Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Saga of Waillyrn Sound by George Stringfellow - Interview : Featured Author

Streble Helmkin has one burning desire, to set sail with his father and uncle on their next Viking voyage. He is told he’s too young to go this year and will be needed at home. Maybe he’ll be ready next year.

After he saves the Village Chieftain’s children from a wolf attack, Streble earns the respect of his entire village, proving he is worthy to make the voyage. What he experiences on the expedition including the supernatural encounter he will face alone forces a boy into manhood.

The Saga of Waillyrn Sound inspired by the Vinland Sagas, is a mythic adventure told in a time before magic was replaced by technology. A young man comes of age learning a basic truth reminding us all to be careful what we wish for. Sometimes we get what we ask for.


Streble packed the buck down a long ridgeline descending the mountain.  He had nearly reached the bottom of the slope where the hills flattened out into farm fields, still two miles from the village, when a girl’s frightened scream pierced the air. 
            The scream was close, coming from just over the rise to his right.  Turning in that direction and taking a few steps brought him to the top of the ridge where he stopped, viewing the scene below. 
            A short distance away and first in line was an unattended horse hitched to a sled filled with logs, in frenzied flight headed toward the village being chased by wolves.  Behind the runaway stood Kliven, servant of the village chieftain, swinging a sword attempting to ward off the attack of two other wolves.  He stood alone in defense of the two people kneeling behind him in the snow. 
            As Streble topped the ridgeline, another larger wolf attacked the sword-bearer from behind.  There was no time to shout a warning as the pack leader lunged through the air snatching Kliven at the back of the neck bringing the defender down. 
            The kneeling girl screamed again at the sound of Kliven’s neck snapping as the three ravenous wolves began tearing the body apart.  She buried her face in the chest of the boy at her side she was holding on to. 
            Streble threw the buck from his shoulders snatching the bow from its bindings as he ran down the short incline. He notched an arrow in his bow letting it fly while still on the run, dropping the first of the three predators. Arming the bow again, he lunged to a sudden stop glancing at the two people he placed himself in front of, then faced the wolves who acknowledged the new threat. In front were the predators, behind him sat Ragardson and Gudrid, brother and sister, children of the village chieftain. 
            The pack leader and its mate snarled at the intruder. For a brief moment, hunter and prey stood mute and unmoving staring each other down. The hunter saw hunger and intent in their eyes. The wolves took a few cautious steps towards him. At that moment it was uncertain just who was the hunter, and who the prey was. 
            The second wolf started moving with stealthy steps around Streble’s side. He watched this one’s slow prod from the corner of his eye. His focus was locked on the eyes of the pack leader that stood waiting. Whether he shot the creeping wolf on the left, or the pack leader he faced, there would be no time to replace the spent shaft before the remaining wolf attacked. 
            Streble would not let circumstances dictate the outcome of the showdown. With a rapid shift of the eye he sent his arrow into the creeping wolf on his left. The arrow lodged in its neck and the wolf dropped kicking and scraping the snow with it paws in dying agony. 
            Once the arrow left the bow, the pack leader lunged at Streble’s chest. The hunter dropped the bow and to his knees simultaneously. Going under the leaping pack leader, he ducked his head reaching for the dagger at his back. Gudrid screamed again. The pack leader was going to land in her lap. 


How did you start your writing career?
When I was in the sixth grade, a friend and I started writing action scenes about a squad of U. S. Marines in the Pacific during WW II.  First one then the other would write a scene, the other would pick up the action carrying the story forward.  I don’t think we ever finished the story but it was enough to keep the girls we sat next to interested in what we were doing.
Later in life I spent a year and a half stationed in Germany while in the U. S. Army where letters home started turning into novellas.  Working the long winter nights in Germany were conducive to changing these letters home into my first fiction novella. 

Tell us about your current release. 

The idea for The Saga of Waillyrn  Sound came after reading the Vinland Sagas published by Penquin Classics.  Did the Vikings who discovered Iceland, Greenland, and what they referred to as Vinland really believe the world was flat?  Did they think the oceans they sailed were filled with sea monsters and deadly peril? 

Waillyrn Sound mixes these questions with Edgar Allan Poe’s Descent Into the Maelstrom when Streble Helmkin, a Viking lad of sixteen takes his first voyage to distant shores.  What Streble experiences on that voyage, including the supernatural encounter he will face alone will test his courage and turn a boy into a man. 

Tell us about your next release. 

I’m currently working on a novel-length manuscript tentatively titled, Cast A Wicked Spell.  Johnny Ace wrote the song, Pledging My Love wherein he states his love will last always and forever.
Valeric Ashton pledges his love to Sharla Dubain, two lovers in France caught up in the events of the Reign of Terror that toppled the French Monarchy.  Separated by circumstances beyond their control, Sharla takes her lovers’s vow to horrific ends that culminates in a climax 220 years later near Salem, Oregon.

Who is your favorite author?

There are several that include Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Ernest Heminway, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz.  Today I read everything I can get my hands on by Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books? 

You know you’ve got something really good going when one of the characters in your story takes over the writing and begins to write their own story.
What do you think makes a good story? 

Quick-paced action mingled with surprise plot twists.  Character conflict supported by contrast, hardships they face, and obstacles overcome. 

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
Originally perceived, The Saga Of Waillyrn Sound would become a three-part novel.  The first part written and published on Amazon’s Kindle is Streble Helmkin’s first voyage into the sound filled with potential catastrophic destruction. The Saga of the Silver Mountain would take Streble and his family to Greenland where they would meet Greenland’s colonizer, Eric The Red and his son Leif.  The third part of Streble’s story, The Saga of a New Found Land, would take them all to Vinland.  Whether or not the Helmkin family would return from this last voyage would be in the hands of the Norse Gods.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
I’ve learned from a very good professional writer and an excellent instructor that if you want to be a writer you must; read a lot, write a lot, and hang out with other writers.  If there’s a writer’s group in your area, join it.  If not, check out the groups online – there are several – and don’t be afraid to contribute.  Seek out and participate in critique groups.  Don’t take their criticism of your writing personally or take offense at what they say or the ideas they have to offer.  It’s been my experience to note that serious writers are a friendly sort of people who are willing to help you with your work.  Most importantly, write something every day.  This can only improve your skills moving you forward in your work and your desire to write. 


I've been asked several times over the years, "Were you born in a barn?" The answer quite simply is no, I was not born in a barn, but most assuredly, I grew up in one. I was born on a Utah dairy farm in the last year Harry Truman was president. This made me the perfect age to be heavily influenced by Beatlemania.
The four lads from Liverpool had a dramatic effect on my life.  After graduating from high school, I won the lottery spending the next year and a half living near Nuremburg, Germany at the behest of the U. S. Army. The letters I wrote home started turning into novellas. The first of these, October Night's Feast was published by Vantage Press in 1982. 
Today I live, work and still write novellas in Northwest Montana's Flathead Valley.

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