Behind The Oak and the Ale

The moment I started writing this piece, I knew I wanted to write a fairly atypical viking. Strong, burly, brutal, that’s the image that comes to mind but the thing that had always drawn me to stories about that era were the skalds, the warrior poets. That still didn’t fit either. What I wanted was a viking who couldn’t fill the role anymore. Who was looking for his own anchor, his own rock and lodestone. I wanted the kind of viking who doesn’t get much play in media, in spite of our fascination with violence.

And thus my hero was born; Teothir, or One-Leg. Crippled, bitter with it, but I gave him that slightly fatalistic optimism I always associate with the best kinds of warriors. I made him big, sensitive, and trying desperately to cling to a life that has abandoned him. I have a whole back story in my head for this guy, I just adore him.

My heroine though, Aridhe, she was tougher. I have a tendency to write healers, in my historicals, but it just didn’t fit with her. She was too spiky, too broken on her own as well. I didn’t want to write a shield-maiden, I didn’t want to write a slave, I wanted a heroine who had her own power and was clinging to it with teeth and nails and determination. It went through a lot of iterations for that fact alone, trying to work out what she does, why she does it. She’s got a whole backstory too.

I hadn’t meant for her to be so traumatised, though, but when I finished the story, I realised I had written something where two broken people come together to heal each other. A lot more romantic than most of my work (although that recent WIP is contemporary AND romantic, go me) but I do have that tendency with my historicals. A bit darker too, possibly darker than I intended I think, but I don’t really regret it.

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