17 July 2018

Book Launch Guest Post by Sarah Dahl ~ Tower: Unchained by Love (A Tales of Freya Short Story Book 6)



In a world of crackling fires and rough landscapes, long winters and bloody raids, the immediacy of life and death ignites undeniable passions. Warriors and monks, healers and housewives – all follow the call of their hearts and bodies to indulge in pleasures that may forever change their lives. Young Viking Myskia lands on Irish shores to rescue his lover Adisa from the clutches of his family's enemy Raven. After a fierce duel, Myskia finds himself in the confined walls of a strange tower, facing Adisa. Their reunion turns out to be very different than what he imagined. Can the passion they once shared break down the walls that have grown between them after months of slavery? Or has she changed in ways he’s unprepared for? 

Set in the Viking era, this is a stand-alone, adult read with a HEA.

A tower as protagonist – An intimate Viking chamber play

The short story Tower – Unchained by Love is on the one hand the most gritty and bloody of my Tales of Freya. We see our protagonist Myskia attack a village to duel his arch enemy. His reunion with his enslaved lover Adisa turns out very different from what he had hoped for. It’s not like he can just snatch back the lady and run to the boats. Myskia has to break down the walls of the strange tower, and also those that have grown between him and his beloved woman. Until passion can unfold

Inside the tower, I wanted to oppose them like in an intimate chamber play: with nowhere else to go. Forced together. They aren’t the same people as before Adisa’s ordeal, but their bond is strong, and their wills and hearts are too. In this intimate setting, they go through a whole array of emotions; and with the traumatic experiences of especially Adisa, her encounter with Myskia is explosive – in many ways. 

So what I needed as a setting was a space that could intimately contain and intensify this wild exchange between them. So the former lovers end up in the very narrow space of a strange round tower, making both of them uncomfortable but also vulnerable and therefore open up. I specifically chose the slender, quite ancient round towers of Ireland, as seen in Glendalough, as a setting for this Tale. These towers’ history is vague. It is unclear who built them, why, and what they contained. They’re often near religious sites, but not quite on them. This uncertainty is ideal for a writer, as it gave me room to set up my chamber play as I needed it to be.

Our young and passionate hero is challenged not only by his enemy and then Adisa, but also this stone structure. He follows its exotic pull, then has to break into this imposing building, which in itself feels suicidal. Once inside, the narrow confines intimidate and confuse him. There is only one way to go: higher and higher into this dark space.

The round, narrow wall literally forces the lovers back together (be that a good or a bad thing). But it also protects them from the bloody mayhem down in what feels like the real world. The tower has a very surreal and removed-from-it-all intimacy to it. Cramped together, our couple is free from interruptions and distractions and can process their traumas and sudden reunion, to then celebrate the latter (in every sense that comes to mind ;-)).

So as often, there is some inciting “prop” for a story to develop. I had this idea of the tower as an intimate setting long before I wrote the Tale “Tower” – about 15 years ago, when I first saw the round towers “in person” in Ireland, steeped in mystery. Only much later did I plot this story “into” this exact space, and made it part of the story, almost like a protagonist in itself. Another challenger, an opponent to overcome. But also a protector for a while, as if the tower’s huge stony hand was folded around our couple for the time they need to reunite in minds, hearts, and bodies.

Sarah Dahl
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About the Author

Sarah Dahl lives on the edge of the rural German Eifel and writes historical fiction primarily set in the Viking age. She also works as an editor, translates, and coaches new writers in German and English. She is interested in everyday life in bygone centuries and the human stories that may have occurred behind the hard, historical facts. Find out more at her website sarah-dahl.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @sarahdahl13

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