All that glitters …

Poster… isn’t gold – but sometimes it IS!

Christina here. Next week my latest book will be released and the idea for this story was sparked by the Galloway Hoard, a magnificent treasure found in Scotland in 2014. As soon as I heard about it, I was fascinated. I could only imagine how amazing it must feel to discover something like that. Despite having bought myself a metal detector a few years ago, I’ve never found anything other than a few rusty nails and a piece of iron pipe, so I decided I would have to fulfil this dream in my imagination instead. Add to this the fact that the hoard was of Viking origin and it seemed like serendipity! That’s when Hidden in the Mists started to take shape in my mind.

BirdThe hoard was probably buried around 900 AD and consists of various gold and silver items, as well as other more ordinary things. It’s one of the most incredible treasures ever found in Scotland and the richest one from the Viking age. I read all the articles about it when it was first revealed and couldn’t wait for it to go on display. That took a while as obviously the items had to be conserved and assessed first. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to see it in person, and I was enthralled by the many precious objects. My absolute favourite was a little gold pin in the shape of a bird which I had already used in another story, Whispers of the Runes. The hero of that book is a silversmith/jeweller and I had him make a pin just like this. I saw it as a bird of prey or a raven judging by its curved beak, but archaeologists felt it more resembled a flamingo. Most probably it’s a fantasy bird but either way, I just love how intricate it is, despite being so small!

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Serendipity or Help from the Gods?

Pic 1 Marsden BayChristina here. As writers, we do a lot of background research for our books and personally I like to go and look at the settings for my stories if at all possible. Having decided that my hero and heroine were going to end up in the north-east of England (Northumbria and Mercia as it was called in the 9th century), I really wanted to visit those places for myself to see first-hand what it was like. I persuaded my poor long-suffering husband to come with me, and as we had two very elderly dogs they came along for the ride too. And what a ride it turned out to be!

A 775 English miles roundtrip in two days – it was what I would definitely call an epic journey. And all done in torrential rain, which is very tiring for the driver (mostly my husband). But somehow it all worked out very well and although this might sound very fanciful, I actually felt as though the Norse gods were with me, helping me to find exactly what I needed. Because the weirdest thing happened – although it was raining the entire two days – and I’m talking deluge here, not just a shower or two – each time we stopped at a site I wanted to see and photograph, the rain stopped for just long enough to give me a chance to do that. Coincidence? I started to doubt it. I mean, what are the chances?

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