25 November 2019

Guest Interview with C.J. Adrien, Author of The Lords of the Wind (The Saga of Hasting the Avenger Book 1)

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Orphaned as a child by a blood-feud, and sold as a slave to an exiled chieftain in Ireland, the boy Hasting had little hope of surviving to adulthood. The gods had other plans. A ship arrived at his master's longphort carrying a man who would alter the course of his destiny, and take him under his wing to teach him the ways of the Vikings.

I'm pleased to welcome author C.J. Adrien  to The Writing Desk

Tell us about your latest book

My latest novels is a first in series about the life of the Viking Hasting. Hasting is one of the earliest verified historical figures of the Vikings Age, whose career began shortly after the period of semi-legendary figures (such as Ragnar Lothbrok). Highly active in the Loire River valley and Brittany regions of France, Hasting is not often evoked in historical fiction novels that focus on England and Ireland (as is generally the case in the Anglophone world).

It's a shame he isn't because his life embodied the ideals of what it was to be a Viking. If anyone could have written a book on what it was to be a Viking, Hasting would have been the man to do it; except the Vikings didn't write! In any case, Hasting features prominently in all the research I've done on the topic of the Vikings in Brittany, and it has always been my goal to write the story of his life in a compelling way.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I generally only write when I am in the mood, which you won't hear from many other authors. I am fortunate in that I am often in the mood to write, and so I never have to force myself. There are certain times when I am more inspired than others, and when that happens I am essentially consumed by my focus on my work. When it comes to planning outlines, scenes, and other nitty-gritty details, the place where I find the most inspiration is at the gym. Something about turning on epic tunes and pumping iron really gets my inspiration going.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

It takes time to find your voice in your writing. Keep writing, and keep practicing. Most importantly, don't be afraid to put your writing out there for others to pick apart. Don't take criticism personally, use it to improve. The first novel I wrote was awful, and lots of people told me so. Rather than feel discourage and stop writing, I took a hard look at my strengths and weaknesses, and I worked to improve. I strive to always improve, and that's the attitude I credit with taking me to the next level year after year. Lastly, patience is key. No author ever became good at writing by simply picking up a pen and writing. It takes years of dedication and practice, and that work never ends.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

My blog started me on the path to raising awareness. I took the time to write dozens of articles about my research, built up a loyal online following, and after a few years I ended up being one of the top Viking history blogs on the internet. My articles and novels earned me an invitation to be a speaker at the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds. After that, once my name started to make the rounds in my niche, everything came together. The launch of my third and most recent novel was practically effortless compared with my first two novels, and that's because of all the hard work I put into building up my reputation online over the better part of a decade.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

After the sack of Seville in the 840s, the Muslims of Iberia sent an emissary named al-Ghazal north to find out who the Vikings were and why they had wanted to attack Spain. While the account of al-Ghazal is intriguing after he arrived at the court of Throgisl in Ireland, his early testimony about the voyage revealed something completely unexpected. He described a series of islands off the coast of what is today France, and tells of a Viking village with a king who welcomed them and helped to repair their ships. Historians have struggled to prove the islands of Aquitaine were ever permanently settled by Vikings, and here we have a firsthand account that this was in fact the case.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The "Meeting at Redon" was particularly difficult. Every character in the room has a different motive and goal, and so it was a nightmare to put together a meeting where every participant wanted to pull the conversation in a different direction. It was also hard to write the scene in an entertaining way, and I struggled to put it together in a way that wouldn't lose readers in the nitty-gritty of the politics of the day.

What are you planning to write next?

I am currently writing the second installment of Hasting's life, which will be released on July 4, 2020. Wish me luck!

C.J. Adrien 
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About the Author

C.J. Adrien is a French-American author of Viking historical fiction with a passion for Viking history. His Kindred of the Sea series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett. C.J. Adrien’s novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds. For more information, please visit C.J. Adrien's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of The Lords of the Wind! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household.

All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. The Lords of the Wind

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