Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Viking Week: interview with Heather Day Gilbert, author of God's Daughter

Welcome Heather! We are so happy to have you here today and feature your book this week, and I am excited that you have agreed to share a bit about yourself.

Q: First of all to ward off this crazy, persistently chilly weather, French vanilla coffee, hot cocoa, or steaming tea?   ;)

Oh, boy. The answer is ALWAYS coffee for me, no matter what type! A nice cappuccino sounds really good today...

Q: What causes are you passionate about, and do they find their way into your writing?

I'm passionate about many things, but one issue that's found its way into all my books so far is the need to present marriage realistically. I think most married couples, if they're honest, would say they have gone through some really rough times, even if they're just newlyweds! There are seasons to marriage, and I feel it's important to show the ups and downs we all experience. Another topic I often find creeping into my stories is the supernatural, because I think it's a hard thing to understand—yet it's so important to look at it biblically.

Q: If you could sit down and interview any person, fictitious or real from any time, who would that be and what is the first question you would ask?

I think right now, it would definitely be Freydis, daughter of Eirik the Red, and the woman who will be the main character in my second Viking novel, Forest Child. She did some things historically and I really want to know the true motivations she had. However, I'm afraid I might hate her answers and then readers would hate her too! I'm really striving to incorporate the reality of her choices with the reasons that could have pushed her into them.

Q: Who have been your mentors, and how did they help you most?

My Grandma Wilcox, my great-aunt Jenny Lee (also a writer), my parents, my in-laws, my siblings...honestly, my family has been so supportive of every writing endeavor. But it's really the prayers that are the biggest help. Prayers are powerful, even if you feel like they're not being heard. My mom also taught me the importance of giving things up to the Lord—which means asking Him for guidance and then, often, taking those hard steps of obedience.

Not to mention my husband, who I would say has really pushed me to ask those hard questions of the Bible and has helped me understand it better. I have so much respect for him.

Q: Which parts of your wonderful Viking heroine Gudrid are you, and which are the heroine you aspire to be?

Great question! Our characters often reflect us in some ways as authors, and you really have to get into their heads when you write in first person, as I do. I'm more like Freydis in some ways and more like Gudrid in others. I feel compassion for others and have that desire to heal, like Gudrid. But I also tend to run out and fight, like Freydis. Also, my in-laws are a huge, loving part of my life, like they are for Gudrid—they are my family.

As to what I aspire to with Gudrid: I love her deep faith in God's goodness. I tend to question everything, but Gudrid tends to trust.

Q:  What message do you hope your readers will take away from your books? And can you hint at any works to come?

I hope they take away several things:

1) Vikings weren't that weird or different from us on many levels. They had the same motivations (just like humans throughout history).
2) Lust in marriage can be overcome, as well as a host of other misunderstandings.
3) Paganism was not a good thing for the Vikings.
4) Sometimes we don't give our spouses enough credit.

As far as upcoming novels, I have a contemporary Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, which will release (hopefully!) June 20, 2014 (West Virginia Day). I'm so excited about this book, which brings modern West Virginia to readers...and my main character, Tess Spencer, is close to my heart.

My second book in The Vikings of the New World Saga will be next in line for publication—Forest Child. I'm figuring this won't release until 2015. Again, Freydis is such a multi-faceted gal—an anti-hero in some ways—that I want to be sure I take time to get her right, plus integrate all the historical details properly.

Q: Do you have a question you would like our blog readers to answer?

I'd just love to know what you think about books with married main characters, and what the benefits/drawbacks of those might be. Since that's all I've written so far, I'd like your input (I have thought about writing YA or NA).

Heather has graciously agreed to give away an ecopy of her wonderful book to one lucky commenter. Please leave your email when you reply to be entered.

Author Bio:
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert—Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.


  1. Wow! A book about the Vikings
    Sounds great
    God bless u

  2. Though I'm not married and may be considered more in the "young adult" sphere of readership, there are plenty of young adult books that have portrayed marriage realistically without going into unnecessary detail. I feel that's needed in the young adult market, instead of books that glorify young love as the be all and end all. I think teens need that healthy dose of reality as much as adults. One series that does that wonderfully is The Queen's Thief books by Meagan Whalen Turner. I don't think married characters automatically equals adult novels, especially when delving into the fairy tale or mythic stories. I like watching married couples struggle and overcome--perhaps more so than teenaged ones.

  3. Whoops! Forgot my email!


  4. Rebeka--great insights! I agree that YA can portray deeper issues, too. I really sense that need to get quality books into the YA market, as well as college age (NA). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. I have read many reviews on your book and look forward to reading it. Love your list your list of things you want readers to learn, especially giving our spouses enough credit. Definitely something that I need to work on.
    koho143 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Thanks, Heather...definitely something that took me time to learn, as well! And something I always need to work on. And thanks for your comment up there, Chris!

  6. I love the idea of a Viking female! Hope to read this.

  7. Just a little heads-up if you're into Vikings--I'm doing a live radio program with my Viking-writing author friend Jen Cudmore this morning! You can always catch it later, too, if you're interested. Here's the link to that: Thank you all for your interest in Vikings!

  8. I love what Rebeka said--marriage is underrepresented in all fiction, especially YA. Great point! This story showed a wonderfully real and redemptive look at marriage from a typically image-insecure female POV. Gudrid is so tangible I could hug her--if she'd let me! LOL

  9. Just learned this book is half price on smashwords this week, if you don't win, so all's not lost! :)

  10. Ok, not my typical genre, but you've intreged me ! I need to read something written in first person and marriage needs to be written about more. Still waiting for my knight in shining armour, instead of regards in tin foil... I'd like to see a true godly husband hero.
    Linda Finn

  11. Love these comments, Kathleen and Linda. Yes, I think sometimes fiction portrays the whole story ENDING at marriage...when I think that's where the real excitement (and trials, and triumphs, and depth) really start up. At least for me it did. And I think Gudrid would definitely let you hug her, Kathleen. Um...I don't know if I'd try hugging Freydis, tho...grin.

  12. Congratulations to Heather Olsen for winning the ecopy of God's Daughter! Thank you everyone for entering. Hope spring comes soon! Meanwhile in NY we're expecting another snowstorm this Tuesday! yikes.

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