Monday, January 10, 2011

William Meikle recalls the joys of writing his Viking fantasy novel Berserker

Berserker by William Meikle - A Viking versus Yeti adventure - What more needs to be said to get you reading?
Prolific and acclaimed genre writer William Meikle of Scotland visits Her Ladyship's Quest today to describe the writing of Berserker. The saga of Meikle's successes makes a long song, and I am honored to accept his guest post. He has ten published novels, 130 published short stories, and two movies in production from his scripts. For tons of quality genre entertainment, bookmark his website

And be sure to comment on Meikle's post so you can enter his Kindle giveaway drawing.

Vikings are Fun by William Meikle

Writing Berserker was the most fun I've had in ages. THE VIKINGS, THE LONG SHIPS, THE 13TH WARRIOR, PATHFINDER, OUTLANDER, my book of the Norse Myths, along with a love of big hairy beasties and sword and sorcery in general, all got mangled together in this one. Oh yes, and Led Zeppelin got in there too.

Walking side by side with death

The devil mocks their every step

The snow drives back the foot that's slow

The dogs of doom are howling more

They carry news that must get through

To build a dream for me and you

They choose the path that no one goes

They hold no quarter

They ask no quarter

(c) Led Zeppelin

Working on it made me smile with every line. I realised I'd always wanted to write a pulpy, bloodthirsty romp in the old style, and that's exactly what this turned out to be. There was no thought of the market in this one, just joy in doing something I love, something I can see running in my head like a movie.

I'm down the front row with the popcorn, revelling in the bloody slaughter and screaming along.

It's winter somewhere in Russia, and there's a bunch of p*ssed off Yeti looking for a fight. And I know just the guys for the job.

I got waylaid a bit during the writing of Berserker. It often happens when I get too interested in research, and I end up collecting huge reams of facts some of which might make their way into the finished book, but most of which will end up getting thrown away later.

But I have learned some fascinating things about Vikings that I never knew. Some of them may even be true :)

Ragnar Hairy Breeks led a raid upon Paris in 845 AD, which was spared from burning only by the payment of 7,000 lbs of silver as Danegeld by Charles the Fat. Ernest Borgnine played Ragnar in "The Vikings"

One of Ragnar's sons, Ivar the Boneless died in England. He ordered that his body be buried in a mound on the English Shore, saying that so long as his bones guarded that section of the coast, no enemy could invade there successfully. This prophecy held true, says one of the Norse sagas, until "when Vilhjalm bastard (William the Conqueror) came ashore, he went to the burial site and broke Ivar's mound and saw that Ivar's body had not decayed. Then Vilhjalm had a large pyre made upon which Ivar's body was burned.... Thereupon, Vilhjalm proceeded with the landing invasion and achieved the victory."

That last story is going to play a part in my next Viking novel that is currently gestating.

Get Berserker here:
Amazon UK

If you post a comment on this post between now and the end of February you'll be entered in a draw to win a free Kindle loaded with all the books I have published with Generation Next Publications