To celebrate the foreign release of my Medallion Press novel, The Viking’s Witch, I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of the book. In the last blog, I talked about how the book came about, the research involved, and the violence that takes place in the story. Now I’ll offer some insight into the origins and development of the characters, as well as Odaria’s magic “witch” powers.
The Viking’s Witch is a traditional historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland in 803 A.D. The main character, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then—nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Here’s the plot summary:
The Viking’s Witch
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence?
After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time is up.
Interviewers have asked me how I can create such interesting and diverse characters for all of my books. They want to know where Rothgar and Odaria came from. Well, there’s no real way to answer that other than, I just made them up. (Chris Hemsworth from Thor is pretty much what I envisioned Rothgar to look like—even though I wrote the book long before the movie came out.)
When I create my heroes and heroines I always give them “baggage” and flaws along with lots of problems to overcome. This way, they can grow and change over the course of the book. Odaria is a strong-willed “witch” who is tired of being abused and ridiculed by the people in her village. She swears she doesn’t need anyone’s help to get by. Rothgar was once a powerful warrior, but a personal tragedy has softened him and left him broken and unwilling to love anyone again.
When they meet up, they each play off the others’ weaknesses. Odaria has no qualms about standing up to Rothgar and arguing with him, and he respects her willful and fearless behavior. Eventually they realize that they need (and want) to be with each other forever.
I also like to introduce secondary characters and subplots into my books to flesh out the story. I’m often asked about the secondary Norse character, Nordskog. He’s not the type of “hero” one would typically find in a romance, but he serves an important role in the story. Where did he come from? Well…
I used to work with a woman whose last name was Nordskog and I told her that one day I’d use her name in a book, so I did! Nordskog is a violent, vicious berserkr and has a history with Rothgar dating from Rothgar’s old fighting days. Nordskog’s hatred of Karnik draws him closer to Rothgar’s side as the story develops. After Odaria helps heal his leg, Nordskog develops a fondness for her, as well. He’s an impulsive brute, but he’s not stupid. He knows that Rothgar is wealthy and will reward him for his services and loyalty.
But if readers thought Nordskog was bad, the antagonist, Brennan, is even worse.
Brennan has been described by one reviewer as “a perfectly evil villain” which was exactly my intention. I wanted to portray him as an arrogant, self-righteous SOB – but not have his character be too over the top. Brennan is a lying, murdering, religious zealot and that makes him dangerous to Odaria and the other villagers.
Most of the terrible things he’s done happen off page and we learn about them through Odaria. Each time I wrote a scene for, or about, Brennan, I made him a little more unstable and psychotic, so by the end of the book readers see that he needs to learn his lesson and pay for what he’s done.
Odaria’s “magic” is the catalyst that sets the story in motion and helps bring about Brennan’s demise. When the story opens, Odaria is about to be burned alive for being a witch. She calls down a spell and curses the villagers while unknowingly invoking a Viking raid. (Or so it seems…)
Odaria use her “powers” for self-preservation and to get revenge on the people who hurt her. Rothgar doesn’t believe in her “magic” and thinks she’s merely pretending to be a witch to frighten people. But after a highly-charged interaction with Brennan, Rothgar gets a taste of what Odaria could really do if she set her mind to it.
I loved showing readers (and Rothgar) Odaria’s powers of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and psychometry. The scenes that included the “magic” elements were a lot of fun to write. I’ve always been interested in psychic phenomena and other “New Age” subjects, so it was easy for me to incorporate what I know into Odaria’s character.
I hope you enjoyed Part Two of this “Inside Look” at The Viking’s Witch. I’m happy to say that readers and reviewers fell in love with the characters and the book has received dozens of excellent reviews. (And it also won a Gold IPPY Award for best romance ebook!)
The Viking’s Witch is available exclusively as an ebook from:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.
Her newest book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.
Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/. Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.
CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx