Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On remembering small snippets

I am in the midst of my second Viking book. In Taken by The Viking, I decided the vikings had come from Viken. I knew I had good reasons for doing so at the time. But when I came to write the second book, could I find the piece of research that told me -- yes it was okay. For several days I worried -- had I made some sort of horrible conjecture? Would I get letters on it? That sort of thing.

Then I opened the latest non fiction book my dh bought me -- Queen Emma and the Vikings -- the woman who shaped the events of 1066 by Harriet O Brien. Not becuase I was hopeful of find a solution to my problem, but rather because I was interested to seewhat she said about women during the Viking age -- even if it was slightly later than my Vikens.

On page 15 I found it -- a reference to Viken -- an area around the Oslo Fjord. And MsO Brien went on to speak about the orgin of the word viking. Vik means bay in Old Scandanavian. By the end of the period, viking had come to mean raider, but did it originate from a trader/raider who kept his ship in a bay or from Viken, that area around Oslo and gradually come to be applied to all Norse raiders? O Brien ponder the question, and decided that the answer is lost in the mists of time.

The clouds in my mind cleared. I still don't know where I saw the original citation, but now I can press forward with my Vikens. Confident that they are in the right geographical place. The morale of this story I think is to keep better track of my notes.

Queen Emma and The Vikings despite the sort of YA adventure book title is a very interesting read. It has already sparked several ideas for future novels. Queen Emma was also an extraordinary woman -- a Norman descedent of Rollo, the Viking founder of Normandy, she married two kings and witnessed the coronation of two of her sons. The book appears to be fast paced and full of intrigue. Just the sort of thing I like to read, even if it two hundred years after the events I am currently writing about.

But the feeling of relief is enormous. I actually had a sound historical basis for naming my vikings Viken -- even if I could not remember it when it came to write the second book.

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