Today, I thought it would be fun to share how the Daughters of Valhalla series began. It feels like such a whirlwind to me — from thinking up the idea to writing to publishing the first book, Song of the Shieldmaiden!
Are you ready for a quick storytime?
I was actually working on an entirely different book when I first had the idea for Daughters of Valhalla. One morning, I woke up thinking how interesting it would be to write a story about three very different Viking sisters: a shieldmaiden, a sorceress, and a princess.
I was inspired watching shows like The Vikings, reading books like Linnea Hartsuyker’s The Half-Drowned King — not to mention my own obsession with history.
Still, I love so many historical eras. The book I was working on was set in colonial America. So why did this Viking idea take hold so strongly?
Forget it, I told myself. Let the idea go for now. I had to finish the book I was working on. Writers are always getting distracted by what we call “plot bunnies” and “shiny object syndrome.” Basically, we want to write whatever is new and exciting, especially when we’re feeling stuck with our current project!
So I set the Viking idea aside. For months.
Yet the image of these three sisters was so strong in my mind. The idea kept tapping me on the shoulder.
In February 2022, I woke up one morning from a dream about the sisters. I had an idea of who they were and what might happen to them based on that dream. So I rushed to my computer and made a Padlet of images and character descriptions, daydreaming about their Viking village and the twists and turns of their stories.
At some point that day, I realized I was way more passionate about this Viking story than the one I was already writing — nothing wrong with admitting it! Daughters of Valhalla was a story that was dying to be told, and I just had to start writing it.
I started that very first scene of Song of the Shieldmaiden on a Saturday night, February 12. (I know, isn’t it crazy that I actually remember the date?!) Much of that scene remains exactly the same as it did that first night, word for word, even after countless rounds of revision. It just came out in a rush of inspiration, because Svanhild, Haldis, and Brynja were already so alive in my mind.
Still, some part of me that night thought, Just write a little bit to get it out of your system, then you can go back to your original project!
But once I got started, Svanhild’s story just spilled out of me. I couldn’t stop.
Fast forward to June, and Song of the Shieldmaiden entered the world. It was exciting and slightly terrifying to finally share a novel with readers. Talk about feeling vulnerable! But publishing a novel was a dream come true.
Now, I have more books planned. In fact, I just found a Google Drive document with the entire plot of a later book — written that very first week I started writing in February! I’ve had the series mapped out in my mind since the beginning. There is much more to come for these three Viking sisters.
I feel so grateful for all of you who have followed along on my journey, bought my ebooks, read and reviewed, and just cheered me on. It’s meant the world to me. I can’t wait to share more of the these Viking sisters’ stories with you. Thank you for your support!