‘Wild As The Wind’: Ashfield author Jorma Kansanen unveils first book in a 4-part fantasy series

  • The front book cover of “Wild As The Wind” by Ashfield resident Jorma Kansanen. The original title of the artwork is “Indian Summer” by artist Martin Lisec.  Artwork by Martin Lisec, Photo courtesy of Kansanen

  • Ashfield author Jorma Kansanen.  Photo by Christopher Evans

Staff Writer
Published: 10/15/2020 3:17:45 PM

ASHFIELD — Jorma Kansanen is the author of a newly published young adult fantasy book titled “Wild As The Wind,” which is the start of four-part book series that’s set in western Massachusetts and draws upon Kansanen’s decadeslong career coaching and writing about women’s soccer.

Kansanen, who formerly worked in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s athletic department for the women’s soccer team, has been working on the book series since the mid-1990s. Between that time and now, he’s also worked as a freelance writer and media specialist for organizations such as the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

“Since that time, it’s been kind of going back and forth in fits and bursts,” he explained. “I’ve done a couple of outlines over that time. Around that time, I had contracted Lyme disease so my time and my energy was really limited ... I still had to work just to keep myself afloat. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been trying to find a common ground with the Lyme disease to where I could have the energy to work and also write the book.”

But four years ago, a successful Kickstarter campaign allowed him to focus mostly on writing his fantasy series, which is partially inspired by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” seven-book saga. The first book was published via Amazon’s Kindle app on Sept. 22.

“Wild As The Wind” centers on 12-year-old twins Viola and Sebastian Ferriman. Viola begins the story as a shy young woman who finds solace in the forests and woods, while Sebastian is a bookworm who feels comfortable behind a desk. But during the first book, they find a parallel dimension filled with magic.

Kansanen said the story is somewhat more grounded than a typical young adult fantasy with a setting in the real world in western Massachusetts. Part of the story involves Viola becoming a young soccer star, which is directly influenced by Kansanen’s experience seeing wallflowers find personal growth through the team sport.

“It helps her spread her wings and makes her realize that she’s more than just this loner whose favorite free time is exploring in the woods totally away from society,” Kansanen said. “With my work and life experience, soccer just seemed like the perfect avenue. I’ve seen it on many many occasions in my working life where you see this shy unassuming girl, not just loving the sport skill wise, but loving the camaraderie of the sport.”

The book series also tackles with real world problems such as climate change and pollution. In “Wild As The Wind,” the spirit of Mother Earth is a powerful force that is angry at humanity’s mistreatment of the natural world, he said.

“It’s a broader question of the inequality and the imbalance that’s happening in the world that essentially spurs on in becoming who she is,” he added. “Climate change is the doorway, but as the reader will find out, it’s a lot more broader reaching of imbalance and inequality.”

Kansanen said although the first book centers mostly around Viola as a central protagonist, the second book in the planned four-part series will focus on her brother Sebastian.

“I’m thinking it’s going to be four books because now that I’ve been working on the outline of the second book since this spring and I’m trying to imagine and visualize the events that culminate the book series, it’s probably going to be happening around this time in the 2020s.”

For more information about “Wild As The Wind,” visit jkansanen.com.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com.

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