We caught up with the wonderful Michelle Willingham to discuss her new book – the first in our Sons of Sigurd miniseries – Stolen by the Viking. Read on to find out about the inspiration behind the book and to pick up some valuable tips for new writers!
What was the inspiration behind Stolen By The Viking?
In my new book, Stolen by the Viking, I wanted to explore the idea of a Viking warrior who had lost his fighting skills from a serious injury. After Alarr Sigurdsson is struck down at his own wedding, he fears he will never walk again… and he vows vengeance against the men who slaughtered his bride and his father. He believes that his life must become a sacrifice for vengeance, but he is distracted by the Irish maiden, Brenna O’Callahan, whom he rescues from a slave market. Brenna becomes the key to his revenge, but he is torn by the emotions she provokes. Not only is she beautiful and strong, but she has faith in his ability to protect her and gives him hope that perhaps he can become the fighter he used to be.
The first book, Stolen by the Viking, introduces all five brothers and sets up the action of their father being murdered at Alarr’s wedding. In the chaos, it’s not clear who has killed the king, and each of the brothers goes on a quest to find the truth… and along the way, they find the heroine of their dreams.
What do you enjoy about writing historical romance?
I especially like the variety of settings and the chance to tell many different kinds of stories. I’ve written medieval, Viking, Victorian, and Regency romances—and I love them all.
Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer?
I was a bookworm all my life, but it was only at the age of twelve that I realized there were authors who wrote books for a living. I used to believe that if your book was in the library, you must be dead. Once I realized that this was not a career that necessarily required you to be deceased, I began to actively seek publication. I wrote my first romance novel in high school, and thankfully it will never see print! Still, I kept writing all through my twenties and eventually sold my first book on September 15, 2006. Forty-three books later, I’m still realizing that writing books is like raising toddlers. Some stories are calm and sweetly follow the general synopsis, while others are insolent beasts and make me want to throw up my hands in a temper tantrum. You never know what kind of book you’re going to be writing until you start that first sentence.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Everyone starts out as an unpublished writer, and everyone gets rejected. (We won’t talk about the unicorns who sell their first book. It’s rare, trust me.) Despite the rejections, keep on writing. Persevere, hone your craft, and keep going. And you know what? Every last unpublished friend of mine who didn’t give up, is now a published author. This is a marathon, not a race.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
Spare time? What is this thing of which you speak? *Hysterical laughter* I work a day job, I have three children who are all in activities, and I’m a single mom. But on those occasional moments when I can stop and breathe, I love to go to the movies. I enjoy immersing myself in someone else’s story and enjoying someone else’s happily-ever-after. It’s the best thing in the world.
What are you currently reading?
I am re-reading the Hathaway series by Lisa Kleypas, which is on my keeper shelf. Seduce Me at Sunrise is the book I’m reading now—gotta love a sexy, emotional gypsy romance. I’m also reading The Last Wish in the Witcher series. Since I have to wait a year for Henry Cavill’s return to the series, I might as well enjoy the stories along the way!
Get your hands on Stolen By The Viking by Michelle Willingham here! And keep your eyes peeled for the next book in the series, Falling For Her Viking by Harper St. George, which will be released on the 16th April.