Coming soon to a book club near you, and other updates

The Half-Drowned King was chosen for the Winter 2018-2019 Reading Groups List, in Historical Fiction! 

“Fierce storytelling honors the 13th-century Icelandic saga Heimskringla, which is retold here through the adventures of brother and sister Ragnvald and Swanhild. This novel is a real swashbuckler: true historical fiction in the tradition of James Michener and the ancient sagas themselves. A new favorite.” —Maeve Noonan, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

*

I talked with Ed Pizzarello of the Miles To Go Podcast. You can listen here and win a free signed copy of The Sea Queen.

*

I’ve been doing some volunteering for the NH Dems. Also knitting, and now I’m putting those things together:

*

I started blogging at the venerable Amazing Stories Magazine, about What’s New In Fantasy! My most recent post covered some new and ongoing fantasy comics.

*

I wrote about my top 5 fictional arranged marriages at FreshFiction.com.

*

I’ve done fewer appearances for The Sea Queen than I did for The Half-Drowned King, but I did an event at Politics and Prose at the Wharf in Washington, DC, a signing at Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, MA, and just this week, a reading at the library in my new home town.

*

My podcast, That Book was BONKERS, continues to be a ton of fun to research and record. Just recently we covered The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, and soon we will be doing a Halloween-themed episode.

*

I am deep in edits on The Golden Wolf, enjoying a New England fall, and cooking a lot. And that’s all the news these days!

 

Continue Reading

Hello from New Hampshire

The Sea Queen is coming out in the US in less than a week (August 14)! Do you have your copy pre-ordered yet?

It’s also been getting some good advance reviews:

Advance review from Booklist:

The “sea queen” is Svanhild Eysteinsdotter, a strong-willed woman with a difficult path ahead. In ninth century Norway, six years after the events in The Half-Drowned King (2017), Svanhild, married to the raider Solvi, loves her seafaring life but knows her intellectual son’s needs must come first. This leads to rising marital strife, while Solvi pursues revenge against Harald, Norway’s king. He’s not alone. Throughout the country and elsewhere, disaffected exiles and noblemen resentful of Harald’s taxes rise up against him. Svanhild’s brother, Ragnvald, king of Sogn, is loyal to Harald, and as rebel groups join forces, helping Harald achieve a united Norway becomes increasingly dangerous. Although less action- oriented than the first in the Golden Wolf Saga, the second captures the era’s violent atmosphere, where blood feuds last generations, and an early incident of stark brutality long haunts Ragnvald. Through her multifaceted characters, Hartsuyker adeptly evokes female alliances, the complications of love and passion, and vengeance both terrible and triumphant as she effectively juggles many subplots and settings, from Norway’s harsh, picturesque coast to sulfurous Iceland and Dublin’s muddy harbor.  —Sarah Johnson

I’m doing a launch party on August 20 at Politics and Prose at The Wharf in Washington, DC. If you can make it here is the FB invite. But no tour for this one–moving was enough!

I’ve been living in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire for a little more than three weeks now. In that time, I unpacked all my boxes, shopped for the zillion things a house needs and an apartment does not, and oh yeah, finished a draft of The Golden Wolf. I’m letting it sit for a week before I go back to it, and do one more draft before sending it to my editors.

In some ways, three weeks seems like a long time, but of course, it’s almost no time. I thought I would do a long post about what it’s been like moving here and settling in here, but so much of it is very prosaic. It has been very hot. Also, New Hampshire gets some very violent thunderstorms, including some hail one day. Luckily no tornadoes, though there was a warning one day.

I’m very happy we moved here, and I’ve been finding ways to get more involved in the community, through volunteering and making other connections. I feel like I want to do everything right away, but I also know how easy it is to take on too much.

I’ve been re-reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder since I got here. They were extremely formative books for me, and I wanted to be a pioneer girl in the 1860s when I was in elementary school But I think I’m enjoying them now because those books are all about moving and making a home, and that’s what I’m thinking a lot about these days. And as much work as taking care of a house is, compared with an apartment, it’s less work than building a new house from scratch on the prairie every few years. That’s always good to remember.

Continue Reading

Podcast News, Book News, Life News

It’s hard to know what news to talk about first, but please be sure to scroll down to the end, since I may be burying the lead by waiting until then to tell you I am leaving the state where I have spent my entirely life until now.

Podcast News:

I’m still recording That Book was BONKERS, with a bunch of awesome women. So far we have covered:

  1. A Study In Scarlet by A. Conan Doyle
  2. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
  3. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

With new episodes coming out on the 15th (the IDES) of each month. We will definitely be doing something Julius Caesar-themed in March.

We are also planning on doing guest episodes, with just one or two of the hosts, between the monthly releases, so if you’re interested, please get in touch at thatbonkersbook at gmail dot com.

Book News:

The paperback of The Half-Drowned King came out on June 26, 2018 in the US. It’s going to be in some Hudson Booksellers in airports, which is very exciting for me. If you see it in the wild, I’d love to see a picture of you with it!

It will also be in Barnes and Nobles all over the country, and in many independent bookstores, like Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, WI, which looks like a huge and wonderful bookstore, and I can’t wait to visit.

Life News:

My parents moved me to Ithaca, NY when I was less than two years old. I grew up there, and then went to Cornell University for college. I did a few out of state internships, but then moved to New York City after college, and stayed there….UNTIL NOW.

Yes, that’s right. Just yesterday my husband and I closed on a lovely house in New Hampshire, and we are moving in just a few weeks. I can’t wait to get back to country living, and to try living in a whole new state. I’ll be closer to Boston than New York, but will still visit both frequently to get my city fix.

For now, though, I’m dreaming of gardening and hiking and even shoveling snow.

Continue Reading

New Cover, Blurbs, Reviews

Lots of news from your friendly neighborhood Viking novelist.

ONE. I Started A Podcast!
Four literary friends discuss books and the history surrounding them. The first episode is about A Study In Scarlet by A. Conan Doyle, the first Sherlock Holmes novel. With Surprise!Mormons! Available wherever you get your podcasts.

On iTunes here.

TWO. Library Journal blurbs The Sea Queen

Following a successful trading season, Svanhild, sister to Ragnvald, the hero of Hartsuyker’s The Half-Drowned King, and husband Solvi return to their home in Iceland. Svanhild’s young son hasn’t taken well to travel on the open seas, and she hopes that by staying on land for a time, he might grow stronger and regain his health. Sadly, being land-bound is not where Solvi’s heart lies, and he demands that his wife and son accompany him on his next voyage. When Svanhild’s weakened son dies at sea, she abandons Solvi and sets off for Norway and her brother’s household. Meanwhile, Ragnvald, weary of war, returns to his own land to find his holdings have been claimed by Atli, who insists that King Harald promised them to him in Ragnvald’s absence. Deprived of home and hearth and knowing that his sister is no longer tied to his enemy, Ragnvald joins Harald to resume war against the raider. VERDICT Hartsuyker is a wonderfully descriptive writer equally adept at penning truly horrifying battle scenes as depicting life in ninth-century Norway. Fans of History Channel’s Vikings should find this novel (and its prequel) equally compelling.

—Jane Henriksen Baird, formerly at Anchorage P.L., AK

THREE. The Half-Drowned King makes another great list:

The Half-Drowned King as one of their top ten historical novels of the last year. Read more here!

FOUR. The UK Cover of The Sea Queen has been unveiled! 

Click to see a bigger version.

Continue Reading

News and Travel

I received my bound galleys of The Sea Queen this week. These are uncorrected, meaning while they are copy-edited, they don’t have the final 100+ changes I made to the galleys. They are sent to reviewers and book buyers. It’s always exciting to get my hands on a bound copy of one of my books, even though it’s not the official, beautiful hardcover version.

In other news, I was away in Thailand and Vietnam for ten days, and I’m only just starting to recover from jet lag. Thailand is 12 hours off from New York, which is the absolute hardest time change to make. Night is day, up is down. Not only is my sleep off, but I’m hungry at the wrong times of day, ravenous in the middle of the night, but not hungry for my dinner.

Still, it was a wonderful trip. I had some time on my own in Bangkok while my husband went to a conference. I got a lot of writing done, ate delicious food, Thai and otherwise, and visited the Jim Thompson house.

After the conference was over, we flew up to Chiang Mai to visit with some friends who live there. Chiang Mai is a wonderful laid back city. In weather, and in parts of the culture, it seems like a Thai Southern California with aspects of Brooklyn.

I think one of the reasons I had such a nice time on this trip is that I didn’t go in with any expectations. I wanted to see friends and get writing done. I saw some sights of Bangkok, but I didn’t have a checklist of things I needed to see. I had my trip, not a trip out of some guidebooks. A lot of what I like about travel is not about seeing particular sights, but just about being in a place. Because of that, it was fun just to go to a Bangkok food court, or listen to the conversation at a friend’s dinner party–to experience my time rather than rush on to the next thing.

I think I don’t do that enough in my life in NYC–my days are always about checklists of things to get done, and appointments to keep. I rarely sit in a coffee shop, or in a park and simply experience life. I listen to podcasts to drown out life, and when I don’t I get annoyed at my fellow NYers.

Part of this is the difference between vacation brain and work brain, but part of this is the location. I went to a fitness park in Chiang Mai to go for a run and get some other exercise in. Here in New York I am not a fast runner, but at that park, I was one of the fastest. Everyone else was just trotting along, talking with friends, keeping an easy pace. It made me feel silly about my constant pushing myself to be better, faster, stronger, more productive.

It was also nice to be 12 hours off from the US news. Even when I did go on Twitter, it was pretty quiet. Not many people update between 3am and 6am–my afternoon there.

For reasons too convoluted to go into, we had to leave from Hanoi, so first we had to get to Hanoi, which was somewhat challenging. My knitting needles were not allowed to go in my carry-on on leaving Chiang Mai (a first!) and then once we got to Hanoi, there was a long visa and immigration line. Then we only had the morning in Hanoi before an evening flight to begin our journey back to NYC.

Some scenes from around Hanoi.

A post shared by Linnea Hartsuyker ???? (@linneaharts) on


But even that was nice. The weather was chilly in Hanoi, making a bowl of Pho that much more attractive. We ate Pho and Bahn Mi and random fried street food. I had some amazing Vietnamese coffee (it’s incredibly thick, and then they put sweetened condensed milk in it–delicious). We went to a temple, and put our heads in random shops. By the time we had to leave, I definitely wished we had more time in Hanoi, but I also felt like I’d gotten a nice little taste of the city.

Continue Reading

May Book Updates

Blushing pearsI got a wonderful review from Kirkus:

“Steeped in legend and myth, Hartsuyker’s debut is a swashbuckling epic of family, love, and betrayal that reimagines the Norse sagas.  At 20, hotheaded Ragnvald is old enough to be a warrior “and counted a man”—but not old enough to see betrayal coming. After he’s nearly killed in a plot orchestrated by his stepfather, Ragnvald swears allegiance first to King Hakon, then to King Harald , hoping to win enough power to take back the land that’s rightfully his. Meanwhile, his sister, Svanhild, abandons the protections of family and friends to escape an arranged marriage—only to find herself at the mercy of her brother’s betrayer, Solvi. Hartsuyker bases Ragnvald’s tale on the epic of King Harald Fairhair, one of her possible ancestors. The historic figure of Ragnvald rose to prominence as one of Harald’s fiercest warriors during the unification of Norway in the ninth century. In the gaps of recorded history, Hartsuyker weaves a tale of myth, magic, and superstition, where “the chilly fingers of Ran’s handmaidens” can pull a sailor to his death or an undead draugr can terrorize a village. The contours of Ragnvald and Svanhild’s reality are equally dangerous, and Hartsuyker doesn’t shy away from depicting the slaughter, rape, and deception that marked the raids and battles of the Viking age. While Hartsuyker’s prose is straightforward, the plot is as deliciously complex as Game of Thrones. And, in an era so dominated by the tales of men, it’s nice to see a complicated, cunning heroine like Svanhild swoop in and steal the show. Hold on to your helms and grab your shields—Hartsuyker is just getting started.”

The Historical Novel Society published an article showcasing The Half-Drowned King and other new voices in historical fiction.

The Half-Drowned King has made a bunch of very flattering lists:

Continue Reading

UK Cover and Other News

I am very pleased to announce the UK Cover of The Half-Drowned King from my UK publisher, Little, Brown.

Also, The Half-Drowned King has been chosen for Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program for Summer 2017. It will be featured in the Discover display in Barnes and Noble in stores across the country. I am currently working to arrange events at various bookstores in August, so it looks like I will have a mini book tour after all!

Yesterday I recorded a short video for HarperCollins’s Genre-Bending video blog, which should be available in a month or so. Previous entries here: http://harperlibrary.typepad.com/genre_bending/

Continue Reading

The Mists of Avalon is Real! (Sorta)

I was a child who never stopped pestering my parents for books to read, and after running through everything in the house remotely targeted toward kids or teens by the time I was eleven, I asked my dad for a book, and he handed me The Mists of Avalon. I imagine, he figured 800 pages of Arthurian legend would keep me busy for a little while.

And it did, because I became obsessed. There are books with tighter plots, more sympathetic characters, characters who spend less time moaning about their cruel fate. There are books written by authors who haven’t had fairly horrific child abuse allegations made against them, but there is probably no better book to give to an imaginative pre-teen growing up in the middle of the woods. If I could have stepped through a patch of mist into Avalon, and become a priestess of the Goddess, I would have done it in a second.

Now that I write historical fiction, and have done a good deal of research about Early Medieval Europe (i.e. The Dark Ages), I can appreciate the difficult task Bradley had creating a world full of Arthurian romance, while also trying to be true to the times. She doesn’t dwell on the mud and stench of turf fortifications, but neither does she shy away from the dark and difficulty of travel, the superstitions, or the bondage of women to tasks of making fabric.

It is also made difficult by the face that so much of the Arthurian legend was written long after the time it purports to describe. Nothing about King Arthur appears in the historical record until the 9th century Historia Brittonum, but some of the characters identified as his contemporaries have better historical attestation. One of those is Urien of Rheged, (married to Morgaine in TMoA), who is praised in the Welsh Manuscript The Book of Taliesin. However, until recently the location of the kingdom of Rheged was unknown.

All of which is preamble to this news: the kingdom of Rheged has been found.

“…new archaeological evidence from the excavation of Trusty’s Hill Fort at Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway now challenges this assumption.

‘What drew us to Trusty’s Hill were Pictish symbols carved on to bedrock here, which are unique in this region and far to the south of where Pictish carvings are normally found,’ said Ronan Toolis of GUARD Archaeology, who led the excavation which involved the participation of over 60 volunteers. ‘The Galloway Picts Project was launched in 2012 to recover evidence for the archaeological context of these carvings but far from validating the existence of ‘Galloway Picts’, the archaeological context revealed by our excavation instead suggests the carvings relate to a royal stronghold and place of inauguration for the local Britons of Galloway around AD 600. Examined in the context of contemporary sites across Scotland and northern England, the archaeological evidence suggests that Galloway may have been the heart of the lost Dark Age kingdom of Rheged, a kingdom that was in the late sixth century pre-eminent amongst the kingdoms of the north.’

The excavation revealed in the decades around AD 600, the summit of the hill was fortified with a timber-laced stone rampart. Around the same time supplementary defences and enclosures were added to its lower-lying slopes transforming Trusty’s Hill into a nucleated fort, a type of fort in Scotland that has been recognised by archaeologists as high status settlements of the early medieval period.”

And if this is true, a part of me can still hope that, in a world divided from our own by a misty lake, the priestesses of Avalon still weave their magic and keep the old religion alive.

Continue Reading

More announcements!

First, check out this spiffy draft of my Dutch cover! I’m gathering that “The Half-Drowned King” does not translate particularly well into some European languages, so the Dutch title is “The Legend of Svanhild”. And the German title is “Crown and Fire”.

I had a great meeting with my agent last week about marketing and publicity, so this is where I start spamming you every few minutes with reminders to…wait, where are you going????

Nope, this is NOT where I start doing that. No matter how much I love an author’s writing, I end up annoyed if they spend all their time prodding people to buy their book. I’ve done some rearranging of this website, and will do some more, but this will continue to be a space where I write about my life, what’s on my mind, what I’m doing, and what I care about.

I have made some changes to the website based on my agent’s feedbac:

  • The landing page is now my books page
  • My bio page now has more pictures of me
  • I have links in the right nav to pre-order the books from all major booksellers
  • I now have a Goodreads author page–where you can ask me questions!

Some people have been asking what you can do to help the book’s success:

  1. Pre-order it! Amazon | B&N | Google Play | IndieBound | iBooks | Kobo
  2. But even if you don’t, you can set it as “Want to Read” on Goodreads and that helps
  3. If you have read it *waves at my mom and dad*, please leave a review, or even just a star rating on Amazon
  4. If you have a book blog and you’d like an Advance Reader Copy so you can read and write about it, please let me know

Thanks for being here with me on this journey!

Continue Reading