- Historical Fiction
| Synopsis |
Tenth-century Iceland. In the darkness of midwinter, two friends set out on an adventure but end up killing a man.
Kjaran, a travelling poet who trades songs for food and shelter, and Gunnar, a feared warrior, must make a choice: conceal the deed or confess to the crime and pay the blood price to the family. For the right reasons, they make the wrong choice.
Their fateful decision leads to a brutal feud: one man is outlawed, free to be killed by anyone without consequence; the other remorselessly hunted by the dead man’s kin.
Set in a world of ice and snow, Smile of the Wolf is an epic story of exile and revenge, of duels and betrayals, and two friends struggling to survive in a desolate landscape, where honour is the only code that men abide by.
‘Smile of the Wolf bares its fangs from the first page. Like a medieval tapestry, the storytelling is rich with imagery. Readers will be lured spellbound into this lyrical and evocative Icelandic saga. It deserves huge success’ DAVID GILMAN.
| Author |
- What book from your childhood still has a place in your heart today?
It has to be Watership Down. My dad read it to me when I was a child, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reread it since. Usually at least once a year, sometimes more (I’ve worked my way through 3 copies so far). Really, I think many of the themes and ideas that drive my writing – journeys, friendships, civilisations destroyed and reborn in exile – can be traced back to Watership Down.
- Which fictional character stayed with you long after you finished the book?
So many, but perhaps the one that springs most to mind is Samuel Hamilton from East of Eden. I think that’s the one character from fiction that I really wished I knew in real life – twinkly eyed, wise, a grand storyteller, kind, and brave. It’d be quite something to have Sam Hamilton as a friend.
- Can you tell us a little about your journey with your new release?
‘Smile of the Wolf’ started with an intriguing footnote in one of the Icelandic Sagas – it noted that the ghosts of the Icelandic world were real and tangible, perhaps more like zombies or ghouls than what we would consider ghosts to usually be. The Sagas are filled with stories of people returning from the dead and killing the living. I wondered what a ‘real’ story might have been that could have inspired that tale.
That was the starting point, but as I read further I got increasingly fascinated with the world of the Sagas. The frontier culture, this utopian dream of a new world without kings, the harsh landscape, bitter bloodfeuds, and above all, the extraordinary bonds of friendship all seemed too enticing to pass up. I knew I had to write a book set there.
- Do you get an emotional connection to your character’s?
Absolutely! I wanted to be an actor when I was younger, and my approach to character is based in part off of emotional memory techniques from acting. I’m always looking to find the common emotional connection with my characters, to figure out what they’re feeling and why they are feeling it. Every writer has a different approach to character, but emotion is my main way in.
- Can you please, share a photo with us that tells a story.
This is grave of Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, the spirited heroine of Laxdaela Saga. She lived an eventful life – married four times, and often finding herself at the centre of one bloodfeud or another. When she was old, one of her sons asked her who of the men in her life she had loved the most. She answered, poignantly and cryptically: “I was worst to the man that I loved the most.” There’s debate over just what she meant, but it is generally thought she was referring to Kjartan, a man she once loved and ended up inciting her third husband to kill.
- What was your favourite read of 2017?
‘The High Deeds of Finn Mac Cool’ by Rosemary Sutcliffe. She’s one of the absolute masters of historical fiction, and it’s a beautiful little book that retells one particular branch of Irish mythology. They’re delightful poetic fairytales, shot through with the bittersweet beauty and sadness that heroic myths often have. I read it at a very hard time in my life, and something about the sweet simple magic of those stories helped me begin to heal.
It’d have to be ‘Running with the Wolves’, AURORA. The lyrics are a rather good fit!
- Is the genre you write your favourite to read?
I read pretty broadly and voraciously, so I’m not sure I could pick a favourite genre! My love for historical fiction does grow the more of it I read, though, especially with writers such as Rosemary Sutcliffe and Mary Renault.
- If you could ask your readers anything, what would you want to know?
It’s simple, but I always just like to hear what someone’s favourite part was – a scene or passage or a piece of dialogue that they really loved. They often surprise me, and sometimes reveal something about the person, I think, sort of in the style of a Rorschach blot.
- What are you working on now?
I’m sort of superstitious about revealing too much about a work in progress, they often shift and change so much. I think I’m going to have a crack at a series for the next project, though…
| Order Link |
| Publisher Info |
Head of Zeus
Thank you to the team at HOZ for the opportunity to the on the blog tour and for my copy of the book.
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