Tuesday, March 17, 2009

J.A. Hunsinger: Guest Post

J.A. Hunsinger is the first author to do a guest post on my blog. So I am very excited to welcome J.A. Hunsinger to Reading Mama. J.A. Hunsinger is the author of Axe of Iron:The Settlers. So everyone give him a warm welcome and enjoy his guest post. I know that I did.
The first novel of a continuing character-driven tale of a medieval people whose wanderlust and yearning for adventure cause them to leave the two established settlements on Greenland and sail west, to the unexplored land later referred to as Vinland.

Eirik the Red established Eiriksfjord in 986 and later Lysufjord, 400-miles to the north. Just 22-years later, new settlers from the homelands found all the best land already occupied, the fragile Arctic environment strained by too many people and animals on too little arable land.

Under the capable leadership of Halfdan Ingolfsson and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur Einarsson, 315 men, women, and children set sail from Greenland in the spring of 1008, bound for the unexplored continent across the western ocean.

Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous people, the pre-historical ancestors of the Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, these native people strenuously resist the incursion of these tall, pale-skinned invaders.

Two calamitous events occur that pave the way for the hostile beginnings of an assimilation process to occur between these disparate peoples. The way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn, but the acceptance and friendship that develops between the Northmen and the Naskapi over an affair of honor, the eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods, makes it all begin to fall into place, as it must for the Northmen to survive.

See the saga unfold, in this first book of the Axe of Iron series, through the eyes of the characters as each day brings a continuation of the toil, love, hardship, and danger that they come to expect in this unforgiving new land.
Please come back tomorrow to see my review for Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

The Story Behind the Book
by J. A. Hunsinger

In 986 about five hundred medieval Norse people settled the island of Greenland. Over the five hundred year history of the two known settlements on the islands southwestern coast the population increased to as many as four thousand people. We know little about the people or the settlements because the people wrote nothing down for posterity. All we know about them comes to us from the Greenland Saga and the Saga of Eirik the Red, both written about two centuries after the facts they pretend to convey. In about the mid-fifteenth century the people abandoned their last remaining settlement, Eiriksfjord. Wherever they went, they took their ships, tools, and every useful item they possessed. Nobody knows their destination for they left not a clue. Their disappearance is the premise for my Axe of Iron series.

Much of what we know about these people, pertaining to their culture and disappearance, I have covered in detail in the Historical Perspective of my character-driven, historical fiction novel Axe of Iron: The Settlers. This is the first book of the continuing Axe of Iron series about the Greenland Norse people. The series tells a fictional tale about what I believe happened to them based on my extensive research over the years.

My interest in the subject stems from the Norse and Germanic mythology I studied in school, my Swedish/German heritage, and the vexing question of the disappearance of four thousand people. I recognized early on that there are many people who are fascinated by the medieval Viking culture. Although the people I write about share that Viking heritage, when they sailed to Greenland and North America in the tenth and eleventh centuries they were no longer Vikings in the strict sense of the word and I do not refer to them as such.
The unknown aspects of their disappearance gives me the opportunity to use fiction to tell a tale about them that answers many of the questions about certain North American Indian tribes who exhibited characteristics, customs, and mannerisms that early explorers—eighteenth century—attributed to pre-historical European contact. The dates when these facts came to light reinforce my contention that the European contact alluded to could only have been the Greenland Norse people. My series will deal, in a fictional sense, with why tribal members of some pre-historical Indian tribes looked like white people, had customs like white people—including religious beliefs—were completely different from other tribes encountered, and welcomed the earliest white explorers with open arms.

The Greenland Norse did not disappear; they assimilated with the pre-historical North American Indians that they encountered. I believe this assimilation process was well underway by the early years of the eleventh century in the Canadian Arctic and moved south as the Medieval Warm Period gave way to the onslaught of the Mini-Ice Age. This natural climate cycle caused native peoples— including the last holdouts of Greenland Norse people remaining in Eiriksfjord—to migrate with the animals on which they subsisted.

Conventional brick and mortar archaeologists have largely ignored this controversial aspect of our pre-historical past. The path to discovery remains blurred by the passage of one thousand years of time. There are no ruins or pyramids to create entire cultures around, and few artifacts to discover. The presence of the Greenland Norse people on this continent is but an echo from the dim past, but it is here nonetheless.

Scientists have found Norse DNA in Greenland and Baffin Island Inuit people. If somebody will look, perhaps Norse DNA will be found in members of contemporary Indian tribes in northeastern and north central North America. Only then will we know their fate.

As I wrote in the Historical Perspective of Axe of Iron: The Settlers, more than 40–generations have elapsed since they came to this continent. Now their very existence, everything they accomplished, has faded from the collective memory of all the peoples they contacted.

I prefer to believe the four thousand live on however, their genetic makeup diluted by the intervening centuries of time. They are still here smiling back at us from the faces of the Inuit Greenlanders, Cree, Ojibwa, and Iroquois with whom they joined so long ago.

That is why I have a story to tell, a story as seen through the eyes of my characters.
You can visit J.A.Hunsinger's website at http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/ and his blog at http://www.vinlandpublishing.blogspot.com/.


Beth F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth F said...

Oops I mis-typed. I was trying to say thanks for the excellent guest post and that I was looking forward to the review. Sigh. I need more coffee.

J. A. Hunsinger said...

Good Morning,
Thank you so much for your excellent guest post of my Axe of Iron series of historical fiction books.
I will be stopping by frequently to answer any questions or comments.
Best Regards,

Tracee said...

What a great guest post - I love seeing authors write outside of their books.

J. A. Hunsinger said...

Thanks, Tracee. Authors are just regular people who like to write both in and out of their books. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

Pabast said...

Beth F. That's OK. You can never have enough coffee in the morning.

Tracee-It is nice to see what the author has to say about his book.

J.A.-Thanks for visiting.

Storyheart said...

A great guest post


Pabast said...

It was a great guest post. Thanks for visiting.