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Judith Lindbergh | A Nomad Woman Warrior of the Central Asian Steppes Must Make Peace with Making War

Judith Lindbergh




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Powell's Books


Indie BookShop

May 2024
On Sale: May 7, 2024
ISBN: 1646034694
EAN: 9781646034697
Kindle: B0CD9YGZ1L
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Judith Lindbergh:
Akmaral, May 2024
Akmaral, May 2024

1--What is the title of your latest release?


2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

A nomad woman warrior of the Central Asian steppes must make peace with making war. Akmaral is a foray into the ancient past, inspired by Greek myths of Amazon women warriors and archaeology that proves that they were real.

3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

The setting for Akmaral was inspired by several fascinating archaeological discoveries made in Central Asia: the Ice Maiden found in the high mountains of southern Siberia, and the “Golden Man,” a warrior burial found in Kazakhstan that researchers believe might actually be a woman. These burials and many others prove that the legends of Amazon women warriors told by the ancient Greeks weren’t just fantasy. The landscape in this remote region is breathtaking—rugged, remote, and beautiful with emerald green pastures surrounded by snow-capped peaks. And the artifacts that accompanied the burials, rich with gold, weaponry, and fascinating bronze mirrors, presented a tantalizing window into a time when women didn’t have to fight for their rights or go against the norm to be powerful and respected.

4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

I’d be intimidated by her, but I’d absolutely love to. Akmaral had quite a life and there’s so much that I could learn from her toughness, compassion, and wisdom.

5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Fierce, passionate, wise

6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

Leadership comes from caring and empathy, not from anger, ego, or a hunger for power. Throughout Akmaral’s journey, she doesn’t want to grab power. Her goal is always to keep her people safe. Sometimes that means doing things that frighten and even break her. But from each of her struggles, she learns and grows stronger. For me, the journey of writing her story helped me to grow stronger, too.

7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

I alternate between writing and editing, usually starting my day by going back a couple of paragraphs or pages, settling in by fixing what’s already there. I don’t polish completely, but I really can’t move forward until I’ve gotten the scene or chapter moving in more or less the right direction. I equate my process with combing long hair. You need to get the knots smoothed out at the bottom before you can get to the big tangles deeper in.

8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

I began my career as a professional a dancer, so food and I don’t really get along. I even wrote about my food issues in an article a few years back. These days, I do eat! But my favorite foods are still really healthy. A quinoa salad with lots of veggies, fruits, and nuts is my favorite thing on earth.

9--Describe your writing space/office!

My writing space is cozy, but with big windows on two sides, a sliding door to shut out the household noises, and a view of our garden right behind my screen. I love to gaze at the trees, the sky, and the birds overhead. Nature really helps me to drift into my wild, ancient worlds.

10--Who is an author you admire?

Some of my favorite authors are Ruth Ozeki, Geraldine Brooks, Lauren Groff, and Barbara Kingsolver. Each of them is an artist—bold, daring, and unafraid to take risks—but also a wonderful, engaging storyteller.

11--Is there a book that changed your life?

Every book I read shifts my perspective in some way. I love books that open my eyes to the unfamiliar, so I read a lot of writers from other countries and cultures. I also love good nonfiction, especially about nature and our relationship with the earth. BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by Robin Wall Kimmerer and UNDERLAND by Robert McFarlane are two books I go back to again and again.

12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

My first novel, The Thrall’s Tale, sold in a whirlwind. I was eight months pregnant when I got the call that it had sold only three weeks after signing with my agent. Akmaral took a lot longer, and the call came by email. But the news was just as heart-pounding the second time around.

13--What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love literary fiction that challenges the reader with unique approaches and a powerful voice. But there has to be more to it than technical gymnastics. I also want rich characterization, language, world-building, and a story that I can sink into and embrace.

14--What’s your favorite movie?

Never Cry Wolf. It’s a very old film about a scientist who’s sent to the Arctic to research wolves that are menacing the caribou herds. Along the way, he has an epiphany about the cycles of the natural world and his own very small place within it. It’s beautifully shot in the Arctic, which is a landscape I adore.

15--What is your favorite season?

Spring. It’s full of hope and possibility, even if it makes me sneeze.

16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Generally by taking a long hike in the woods, then getting a massage.

17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

I recently relished Margaret Renkl’s book of essays, The Comfort of Crows. On the surface, it’s about her relationship with nature, but beneath it all she shares her experiences with time’s passage and the inevitable changes that age brings. She writes so beautifully and compassionately. I feel like she could be my best friend. We both love feeding the birds, nurturing our weedy native pollinator gardens, and walking in the wild.

18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Thai, Vietnamese, and really good vegetarian.

19--What do you do when you have free time?

Lately I’ve been painting. I’m not terribly good at it, but discovering new techniques and playing with different materials is fascinating. I love learning new creative skills and returning to the Zen idea of “Beginner’s Mind.”

20--What can readers expect from you next?

I have several books in various stages of development, including a contemporary novel that still has mythological roots, and a much more recent historical novel. It actually takes place in the 20th century!

AKMARAL by Judith Lindbergh


Before the Silk Road had a name, nomads roamed the Asian steppes and women fought side by side as equals with men. Like all women of the Sauromatae, Akmaral is bound for battle from birth, training as a girl in horsemanship, archery, spear, and blade. Her prowess ignites the jealousy of Erzhan, a gifted warrior who hates her as much as he desires her. When Scythian renegades attack, the two must unite to defeat them. Among their captives is Timor, the rebels' enigmatic leader who refuses to be broken, even as he is enslaved. He fascinates Akmaral. But as attraction grows to passion, she is blinded to the dangerous alliance forming between the men who bristle against the clan' s matriarchal rule. Faced with brutal betrayal, Akmaral must find the strength to defend her people and fulfill her destiny. Drawn from legends of Amazon women warriors from ancient Greece and recent archaeological discoveries in Central Asia, AKMARAL is a sweeping tale about a powerful woman who must make peace with making war.


Women's Fiction Historical | Action [Regal House Publishing, On Sale: May 7, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781646034697 / ]

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About Judith Lindbergh

Judith Lindbergh

Judith Lindbergh’s new novel, Akmaral, about a nomad woman warrior on the ancient Central Asian steppes, is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing on May 7, 2024. Her debut novel, The Thrall’s Tale, about three women in the first Viking Age settlement in Greenland, was an IndieBound Pick, a Borders Original Voices Selection, and praised by Pulitzer Prize winners Geraldine Brooks and Robert Olen Butler. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including in Newsweek, Zibby Magazine, Next Avenue, Writer’s Digest, Edible Jersey, Literary Mama, Archaeology Magazine, Other Voices, and UP HERE: The North at the Center of the World published by University of Washington Press. She also contributed to the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition Vikings: The Norse Atlantic Saga and provided expert commentary on two documentary series for The History Channel. Judith received a 2024 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is the Founder/Director of The Writers Circle, a New Jersey-based creative writing center where she teaches aspiring and accomplished writers from ages 8-80.




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