Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interview, Review & Giveaway // God's Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert

Hello! Today we have a very special guest here on The Literary Maidens; Heather Day Gilbert author of God's Daughter! She is going to be answering some interview questions, and I'll be sharing with you my thoughts on her novel; as well as giving you the opportunity to enter a giveaway to win an e-copy of your own! We have a lot to cover, so let's get started!

// Author Interview With Heather Day Gilbert //

Could you introduce yourself, sharing a bit about yourself, your family and interests? 

Sure! I'm a homeschooling mama who lives in West Virginia, where I grew up. My husband and I met in college and married when he was in law school. We have three kiddos who are close in age (grades 9, 8, and 7!). I love reading the classics—one of my fave books ever is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

When did you first start writing, and what inspired you to do so?

I've loved writing and reading since I was a child. I wrote poetry through college and tried to start a book or two, but never finished them. When I got married and had children, I shelved that book-writing dream a while. But in 2009, a friend challenged me to NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month), and I was amazed when I did actually complete my paranormal novel in a month. I got the novel writing "bug" and haven't stopped since!

Could you tell us about your novel, God's Daughter?

God's Daughter is the second novel I wrote. I figured historical would be an easy sell in Christian book circles. Turns out, it really wasn't a time period that was deemed "marketable." After over a year out on submission and numerous attempts to get it in the door, I decided to self-publish it. I knew Vikings were getting increasingly popular and I knew Gudrid (my main character) had a story that needed to be shared.

Why did you decide on the time period of the Vikings for your novel? Have you always had an interest in Vikings?

Yes, my Grandma always reminded us that we were related to Eirik the Red, so I bought a copy of The Icelandic Sagas and read up on Eirik's family. Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, Eirik's daughter-in-law, really jumped out at me, because she was a beautiful, brave woman who sailed with three husbands across oceans. Also, she was a Christian Viking, which helped me relate to her more.

How did you prepare/research for writing this novel?

I definitely used The Icelandic Sagas as my guidebook for events that would occur, but I did lots of book and online research to get the food/clothing details right. I also researched Old Norse words and tried to base the majority of my word choices on that, while still keeping the conversations clear for modern readers. It got a bit daunting at times, and took a lot of time to decide which words didn't throw the reader out of the era. I did wind up using some words that weren't recorded in Old Norse, just to keep the story flowing.

Was there a particular scene in God's Daughter that you enjoyed writing most, or that set itself apart from the other scenes for you?

I had some scenes that made me tear up each time I edited them. And I really had fun with scenes that involved Gudrid's wild sister-in-law, Freydis. Freydis will be the main character in the second book in this series. The two women couldn't be more different.

What is your hope for this novel, and desire for how it will impact readers?

I hope it brings a relatively obscure, yet important time period to life for readers. I hope it illuminates the fact that Vikings had dreams and hopes like we do, and that there were indeed Christian Vikings. I also hoped to reach married readers with some of the things they may face and can overcome.

What is next for you as an author? Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

I'm working on editing my contemporary Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, and will probably self-publish that next. My second Viking novel, Forest Child, is simmering in my brain for now. I will throw myself into that full-force once the mystery is released, probably in late spring.

What is one random thing most people don't know about you?

It's hard to come up with something new, because I'm a very transparent author and my followers know me pretty well. I will share that I'm kind of obsessed with tulips, I have the best in-laws ever, and I bought myself the video game Tomb Raider: Anniversary for Christmas.

Is there anything you'd like to share in closing?

I'm just so thankful God led me into indie publishing, so I was able to finally get my books out to readers that honestly bless me every day. I love having control over my cover art, my marketing, my formatting—everything. I'm also thrilled to share that the audio version of God's Daughter will release later this year! I hope you can follow my Facebook Author page—it's where I do all my bookish updates. Thanks so much!
// About Heather Day Gilbert //

Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.

// About God's Daughter // 

One Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to North America.

In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a voyage to North America.

But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself—and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.

Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God’s Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir—daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America.

 // God's Daughter Book Review //
// Review by Bethany //

Journey back in time to the tenth century, Greenland. Where pagan culture rules the land, and Christianity is still new; where Vikings thrive off the land and journey the seas in hopes of wealth and new land. Meet Christian Viking Gudrid, who decides to turn from pagan practices, embrace Christianity and live righteously when few else did. Filled with lots of Viking action, adventure, excitement and strong Christian values, this new novel from author Heather Day Gilbert is sure to educate and inspire!

When Heather Day Gilbert recently contacted me with the opportunity to review her new novel, God's Daughter, I eagerly said yes! I love historical fiction set during historic time periods since I love learning about the past. I was especially excited about reading this book set in the 10th century during the time of the Vikings, since novels about Vikings during this time period are often few and far between. I found the prospect of a Viking novel combined with a strong Christian world view to be a book that seemed to have great potential - and it certainly did as it turned out to be a very educating and exciting read that I was glad to not have missed out on!

I was very impressed with this novel. When starting it, I wasn't sure how I'd like it, thought I knew I'd love the historical aspects of learning more about Vikings. After finishing this book I can tell you that I was very impressed and found the book to be filled with historically accurate details that not only helped expand my knowledge of Vikings, but also left me eager for more of this author's novels! Throughout the story it is obvious how important research is to this author. I really admired this aspect of the book since all the details were researched for accuracy, and it really helped me expand my knowledge of Vikings and stirred an interest to continue learning about these self-sufficient people who lived off the land.

One aspect of this book that I also enjoyed was how well the book flowed and how easy it was to continue turning pages! I always enjoy a thrilling read that keeps you reading, and this book was no exception. I never felt like there were any dry spots where things slowed down, and I could tell by the way the story line flowed that it was very well thought out and executed, to give a seamless reading experience. This coupled with all the historical details really made for an enjoyable read!

The characters in God's Daughter were well developed, and I enjoyed getting to know Gudrid and the other Viking wives and mothers. Reading about how different things were for them in their day without electricity or modern conveineces really sparked an admiration and respect for these strong women of our past who played a big part in history. Knowing that these characters were real women who faced these situations helped me connect with the characters, and really opened my eyes to what life was like for these women who were dedicated Vikings. I really admired Gudrid's character and enjoyed seeing her spiritual journey, especially considering how Christianity wasn't the norm for Vikings who were immersed in pagan culture and customs. I loved getting to see the Viking aspect from a Christian perspective, and think this novel is a unique one-of-a-kind!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or to fans of Lois Walfrid Johnson's Viking Quest Series which is similar to this book in the fact that is about Vikings. While this book is more on the older audience side compared to the young adult Viking Quest Series, I felt like the novel was very clean. The only content I found to be mature were a couple scenes that took place during custom pagan practices. For example the story starts off with a human sacrifice to Thor where a person was hung, and there were one or two scenes where funerals were held, in which the deceased bodies were burned versus buried. There were also two birth scenes, as well as a few scenes where Gudrid battled feeling content with her marriage, and was tempted to feel for other men instead of her husband alone, however she never does give in and is completely pure in her decisions. I can confidently say that all of these scenes were described with caution and discretion, and were not at all gory or overly detailed, which I greatly admired and found to add to the story with the truthful details without going into great detail.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel! It definitely didn't disappoint me, in fact I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it, and I can't wait to read the next book in the Vikings of the New World series!

 // Giveaway //
Heather has been so generous to offer up an e-copy of God's Daughter for a giveaway today! Thank you, Heather! This giveaway is open to both U.S. and international entries, and the winner will receive their e-book copy of God's Daughter through Smashwords. To enter this giveaway, sign into the Raffle Copter giveaway widget through you Facebook account or email, and you can start entering. This giveaway will take entries until January 24th, 2014, and the winner will be drawn at random, and email with details on redeeming their prize. Happy entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

D I S C L A I M E R :: I was contacted by the author with the opportunity to review God's Daughter and publish a blog post promoting the novel. I received a free softcover copy of God's Daughter for the purposes of this review, and was not paid in any way for helping with the publicity for this novel. All thoughts expressed in my review were completely my own, honest and unbiased. 


  1. Fabulous!
    I am entirely intrigued - I have Icelandic family and Gimli, the Icelandic community founded just north of my home in Canada, so my interest runs deep.
    Thank you for introducing me to both Heather and God's Daughter!
    I haved pinned it to my book board HERE
    and added it to my goodreads HERE TBR shelf - lots of great reviews, so Congrats Heather !! and thank you for your generous offer!

    1. Thank you so much! Oooh, Icelandic family! That's so great. I'd love to visit Iceland and Newfoundland, not to mention Norway someday...well, just a massive Scandinavian jaunt, really! Thanks so much for tweeting and pinning and getting the word out!!! Hope you can read the book--I know many Icelanders are related to Gudrid, the main character!


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