Today I’m thrilled to have visiting with us Heather Day Gilbert. I enjoyed reading her Viking saga books “God’s Daughter” & “Forest Child”. I’ve invited Heather here today to talk with us about both of these books. (read my review)
HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather writes Viking historicals and Appalachian mystery/suspense. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.” Find out more on heatherdaygilbert.com.
For those who may not be familiar with the Viking Saga, A quick review of the books “God’s Daughter” and “Forest Child”
One 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. 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. This novel is heavily based on the Icelandic Sagas and is written from a Christian worldview.
Viking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother. Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate “forest child” of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland. Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. This immersive tale is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.
Thank you Heather for stopping by today. It is a pleasure to have you here to visit and talk about the Viking’s Saga. Before we talk Vikings, let’s ask a few getting-to-know-you questions.
Q: What is your favorite beverage?
Heather: Hands down, it’s coffee!
Ahhh, yes! Must start the day with a cup of coffee.
Q: What would you say is your guilty pleasure?
Heather: I love to stroll around in garden stores looking at plants/flowers, which bores my kids to death. I also love playing video games, which doesn’t bore my kids, but gives them lots to laugh about due to my inferior skills. LOL
LOL! I’m pretty sure that is why my son asks me to play video games with him also!
Q: How often do you people watch?
Heather: You know, I don’t do this as much as I like. Since we live in a rural area, I don’t get out a lot, and when I do, sometimes it takes something really strange/unique to catch my attention since I’m usually distracted by watching my kids. On the other hand, I tend to brainstorm every chance I get.
We also live in somewhat of a rural area, but the occasional trip to the mall can be entertaining when people watching.
Q: Is there a place you have wanted to visit, but haven’t yet?
Heather: Oh, YES! Newfoundland, Iceland, and Greenland—where my Viking characters really lived. Also Norway and Sweden, where my great grandpa/grandma lived before they came to the USA. Wales and England also look beautiful—my hubby is part Welsh. And given how much I loved that show Yukon Men, Alaska would also be fun.
Those all sound like fantastic place to visit. I too have wanted to visit Norway & Sweden.
Q: What is your favorite Bible verse?
Heather: Psalm 73:25-26: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I love this verse because our lives are constantly shifting, people let us down, and we lose those we love. But in the end, God is the Great I AM and we will be with Him someday.
Oh, that’s a fantastic verse and a beautiful reminder that no matter what changes in our lives God never changes!
Q: In your research for the Vikings Saga, was there anything that surprised you?
Heather: Sometimes I was surprised by foods they didn’t have (like potatoes). I was also surprised a couple of times when I brainstormed what my characters would do, then I checked the sagas, and I realized they HAD done that. Maybe I’d remembered it from reading it, but it was always a nice little surprise. 🙂
That has got to be a great feeling, knowing that your initial idea was spot on!
Q: What was most difficult to write about when writing about Gudrid? Freydis?
Heather: Great question. For Gudrid, she doesn’t really share my personality. She’s always looking back to the past, she’s pretty easily depressed, and given the choice to run or fight, she’ll run or retreat into herself. I’m so much more like Freydis—I just charge ahead, trusting I’ll make things work. Fight trumps flight. 😉 So Gudrid was a bit harder to write, but she resembles people I know, so it was easier to guess how she would react to certain situations. And the toughest thing about writing Freydis is that I was in her head (I write in first person, present tense, so it’s VERY alive in my mind), and that means I was “there” when she did a super violent thing. My readers prayed me through as I wrote that scene.
Q: Which of these strong leading women (Gudrid & Freydis) is your favorite?
Heather: I loved Gudrid best when I wrote God’s Daughter, but then I wrote Forest Child and I was pretty surprised by how Freydis grew on me. So I think Freydis is my fave, but I would be FRIENDS with Gudrid. LOL
That really is a tough question. I couldn’t pick a favorite myself. I liked each for different reasons.
Q: When writing Gudrid & Freydis, who did you use as a character inspiration for their appearance?
Heather: For Gudrid, I loved Amanda Seyfried. Naturally blonde hair, wider-set green eyes—just a knockout.
For Freydis, I initially liked Tilda Swinton just because of her quirky, gangly redheadedness, but toward the end, I thought Queen Aslaug in the Vikings miniseries really resembled her. So the cover art for her was spot-on how I’d pictured her, since the woman looks like Aslaug to me.
I enjoyed looking thru the photo’s on your Pinterest board for both of these books. It really gives a visual insight to what you had in mind when writing the stories. (click here to visit Heather’s Pinterest board)
Q: Can we look forward to reading more Viking stories?
Heather: I do hope so, but right now, I do feel my saga is finished (at least the one that was based on real people/events from the sagas).
However, I do keep thinking about Leif Eiriksson. 😉
Ohhh, a story about Leif Eiriksson would be a good one! Thank you Heather for stopping in for a visit. It sure was fun chatting and learning more about these fantastic characters in your books!
Heather: Thanks so much for letting me visit!
You can purchase both God’s Daughter
and Forest Child at Amazon or where ever books are sold
Heather is giving away ONE digital copy of either “God’s Daughter” or “Forest Child” for two blessed individuals.
(the winners may each choose which digital book they would like).
The giveaway will run for one week, the winner of the digital book will be announced on this page at the conclusion of the contest. For additional information please review the Disclosure & Policies page.
To enter the giveaway
FIRST: comment below which book you would like to win and please include any question you may have for Heather.
SECOND: CLICK HERE to enter the Raffelcopter and follow the directions within.
**** Giveaway has ended ****
Winners of the digital copies are:
Arletta B. – God’s Daughter
Connie S. – Forest Child