Friday, 4 January 2013

Blog entry by Emma Keir from the Grassroutes Project about the launch of Shieldmaiden.

Picture by Rod Duncan

Book Launch: Shieldmaiden by Marianne Whiting
            On Thursday 6th December Marianne Whiting, poet, novelist and member of Leicester writer's club released her novel Shieldmaiden. The evening, at Leicester Adult Eduction College, consisted of Marianne's witty introduction to her novel, readings from the manuscript and an intriguing historical background into its context.
            Marianne begins her talk by telling the audience about her Scandinavian heritage. The author grew up on historical fiction, yet she felt frustrated that most roles allocated to women were limited. The exception seemed to be the Viking era. She tells us her usual responses to her Scandinavian heritage: a joke about Vikings, “either a leer or sneer but always the same words: Vikings, oh yes, rape and pillage”.
            Marianne had always intended to write a book about Vikings, and Shieldmaiden has taken years in the making. She tells the room “when I first began writing Shieldmaiden I was very arrogant thinking that being Scandinavian and a student of history I wouldn't really need to do much research”. Yet as the evening goes on, her dedication to her formed research is clear for all to see.
            The gap in her knowledge, she tells us, turned out to be about Viking settlers in Cumbria. The novelist continues to give us an interesting background into British history. Marianne explains she was a historian before becoming a novelist, but she was, as she puts it: “a lousy historian because I had so much imagination”. However, she has evidently maintained an impressive vat of historical knowledge, which keeps everyone in the room fascinated. Even after her launch, the room is buzzing with excited listeners sharing their appreciation of the novel and its author.
            I too, became a new fan of Marianne and couldn't wait to get my hands on a signed copy of Shieldmaiden. I explained to her I was from Grassroutes writing team and she helpfully offered me her transcript from the evening. I gratefully accepted it and eagerly took my seat with my new novel. Within ten minutes, I had already read two chapters and I can tell you now, I cannot wait to read twenty eight more.

By Emma Keir
(Member of Grassroutes writing team and proud owner of Shieldmaiden by Marianne Whiting)

Shieldmaiden is available as e-book and paperback from ,as e-book from WH Smith and the paperback can be ordered from major book stores if it's not on their shelves.

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