Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Author Heather Day Gilbert ~ And a Six Author Giveaway

Today I'm thrilled to be welcoming debut author Heather Day Gilbert to my blog. Heather is here to talk about historical research and some interesting facts about Vikings! Her debut novel, God's Daughter, is the first in the Vikings of the New World Saga.

Heather's guest post is the sixth in a six week author spotlight series I'm doing here. Week one I hosted author Jody Hedlund, week two I hosted author Laura Frantz, week three I hosted author Wendy Paine Miller, week four I hosted author Melissa Tagg, and week five I hosted author Joanne Bischof. This is the final week in this series. Be sure to look at the bottom of this post and I'll tell you how you can win a fun gift basket from these six authors!

For now, here's a word from Heather:

A Peek into Historical Research
I'm so thrilled to be guest-blogging at Gabrielle's blog today! I "met" Gabrielle soon after I switched blogspots, around two and a half years ago. I recognized that she knew a little something about Vikings... given that she lives in Minnesota. (That may or may not be a football joke, since I know precious little about football!)
Since Gabrielle is also a historical writer, I wanted to chat about research today. What inspires an author to write a historical? Do they fall in love with the time period first? Or perhaps the characters? I think it depends. For me, it was both, but primarily a character that inspired my Viking novel, God's Daughter.
Being of Viking heritage, quite a few years ago, I bought myself a copy of the massive tome, The Sagas of Icelanders. Since I'm supposedly related to Eirik the Red's son Thorvald, naturally I busied myself with reading everything I could about the dude. Turns out, he died of a native (Skraeling) arrow in the new world--North America.
And yet, another member of Eirik the Red's family began to fascinate me. Gudrid...a woman who was married three times, while still young...beautiful, wise, and from all accounts, a Christian. She also traveled to the New World and even had a baby here! I couldn't get enough of her story. And then the sagas introduced me to Freydis, Gudrid's sister-in-law, who was about as wild and unpredictable as Gudrid was kind and beautiful. Freydis will be the main character in my second novel, Forest Child.
I started a story, based on a slave character I invented, who would wind up with Eirik's family. But my husband asked why I didn't just write about Gudrid herself, one of the better-known Viking women (for those interested in Viking lore). I took a deep breath. Then I started writing.
The story flowed. And yet, I had to check my saga accounts continually. With historical fiction based on a real person, it's tricky getting your historical storyline and your fictional storyline to mesh. And since the sagas overlapped and had timeline discrepancies, I had a major task ahead of me.
I also referred to the Old Norse dictionary throughout the writing process. Talk about slowing a writer down...checking your adjectives, nouns, and verbs against a limited dictionary equals lots of extra time. But in the end, I was able to incorporate a few words I figured the Vikings had words for, even if they weren't in my dictionary, as long as they didn't shout anachronism.
I sort of bent the historical fiction rules (especially for Medieval fiction), by writing in first person present tense. I loved Tracy Chevalier's Girl with the Pearl Earring (first person past), and I wanted to capture that immediacy of being in my main character's head...walking through these situations with her.
I've vlogged here about how difficult it was to get my beloved time period published within the CBA, even though it was out over a year on submission. In the end, God seemed to open the door for me to self-publish my novel. Just like that, I became a hybrid author--represented by my agent for my Contemporary Appalachian Mystery novel, and yet self-publishing my Viking novel in the meantime.
November first of this year, God's Daughter, the fruit of years of hard work, will be available on Amazon. It's been a long journey and it hasn't turned out the way I planned, but I'm more excited than I ever dreamed I could be. After years of buried hopes of getting traditionally published, I can finally anticipate getting my novel--which deals with heavy, yet important themes like depression, paganism vs Christianity, and emotional infidelity in marriage--into my readers' hands.
Historical research can be a bear, but I think we usually do it because we love something or someone in the time period we're writing about. That passion will spill over into your novel. Stick with it...more than ever before, there are many avenues for authors to get their books out there!
Gabrielle here. Isn't this a fascinating look at historical research and Viking knowledge? Heather, thank you so much for sharing this behind-the-scenes look at your novel! I am a bit familiar with Viking history--and not of the football kind! :)
Heather has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her debut novel, God's Daughter, to one reader who comments on this post between now and Tuesday, November 5th at 11:59 p.m. (CST). Please include your email address.
A QUESTION FOR MY BLOG READERS: Do you know anything about Viking history? Do you have any questions for Heather?
Last weeks winner of My Hope is Found by author Joanne Bischof is:
Linda Finn!
Congratulations, Linda. I'll be contacting you soon!
~ ~ ~ ~
18364996One Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to North America.
In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a voyage to North America.
But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself--and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.
Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God's Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir--daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America.
"Vivid, powerful...triumphant. This story took me by the heart." ~ Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of the Cadence of Grace series
"God’s Daughter offers a brave, fresh look at a lost way of life and the Vikings who left an indelible mark in history. Author Heather Gilbert weaves a riveting novel with unforgettable characters and circumstances, the first installment in a series sure to resonate with historical fans. The stunning cover is only the beginning!" ~ Laura Frantz, Christy finalist and author of Love’s Reckoning
~ ~ ~ ~
 Author Bio: Heather enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather is the ACFW West Virginia Area Coordinator.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Look for her Viking novel, God's Daughter, coming to Amazon November 1, 2013!
 
~ ~ ~ ~
Six Authors, One Grand Prize!
The Grand Prize:
A $25 Amazon eGift Card (not pictured) from Gabrielle Meyer
A stationary and notepad set from Jody Hedlund
A handmade jewel bookmark from Laura Frantz
A multi-colored peacock necklace from Wendy Paine Miller
A copy of the movie Christmas in Connecticut from Melissa Tagg
Book one in the Cadence of Grace Series & a worship CD from Joanne Bischof
A black & brown scarf from Heather Day Gilbert
Over the course of the last six weeks I hosted six authors on my blog. Each author agreed to offer a free copy of their newest release, as well as an item for a grand prize drawing at the end of the six weeks! To be entered to win a free copy of each book, all you had to do was visit my blog weekly (beginning September 25th) and comment on each author's post. A random winner was chosen each week--one will be chosen this week. To be entered to win the grand prize, visit my Rafflecopter below and follow the instructions.

I'll announce the winner of the Grand Prize next Wednesday, November 6th!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

50 comments:

  1. I know nothing about the history of the Vikings or their coming to North America. It must have been a very difficult journey!

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    1. I can't even imagine! It would be like getting into a space ship and setting off to an unknown planet. Crazy!

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  2. Yes, Patty! I think the journey was difficult--and so was life when they landed over here. The Native Americans already lived here, so there were definitely some clashes along the way!

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  3. Hey, Heather! Thank you for being my final guest in this author series!! :) I really enjoyed reading your post about historical research, and especially those Vikings! If you ever get to Minnesota, and would like to do a little research on the Vikings history we have here, just let me know. My question for you is: what years were the Vikings most active in North America?

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    1. Thanks so much, Gabrielle--you know I've been so thrilled to be included in this amazing roster of authors! And the years they were quite active in sailing to/from North America (Vinland) was right around AD1000 (when my novel is set). No one is 100% sure on the exact dates, I think, but it was definitely around that time. And it's kind of shocking to me that they didn't decide to settle here, since they settled all over Europe...this was after the time they were actively invading/plundering Europe. So I think they just didn't have the sheer numbers of people required to take over the New World. According to the sagas, the Native Americans were quite plentiful, and for the Vikings to back down, it tells me they were formidable foes. (I do have some "interactions"/battle with the Natives in my novel, since I was basing it right out of the saga accounts of those clashes). Thanks for asking!

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  4. I can HARDLY WAIT to zip God's Daughter into my tablet and smoke through it!!

    I'm SO proud of you Heather, (did I spell that right? ;) ) and many thanks to Gabe for having you here otday!

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    1. It was my pleasure to have Heather here. :) I had a blast learning more about Vikings and her debut novel!!

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  5. See? I even used a Viking word in there, see if you can spot it...

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    1. I recognize that otday! Kind of like Thorstag (Thursday), eh? Grin. I can't wait for you to get it on your tablet either, Jennifer! Actually, I can't wait to see it all in one glorious piece on my Kindle! LOTS of work, lots of time, but so rewarding in the end, I think. What a conclusion to this journey--though I guess it's a kick-off to a new part of it!

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  6. I will try again. I was commenting and then all of a sudden everything disappeared so I hope this will not be a duplicate. I do not know much about vikings, but I would like to learn more. thank you for this great interview.

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    1. Oh, I love to hear that, Wilani...I'm so excited to bring this important, world-changing group of Vikings to people! Hope you can read God's Daughter (or win it!). I think the thing many people don't realize is that there WERE Christian Vikings. It was really interesting to think of how their lives must have been, since they didn't have the Bible. Thanks for stopping in today!

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    2. Wilani, I hope you get a chance to read Heather's story! You'd learn a great deal about the Vikings.

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  7. Fun to see you two here! That's sounds like a LOT of research. I love history but writing historical fiction is too intimidating for me. I'm so afraid I'll get something wrong. LOL. But I am finding with my next book that there's a lot of research involved in writing contemporary too...probably just not as much.

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    1. Oh, YES, Lindsay--research is definitely necessary for contemp, too! I did some for my contemp. WV mystery. I think anytime you write a book set in a certain time period or LOCALE, or dealing with certain vocations, you have to make sure you get all those niggly details right. Viking lovers are quite a massive group, and they know the sagas as well as I do...all those obscure names like Bjarni, Thorfinn, and definitely Gudrid are instantly recognizable to them! So I wanted to nail it. Hoping I did!

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    2. I'm sure there is quite a bit of research with contemporary books, as well. History is so fascinating to me--it truly doesn't feel like work to do the research! Thanks for stopping in, Lindsay.

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  8. Congrats on your upcoming release, Heather! Fun to read about your research process. :)

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! This release week has been interesting...I have a cat that's sadly in the process of dying, a crashing headache...seems like lots of obstacles. But I know God is going to get me to the finish line of finally seeing God's Daughter up on Amazon! If you think of it, please pray for me! And blessings to YOU on your recent release, too!

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    2. Isn't it fun to learn more about the Vikings--and Heather's book?!?!

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  9. This sounds like a great book!! I can't wait to read it! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Becka! I love to see people excited about it! Thanks for stopping in today!

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    2. I couldn't agree more, Becka! :)

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  10. I don't think I've read anything in this time period. Thanks for telling us more about it and your story, Heather!

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    1. Thanks for stopping in, Carrie! Yes--this is an unusual time period (Michelle Griep wrote UNDERCURRENT, but she's the only CBA author I know who's ventured into Viking-land!). And yet it was such a critical time period in history, I feel. Thanks so much and hope you win something, Carrie! I think that gift basket looks really nice...I love that Christmas in Connecticut movie.

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    2. I haven't read anything in this time period, either! So happy Heather brought her passion for Viking history to the CBA!

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  11. Wow! I can't believe release day is almost here! I'm so happy for you, Heather!

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    1. Jill, so great to see you here...I feel like I haven't "seen" you for a while--I haven't been able to read blogs, etc, like I usually do. Will be thrilled to get God's Daughter out and have a bit more free time! Thanks for stopping in!

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    2. Thanks for stopping in to help celebrate, Jill!

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  12. Thanks for sharing about this book. I'll have to put this in the TBR pile.

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    1. I'm happy you discovered another book for your TBR pile! Happy reading, Amanda.

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  13. Yay Heather! It's so fun to see you here and to read some behind the scenes deers about your book. I remember some of your ups and downs from other blogs we both read. I'm so excited for you.

    Your book sounds fascinating. And reading about all the ways you had to research even to write it....Lindsay's right. Contemp research doesn't involve nearly that much.

    Celebrating with you!!!

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    1. Jeanne, so nice to see you here today! Yes...all those ups and downs! I don't think they ever end. But at least there is light in my writerly tunnel now! Thanks for all your support, my friend!

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    2. Isn't it amazing to hear the individual writing journeys we each take? So happy you've been there to celebrate and encourage Heather on this up and down days, Jeanne!

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  14. I find the Vikings very interesting. I read a children's series we loved and have visited the Runestone Museum. I can't wait to read this book!

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    1. I would love to visit a runestone museum, Joyce! I also really want to go to the re-created longhouse at L'anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland, which is one of the places this my group of Vikings probably landed. Someday I'll get there!

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    2. Did you go to the runestone stone museum in Alexandria, MN, Joyce? I'd love to go. Now that Heather has written about the Vikings, I may need to make that trip sooner than later!

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  15. Love this book! And the research Heather did is evident in the ease in which she tells this story. I'm getting excited to have my own REAL copy on my Kindle - woot! - and looking forward to having my own signed hard copy by Christmas!

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    1. Yay, Becky!!! Thanks for stopping by to help celebrate Heather's upcoming release!!

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    2. You know you're getting a signed copy, my crit partner peep! Count on it!

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  16. I do not know anything about Vikings or their history. I'm sure the Vikings were tough and determined, but what about the women? What type of attributes did the Vikings wives and daughters have?
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I think that's one of the great things about Hearher's book, Barbara. She takes a closer look at the Viking women and explores their lives in vivid detail. Great question! Thanks for stopping in today.

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    2. Excellent question, Barbara. I feel like the Vikings miniseries on History channel makes it look like most Viking women were warriors. While I'm sure many of them had some rudimentary training in weapons, I think history forgets to show how much Vikings valued their women. Much of their culture was based around farming, weaving, etc. When Viking men went plundering, they would leave the keys of their treasure boxes w/their wives--showed who would be in charge if something happened. So they valued their women.

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  17. I have loved coming over to join the fun ! Hate seeing it end this week.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for coming over, Linda--I know, wasn't this a brilliant giveaway Gabrielle did? I'm hoping she does it again soon--great way to highlight authors!

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  18. Congratulations, Heather! I so look forward to reading about Gudrid's story!

    I wondered if the history channel's Viking mini-series did justice to that time period. I remember watching some old movies on TV as a little girl and being scared of them! :) Thanks for clearing up some of the misconceptions, Heather!

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    1. Ah...the Vikings miniseries...I do think they based Ragnar Lotbrok on a character from the sagas. Also his wife Lagerta. However, I did see some things I didn't totally approve of, based on my research...but the Vikings they portray are pagan, and haven't adopted any of the Christian customs yet. I actually think that backs up my book in a way since Gudrid will be a stark contrast to Lagerta in many ways. Except they both will die to defend their families and they love their hubbies...

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  19. Very interesting to learn about the Vikings and their travels to North America! I can't wait to read the book!

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    1. Thank you Nancy! It's out on Amazon and Smashwords as of TODAY! WHOO!

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  20. I know, absolutely, nothing about the Viking era, but your have piqued my interest, Heather, & I would love to read God's Daughter. Would be, particularly, interested in learning the hardships endured - in changing from a pagan to a Christian. Enjoyed learning more about what inspires authors to write historicals.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Bonnie, just read this and this drawing is over, but you can find another drawing here going on this week! http://www.amorycannon.com/2013/11/08/interview-and-a-giveaway/. Also, the ebook version is still just $2.99 but the price will go up when the softcover comes out before Thanksgiving. Just wanted to let you know!

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Your comments are my favorite part of blogging!