History Hoydens

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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

20 November 2007

Welcome, Jean C. Gordon!

My Lady Viking
byJean C. Gordon
Available Now!

They should be enemies — instead they become lovers.

Aedan Hakonson spent his childhood hating the Norse and his adult life fighting them. The son of a Norse warrior and a Caithness noblewoman, he's never forgiven his father for abandoning his mother and him. Battle weary and heavy-hearted, Aedan is wary of relying on anyone for anything.

Kara Thorddatter is a Viking warrior. For all intents and purposes, she's her father's second son and better suited for the world of a Viking warrior than her studious older brother. If only her father and stepmother would acknowledge that fact and let her lead the independent life she wants.

When Kara's brother disappears in a storm off the coast of Alba, she and Aedan are drawn together into a mutual quest for a hidden Viking hoard—a quest that reveals love is the real treasure.


My Lady Viking is set in Tenth Century Scotland. How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

I’ve felt a connection to Scotland since I was a child and read a book about Mary Queen of Scots, called The Four Marys. After that, I read everything I could find on Mary, and I’ve done minor research about Scotland for fun most of my adult life. I became interested in early Scots history when my daughter and her husband joined a reenactment group. They were part of a Tenth Century Scots-Viking mercenary band. She bought a couple of wonderful books on the British Isles and the Norse because they wanted to be authentic. I looked at the books and was hooked.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

What I like least is also what I like best. Details about this period are difficult to pin down. So it’s hard to accurately describe everyday life. On the plus side, it’s less likely a reader will catch an inaccuracy.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

My son-in-law and his friends in their battle garb practicing “battle” at our farm. My sil was a model for my hero Aedan.

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

I did a tremendous amount of research for My Lady Viking, probably more than I needed to. I was having so much fun researching that I had to make myself stop and start writing the book. I came across too many new and interesting things to list in just one blog. But ancient architecture is one thing I found fascinating, along with the rights women in the Norse and Celtic cultures had.

What/Who do you like to read?

I have eclectic tastes. I like historicals, heartwarming family-centered contemporaries and some chick-lit/comedies and YA. I loved Marilyn Pappano’s Bethlehem series and Judith Arnold’s The Marriage Bed. Some of my always read authors are Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney, Laura Kinsale, Anne Stuart, Maggie Shayne, Eloisa James. Brenda Joyce (her nonfantasy historicals), Beverly Lewis, Sara Donati, Kathleen Eagle, Deborah Smith, Beth Patillo, and Barbara Samuel. My all-time favorite category romance is Better Than Before by Judith Duncan.

Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I’m a plotter, but the way I write seems to be changing. I like to have my beginning and ending down pretty solid before I start. The middle develops as I’m writing, but I generally have a couple of the middle scenes firmly in mind, too. I always write my synopsis early, after the first couple of scenes or the first chapter or, sometimes, even before I write. It’s usually short — four or five pages. If I think of a scene as I’m writing, I make a note in my book file about the scene.

For my first four of books — including My Lady Viking — I wrote my day’s words (however many or few). The next day I read and revised those words and wrote my new day’s words. At the end of each chapter, I revised again and passed the chapter on to my critique group. Then, I made any changes from my critiquers that I thought needed to be made. We don’t always agree. Once the books were done, I gave my manuscripts another read and revise.,

The last two books, I’ve written the entire chapter before going back and revising and I’ve been writing chapters out of order. After writing My Lady Viking, I felt my endings were rushed and could be better. I strengthened the ending of My Lady Viking in the editing process after it sold. So, I’ve been going ahead and writing my last two or three chapters before I finish the middle when I’m fresher and not in the “I just want to get this book done” stage. This drives my critiquers crazy because they don’t want to read out of order and don’t want to wait for the next chapter of the story. I still make my critiquers’ changes as I get them and go over the complete manuscript one more time after it’s done.

What are you planning to work on next?

I’m almost finished with another short contemporary for Avalon Books. Then, I have an idea for a book with Kara’s (the heroine in My Lady Viking) brother, a warrior turned monk, and a Rus princess. I also have a longer contemporary about a motocross racer that I’ve had in the works for a while.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks for posting, Jean! I've always loved a good viking story, haven't read too many where the heroine is at the forefront. Nice.

And hey, beautiful cover, too!

Best, Kathrynn

7:33 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Your book sounds fascinating, Jean! What an interesting and under=explored era. I love that your daughter and son-in-law and their reenactments inspired you!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Keira Soleore said...

This is so exciting, Jean, to see a book about the Caithness area and the Viking influence on the Celtic culture. When you called Scotland "Alba," I was knew this was going to be a great interview. And now I'm dying to lay my hands on the book to read.

One question for you: Did you write about the Picts and their culture and writing in this book?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Loretta said...

Jean,
Can't wait to read the book. I love a good viking story. Enjoyed the blog, too.

12:03 PM  

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