerfield.

He is academically oriented and enjoys academically rigorous schoolwork. Despite this, he is bullied by his classmates, and is generally debilitated by Lyme disease.

In the first book, Sebastian shares some otherworldly adventures with his sister. The memories of that time have been suppressed in the new volume. A school trip to Japan brings him face to face with his destiny, however, when he gets lost in the mysterious Okigara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji.

Jorma Kansanen explained that he enjoyed the research involving the twins’ stories. As for Viola’s story, she incorporated it into Native American tradition. For Sebastian, he read about Japanese culture, the history of the samurai, and about Akigahara, which has long been seen as a center of magic.

For both books, he read popular science books that explained parallel universes and time travel. “There’s imagination that I deal with, fiction, but I also have a foot in the scientific world,” he said.

He told me that he also enjoyed creating stories that mirrored the personalities of their characters.

“With Viola, you’re running in the woods behind your backyard and creating your own world,” he notes. “Sebastian has to physically go to the other side of the world to find his place, his identity.”

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One of the first things that struck me when I started reading “Deep as the Sea” was Conson’s use of the present tense to tell his story. I asked about this choice.

“I actually wrote the first book in the past tense,” he told me. “Once I started doing more research in the YA realm, I heard that the present tense, the active tense, was preferred. (As a reader), you feel expanded. You feel right in it.” .

I definitely felt that in Sebastian’s story, which moves quickly and dramatically.

According to Kinson, the next book in the series will arrive in 2023. He originally intended to end the story of the twins with that book, but he is so pleased with the characters and their success that he plans to continue the series.

“We’re looking at six books right now, maybe seven,” he announced cheerfully. “I also have an earlier idea.”

“Deep as the Sea,” like Jorma Kansanen’s other books, is available in paperback ($10.99) and e-book ($2.99) both at Amazon.com and at the author’s website at https://jkansanen.com.

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning author and singer. His latest book is “Potluck: Random Acts of Cooking”. Visit his website at TinkyCooks.com.



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