This evening in the Library we have Eric Schumacher, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.
You are very welcome, Eric, please introduce yourself:
Sæl! (that’s hello in Old Norse). My name is Eric Schumacher and I write historical fiction stories set in the Viking Age (ca. 900s AD). I was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently reside in Santa Barbara, California, with my wife and two kids.
You might be wondering how a Southern Californian boy found an interest in early medieval history. The truth is, I have no idea where it came from. At a very early age, I remember being fascinated by stories of knights and battles and dragons, which, I suppose, is what led me to authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries fueled my imagination and continue to influence the stories I like to tell. My first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005. I have since written two more novels (Raven’s Feast and War King), all of which tell of the rise and reign of Hakon Haraldsson (known in history as Hakon the Good), the youngest (bastard) son of the famous Viking king, Harald Fairhair.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
Historical fiction is my passion. I love history, especially early European medieval history, and writing about interesting historical characters. Hakon the Good is my first subject and there are a number of reasons I chose to write about him. You can read about that here. I am now busy writing about the next Viking king. More details on that project are coming soon. The long and short of it is, there are so many fascinating historical people and not enough time to write about them all!
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I would love to be an avid reader, but in truth, between family, my day job, and my writing, there is not enough time left to be an avid reader. When I do read, I tend to stick to historical fiction set in the time-frames that interest me.
Are you a self-published, traditional or hybrid author?
I have been a traditionally published author and a self-published author. Next Chapter is currently publishing my Hakon novels.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Not at all. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, hardly the mecca of early medieval European history. Yet, from the earliest age, I can remember being fascinated by Vikings and Saxons, Franks and Celts. I honestly don’t know why.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
There are actually two bits of advice that really stuck with me. The first was from a writing teacher, who said, “Just keep writing. No matter what.” It is that quote that keeps me going when I think I’m producing nothing but senseless dribble that no one will read.
The second is a quote I heard somewhere, but cannot remember who said it. The quote is: “Write the story that’s in you.” There was a period in time when I wondered if anyone would read a novel about a Viking. I dabbled with other genres and other subjects, but I kept coming back to Hakon and his story. It spoke to me. Now, twenty five years after starting those books, I know I never would have had the stamina to stick with a subject that long had it not been a story I had to tell.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Late morning is generally my sweet spot. I find my brain freshest and my thoughts clearest between 9am and noon. Of course, a good cup of coffee or two helps!
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
If money was not a concern and I did not have a family, I think I would love to be a travel writer. Maybe when I retire and the kids are grown I’ll come back to that…
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
Without question, I’d travel back to the late 800s or early 900s in Europe. I wouldn’t want to stay long. Frankly, I don’t think I’d survive longer than a day. But if I could stay just long enough to experience first hand what it was like to live back then, that would be amazing!
Please tell us about your latest published work.
It is 954 A.D. and a tempest is brewing in the North.
Twenty summers before, Hakon Haraldsson wrested Norway’s throne from his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, but he failed to rid himself of Erik’s family. Now the sons of Erik have come to reclaim Erik’s realm and avenge the wrong done to their father and their kin.
They do not come alone. With them marches an army of sword-Danes sent by the Danish King, Harald Bluetooth, whose desire to expand his realm is as powerful as the lust for vengeance that pulses in the veins of Erik’s brood.
Like storm-driven waves, the opposing forces collide in War King, the action-packed sequel to God’s Hammer and Raven’s Feast.
…a masterpiece of well-executed historical fiction. – Mary Anne Yarde, bestselling author, The Du Lac Chronicles
Highly recommended for those seeking Viking adventure. – Historical Novel Society
This is a tale full of irony, as well as the full force of life in a brutal, and oft confusing time. – Historical Fiction Reviews
If you would like to know more about Eric and his work, check out his social media links below: