RED WING — The popular show "Vikings" was not always historically accurate so Bethany Borgschatz worked to tell the real story of characters from the show in her new novel “The Sun Will Never Set.”
The book follows Rollo, a Norseman and his wife, Poppa, who lived in the 10th century.
“Whenever I watch shows like that I have to do my own research just to kind of see where they're at and learn more about the characters. And as I was watching the show, I realized that they were getting history wrong. And it started to kind of irk me a little bit.” Borgschatz added, “They had him in a different time period, had him marrying the wrong person. I’m like, I need to tell the story. So it took me a while. I spent a lot of time with the characters in my head before actually, you know, started writing.”
Because Rollo and Poppa lived so long ago we don’t know everything about their lives. So, Borgschatz had to create scenes and interactions between her characters to flush out their story. She spent about a year with the characters thinking about what they would do or say.
Borgschatz explained, “Once I would get a really good scene or interactions that I wanted some of the characters to have, I would start writing that down. And this can happen at really funny times when you're a writer. You might have notes on napkins, or the back of the paper or a scrap piece of paper or waking up in the middle of the night and quick writing like a quote down or something that I wanted to incorporate. So that really was kind of a messy process for about a year.”
When Borgschatz was ready to sit down and begin drafting her novel, the writing process only took about three months because she knew the characters and their history.
Borgschatz had written before writing this book. In fact, in high school she was voted class author but she never published her work. So she worked with local editors and Zoe Malinchoc of Fair Trade Books to edit her draft and find a publisher.
When looking at self-publishers with Malinchoc, Borgschatz became interested in Beavers Pond Press based in St. Paul.
“Beavers Pond was the first one that I had looked up and researched and really liked. And I sent in my first chapter, and I heard within a day or two back, they're like, send us the rest.”
Borgschatz is in the process of marketing her book, which can be difficult for any author but is made much more complicated by a pandemic. For example, book signings are outside and social media and word of mouth are key tools for telling people about the book.
One of the most common questions that Borgschatz here now is if she is planning to write another book.
“I would have to find another story that I fell in love with as much as Rollo’s story and his character. I really liked the history and the historical fiction aspect of the book. Being able to play with my own fiction, but also using historical context was so fun. So something would have to grip me as much as he did. And as much as his wife Poppa," she said.
Borgschatz notes that her novel is aimed at those 18 and older due to adult content.
"The Sun Will Never Set" can be found at Borgschatz's website: bethanyborgschatz.com.