More About Winter Song

A friend asked me about the two novels I announced the sale of yesterday. So here’s a little bit about Winter Song.

I started Winter Song in March 2008, but I’d been thinking about it since returning from Iceland in September 07. We’d been trundling around Borgarnes, one of the first settlements in Iceland hearing and watching the story of the early settlers. Those stories included the classic Egil’s Saga one of many great tales of Icelandic literature.

 
Two days later in Reykjavik, I met Bernard Scudder, the man who translated that story and many other books from Icelandic into English, including a set of best-selling crime novels. I liked Bernard –a drily witty Scouser who’d lived there for over thirty years, married a local woman and raised an Icelandic family– immediately.
 
I was shocked to learn of his death just a month later from a viral infection at the age of 53. I wanted to write a modern equivalent of the Icelandic Sagas, but after it had composted in my head over Christmas 2007 I started it, when it quickly metamorphosed into something else. I only realized recently that Karl Allman’s desperation to get home to his expectant wife was a metaphor for my own desperation to give our dog a fighting chance at life after a series of strokes.
 
The last few days of writing the book were as fraught as the whole process had been. It ended with me finishing the book an hour after my in-laws arrived on December 24th for Christmas (they arrived to a soundtrack of me shouting to Kate "I won’t be long — I just have to finish this!"). But the last nineteen days I worked on it I had Labyrinthitis, an infection that destroys the sense of balance — so in its early stages the screen would continually jump from right to left in the same way that a TV with no vertical hold will roll. Ugh.
 
Not a great note to end on; I’d rather think of an iceberg-strewn lake surrounded by deserts and mountains.

Tomorrow’s blog will be the weekly review — hopefully I’ll be back on Friday, wi-fi at Eastercon permitting.

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