Genevieve Gornichec is a new author and has recently released her debut novel, The Witch’s Heart.
The book follows Angrboda, a witch who has just escaped her third burning. After Loki, the trickster god, shows up to heal her heart, their union produces three unique children with particular destinies; Angrboda must decide to give in, or fight for the family she’s come to love so dearly.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the suburbs of Northeast Ohio. It’s not a particularly exciting place, so I read a lot of books!
How old were you when you realised you had a keen interest in History?
I’ve always had an interest in history – as a kid I’d fixate on different time periods, but I didn’t decide to major in it until halfway through my first year at university.
What sparked your interest in Norse mythology and Vikings?
I took a class on the Old Norse language when I was an undergraduate, and I was hooked! I took the class after getting back from studying abroad in Sweden for a semester and trying to learn the language, because my grandfather is from Stockholm originally. And my interest just bloomed from there!
What made you want to rewrite/reimagine the stories of Norse gods?
I really love Norse mythology, but I didn’t necessarily set out to rewrite their stories – just Angrboda’s! I’m a sucker for the underdog, and also for minor side characters; The Witch’s Heart was kind of a culmination of those interests!
Angrboda is such an influential and resilient character; is she inspired by any other characters from literature?
I wasn’t inspired by any specific characters, but by combining her with other women in the mythology and making her very powerful, I had to ask myself what kind of person she’d have to be to have all that power but not use it, so that’s kind of how she developed.
What was your planning/writing process like for this novel?
I wrote the first draft of the novel in three weeks for NaNoWriMo in 2011 and just kind of…wrote it! That’s how it ended up without solid chapters, actually. But I was lucky to be able to use the Norse myths as the bones for the plot.
What do admire most about the iconic characters you’ve included in your novel?
Oh gosh! I’d have to say Angrboda’s resilience, Skadi’s steadfastness and strength, and Loki’s wit. Those last two can go for the myths themselves too; we don’t know much about Angrboda, but a lot can be said about those two.
How did you start your research?
My research sort of started during the class I was in, and continued from there, using the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, our two main sources for Norse mythology. In revising and editing, I’d always have the source material on hand to fact-check myself and make sure I was on the right track.
Was Angrboda always the head of this story? Or did she surpass other potential protagonists for the titular spot?
Oh yes, she was always number one! The story was definitely always about her, even though I combined her with many other characters.
How much research did you have to do on the nine realms, Odin, Loki, and so on?
Oh, lots – I feel like I still learn something new about Norse mythology every day. There’s just so much to unpack in every poem. Sometimes I’d translate different words or lines to make sure I had the meaning right!
Finally; how proud are you that so many people already adore this book? Are you excited for the UK release?
Yes. Oh my gosh, yes. Honestly, it’s been beyond my wildest dreams so far. It all feels very surreal; I sat on this book for seven years before trying to get it published, and I am so grateful for the largely warm reception it has received.
The Witch's Heart is available now!
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
After Angrboda is cast out after being burned for the third time, her life changes in the most unimaginable way…
Author of this spectacular novel, Genevieve Gornichec, uses her degree in history from the Ohio State University to weave an incredible tale.
She got as close as she could to majoring in Vikings as possible; her inspiration is drawn from her study of Norse myths and Icelandic sagas. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio...