Supernatural Central Short and Quick Interview
Just a Fika by Beck Erixson
1. Tell me a little bit about your main character in this book.
Ingrid Ekstrom, a woman in her early thirties, is a bit disconnected from life in general. Her mother and much of her family passed away when she was young, before she could build her own core memories. She's got this thing about not wanting to get too close to people because, well, in her world, everyone seems to die early.
Ingrid's on a journey to discover more about herself, and it's all about wanting to connect with those folks she never really got to know while they were alive. Ingrid is a genealogist by trade, so she helps people dig into their past to help them learn about themselves. She's searching for connections in the world to family, and finds other unexpected connections when she moves to Aegir Haven.
2. Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
Yes! I absolutely do. Like the main character in Just a Fika, I've experienced my fair share of losses from a young age. My dad passed away before I was two. His mom and several other family members also left us super early. When I moved to Red Bank, the place where they all lived near or grew up in, something changed. I didn't feel as alone or jittery as I used to when I wandered around or went out, especially at night. It's like this strange warmth washes over me, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Sure, it's not like items are floating or I’m seeing ghosts, but these comforting tingles are unlike anything I've experienced anywhere else I've lived.
Then there was this one night when I was chilling in my living room. From upstairs, it sounded like someone was demanding attention using our antique rocking chair in the master bedroom, going all out with the rocking. I was freaked out because I was home alone, but I decided to start talking out loud, and miraculously, the rocking stopped. That warm, comforting feeling returned. The house was built back in the 1920s, and the town itself has been around way longer, so maybe it was just a family member saying "hello" in their own unique way.
I think I tend to write about the paranormal a lot in little ways. My writing tends to lean towards the idea that the paranormal is just a part of everyday life. Take, for instance, my flash piece called "Tractor Heist," which got published by Many Nice Donkeys. It's all about playing with the notion of belief and interactions with people who might or might not be leaving us signs. The fun part is, I wrote the whole piece about 50 feet away from where my dad's ashes were spread. The piece is probably one of my strongest flash pieces and was picked up to be published quickly. Then there's this short fiction piece I've got coming out in an upcoming anthology by Running Wild, called "The Memory Bench." In that one, I tried to capture that same feeling I get when I'm strolling around Red Bank, but it's darker than "Just a Fika." It's got this subtle winter vibe and an eerie sense of calm throughout the story.
3. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
I do! I wrote the initial draft of “Just a Fika” back in 2020 and it’s gone through round after round of revisions. I have a book 2 outlined with an initial chapter started that takes place in the same world but with different characters. The second standalone book is tentatively called “Mys Cove” which is essentially a part of town known as Freya’s playground. I’m excited to introduce Saga and bring back a number of characters in different ways from Just a Fika.
I recently started to publish my contemporary series, Love is Awkward. Book one, “Feeling Ballsy”, came out in August and book two “Feeling Fiery” should be out late fall early winter. Book two is written and is going to copy edits soon. There will at some point be a book three which is an active WIP but has no title.
The biggest string through my writing I’ve noticed is the fact I tend to write about people finding their happiness. I want everyone to have their HEA be it with a found family or a partner in life. In general, this is a good way to describe what I want for all the people in my life, happiness and comfort in their day to day world.
“Show yourself, you meddling woman,” I say, probably too stern for a granddaughter. She did this to herself.
“Oh, relax. You had fun, didn’t you?” Mormor’s voice projects from the living room.
“You had no business showing up tonight. My social life is mine.” I kick off my shoes in the entry and cut across to the warmth of the lit fireplace. She’s kept herself busy.
“Oh, sit down,” she scolds me from the purple wingback chair, like the child she believes I still am.
Hard to say no to your grandmother, even if you don’t really know her. For civility’s sake, I take my place in the leather chair on the other side of the fireplace, garnering an unobstructed view of her. The heat and flames of the fireplace illuminate the bridge etched into the back of the black stone, only visible when the temperature hits high enough. She’s been waiting.
“Did you have fun?” The chair creaks as she adjusts her legs. “You two were adorable together.”
“So you said at the restaurant. Directly to him.” The energy it takes to argue isn’t worth the effort right now. Opting for a tone of juvenile annoyance takes less energy. “Can you please stay out of my personal life? Can this be something we agree to?”
“Absolutely not. You’ll blow it. Look at your track record. You need me.” She waves off my request. “Besides, it was one date, and of course that boy ended up there too.”
Ah, so she didn’t send him. Sweet. “Thatboy?“ I ask.
“Yes, the one with the instrument and the curls in his hair. The one who’s been fixing things here.” Mormorisn’t holding back niceties.
“Kurt?” I grin. “What do you have against Kurt?” Reveling in this is wrong, but so right.
“You need someone with their feet on the ground. Someone like Yale.” She sits high like a queen in her court.
“What do you know about him?” I’m not arguing. Who knows how long she’s been popping in and out of my life?
“I know what I need to.” She lengthens her neck. “Why even bother with him?”
“Ah, so you know nothing.” Makes two of us, really. Other than being kind, talented, and someone to joke around with, he’s a mystery. A mystery who’s comfortable to be around, but sometimes makes butterflies flutter in my chest. Yale makes me awkward and nervous. Ugh,I’m overanalyzing again. Inside me there’s a constant nag when I’m around Yale that he’s not a good idea. Not that Kurt’s a good idea.
“Let’s clarify something. I’m not going back until I know you are okay.” Mormor stares off at the fire. A gentle breeze whistles through the windows and flutters the edges of her hair.
“Is this a promise or a threat?” Please stay, for at least a while longer. I like getting to know her when she’s not meddling. Half the reason I agreed to move out here was to learn more about my family.
I suppose I should thank her. Dinner ended when the menu she was holding too close to the wall sconce caught fire and we had to run outside. Serves her right for spying and not paying attention. There’s nothing quite like the smell of melting plastic to inflict headaches and end a date quickly.
He was kind enough to walk me home after I made the first turn in the wrong direction. I’d have made it eventually. His gentlemanly self was fantastic. It was the long periods of not talking and staring at the candle that made me want to bolt.
“You know I love you.” I open my arms for a hug.
She turns non-corporeal and laughs as my arms slice through her.
Mormor! “What are the rules here? When are you—you? And when are you a ghost?” I stamp my voice like a toddler mid-tantrum, adding extra emphasis at the beginning of each sentence.
“You were going to squeeze me too hard.” She’s right. “When I’m tired, I fade a bit. I don’t like where I go when I fade.”
A tiny over-the-top squeeze to make her feel as uncomfortable as I felt with Yale is deserved, tight enough so she knows I’m squeezing love and the want of a direct connection with her.
“Where you go?” Legitimate question.
“I have to go somewhere? What? You think I’m like a fading light?”
I shrug. “Sorry, I don’t have experience with—ghosts?”
“We’ve been over this.” She rolls her eyes. “The rules are murky.” She pulls at the low braid on the back of her head.
“Oh, is that all?” This woman is off her rocker.
“It’s complicated.” She crosses her arms and huffs. “Haven’t you bothered doing your research?”
“This isn’t something I can research.” Hello, librarian, I keep seeing my dead grandmother. Do you have any books on this?
My jaw drops—this was an intentional diversion. “You’re trying to get sympathy and distract me from the fact you interrupted in the most inappropriate way on a date.”
She wrinkles her nose. “Caught me. You still need to think about dating a proper choice. I’m holding my ground on this.”
“Proper?” Again, with that word. “I don’t need to date anyone. I’m here to watch the house.”
She comes over and envelopes me in a too-hard hug.
I wheeze. “Besides it wasn’t a date, it was two people going to dinner.”
The unsuccessful wiggle of my arms proves Mormor’s ghost form is stronger than she lets on.
“Dating doesn’t mean a relationship.” I peck her cheek. “Having dinner once or twice is getting to know someone.”
She releases her arms and slinks back in her chair. “Don’t end up alone, Ingrid.” A tremble crosses her tone.
“I’ve got you. How can I be alone?”
“You know very well what I mean. You’ve squandered your twenties, and now—”
“I got an education and lived life.” There it is. Clear disappointment I’ve caused her in my life choices. “I traveled and dated. Not everyone finds themselves in their early twenties.”
“Will you consider dating while you are here? He’s really a nice boy.”
“I’m here to maintain the house. Not to date.” I’m over dating.
“Being here doesn’t mean you can’t date.”
I shake my head. She’s relentless.
Mormor waves her hand in front of the fire, and the flames dance higher. “Yale is…” She wags her eyebrows. “Kurt is…” A hovered eye roll punctuates the end of her sentence.
“A friend.” Sort of—he’s working here because Svea paid him.
Mormor grumbles something inaudible from my seat. “I have a list of projects for you. Promise me you’ll stay till you finish some?” She pulls her arm back to the chair and rests her hands on her lap.
“I’m a fill-in. The only person available with no ties to kids or an office.” Story of my life. The living family members call when they remember my existence. Supposedly they love me, but…eh, baggage to think about another day, right? “Promise me you won’t mess up Kurt’s projects on the house?” He works hard regardless of her impression of him.
“As long as he sticks to the house as a project and not you.” She wags her finger and heaves a sigh.
A halfhearted nod is the only option to end this conversation. “Tea?”
I’m not a project.