‘Kjartan the Gentle’ is published tomorrow! I am having a Facebook launch party here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1773320552892959/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
Please come along and join in the silliness!
A background to the story:
I’d never written a gay male romance before, although I’d read them. So when it became clear that one of my Tales characters was hiding the fact he was gay, I decided to go for it and write my first M/M romance.
When I researched Viking attitudes to homosexuality, I was pleased to find they were very extreme and prejudiced- a huge area in which I could explore my themes of Forbidden Love and relationships between people with different views.
The best site I found to research was the brilliant Viking Answer Lady (Gunnora Hallakarva) http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/gayvik.shtml
There is ample documentation of homosexuality in insults. Judging by the literature, the Vikings were the “rednecks” of medieval Europe… if you went into the mead hall and called a man a faggot, he’d do the same thing that any good ol’ boy at a Texas cowboy bar would do. The end result would be a big axe in your head instead of a big cowboy boot in your face, but the idea is the same. Furthermore, in every one of the instances where níð or ergiis encountered as an accusation, no one seriously believes that the accused party is in fact homosexual: the charge is symbolic, rather like calling a modern redneck “queer” to provoke him to fight. (Sørenson 20)
So any gay lovers in the Viking Age would undoubtedly face great prejudice- but what about in Dark Age Britain, with the culture clash and mixed attitudes to relationships?
This is a romance more than a dry historical document though. So if you’re squeamish about gay love scenes, look away now.