Monday, November 16, 2020

Thilde Kold Holdt

Thilde Kold Holdt is a Viking, traveler and a polyglot fluent in Danish, French, English and Korean. As a writer, she is an avid researcher. This is how she first came to row for hours upon hours on a Viking warship. She loved the experience so much that she has sailed with the Viking longship the Sea Stallion ever since. Another research trip brought her to South Korea where she also learned the art of traditional Korean archery. Born in Denmark, Holdt has lived in many places and countries, taking a bit of each culture with her.

Her new novel, Northern Wrath, is the first book in The Hanged God Trilogy.

My Q&A with the author:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The title, Northern Wrath, immediately tells a potential reader that there are some people in the north, and that these people are pretty angry. So that certainly puts potential readers on the right path.

The title also encapsulates the first book in a different way for readers, as it references both a scene and a physical symbol within the book.

What's in a name?

The names of my characters tend to define their journeys. Take Hilda, for example, whose name means battle, or warrior. Her dream to become a warrior is essential to her journey, and her name encapsulates that desire. Meanwhile, Einer means lone warrior, and that too defines the path he must take.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

My teenage self would probably be ecstatic and very proud, more so than surprised. You see, my teenage self was both ambitious and arrogant, so anything less than a 600 pages novel with a huge amount of research behind it was just not going to be impressive to my past self.

That being said… If we are talking my past self at the age of twelve, pre-teenage years, she would have been very surprised to see herself grow up to write something that is so grounded in history and research. When I was twelve I had a great history teacher for a year, and for the first time I thought: “hey, this history thing can be pretty cool!” Had I not had Mr. Costes in history class as a young kid, I would never have had the confidence to tackle history.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Beginnings are more difficult. Sometimes it is only when you reach the end that you know where you need to start in order to tell the story the right way. Northern Wrath was like that. It has had six different beginnings. The current opening chapter was one of the last things I wrote, and it came a long time after finishing the manuscript.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

Neither nor. Since they come from my imagination, they must have pieces of me, and some probably have more and others less, but it hasn’t been a conscious effort.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

The biggest inspiration is undoubtedly the time I’ve spent sailing aboard a Viking warship. By the time I began to sail with the ship I was already halfway through Northern Wrath, but my experience aboard changed my perception of the Vikings and their communities and one can even say that it shaped the novel.

Northern Wrath is about a village’s final battle to protect their way of life. It was only after sailing with the longship that I realised that in reality, the story is not about a village but about a family’s struggle to survive and protect each other. They don’t really need to be blood-related to be family. They’re all from Ash-hill and that is a bond that is as strong as blood.
Visit Thilde Kold Holdt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue