When I am not in the throes of worldbuilding or developing a novel, I am a cat-owning, tea-drinking garden enthusiast with a serious bread addiction. I live very quietly, and because of my many chronic health conditions spend most of my time either devouring good period dramas when I'm in the mood for TV, pursuing my artistic projects, or dwelling in ninth-tenth century Norway. I love reading sagas, Eddic poetry, and chronicles.


In case you're not familiar with the term, a "scald", or more properly, "skald", is an old word for a poet. It's borrowed from the Old Norse "skáldr".  In ancient times, throughout Germanic culture, the function of poets and formal poetry was purely reserved for the courts of earls and kings. Like all roles within a noble's court, it was predominantly masculine. However, there were instances of lady court poets or scalds, notably a 10th-century Norwegian girl called Jórunn skáldmær - Jórunn the poet-maiden, or as I put it playfully, the "scaldic maide".

You know, I never really considered myself a writer, despite the mountains of manuscript crammed under my bed for want of storage. I write because I find it mentally stimulating; because I enjoy developing characters and masterminding plot twists and symbology. I've been fascinated by Old Norse language and literature since I was a kid, and there is so much inspiration in old myths and histories. But I never thought to put my work out there. Then something happened in my brain chemistry as I drew to a close with The Sword. I just went wild. Not only did I let a good friend read the entire piece, but I actually heeded their advice and got it typeset and polished up for printing. And honestly, I feel I needed a push at last. Why not give it a go and share the book, since I've spent the last five years toiling over the thing?


In writing Oddny Einarsdottir, I have drawn on several different Icelandic sagas, with little nods and tributes paid here and there through names and/or personal descriptions. But my greatest inspiration has been the story of the Irish princess, Melkorka, in Laxdæla saga. The image of that young girl, barely 15, brutally abducted from her homeland and absolutely stripped of any protection or comfort in the hands of those pirate slavers - it's always haunted me. The very fact that her experience traumatized her into selective muteness testifies to the anguish she endured. Years later, she conceals her mounting resentment towards the Icelander who, by dint of chance, buys her off a slave market to be his bedslave. Yet it is the son she bears this man that heals her broken spirit. And what a feisty spirit she had! I could never stop wondering how her life might have been, or what it had been before her abduction. And I think of all the women who, to this day, suffer the same fate. We know now what such violence does to a person's psyche. How did those women cope back then?


And so my book was born.


I hope this will be the first of many works to be discussed here. For now, I will be happy just to know someone out there has read and loved my current baby jewel, Oddny Einarsdottir. I'm curious to know what your impressions will be - what you would hope for in Book II, The Vow. Who do you want to see more of, and why? What do you wish would happen for them? I'll be putting out a spoiler or two from my manuscript (unedited) once The Sword sees daylight.


Verit þér sæl! Be happy!


- Lilypearl


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