Gunnar Olafsson plays the role of his ancestor King Harald at Stamford Bridge

Gunnar Olafsson plays the role of his ancestor King Harald at Stamford Bridge

I began writing fiction in 2016, when I decided to write a historical novel inspired by some of the many people I have met while working for Yorkshire’s Dalesman Magazine.

People I met spoke of the Harrying of the North, of the vibrant city of Jorvik, and of the origins of the language, a mixture of Old English and Old Norse.

I began to imagine, what must it have been like to live in those times?

And, I thought  – I’ll bring it all back to life.  I’ll write a historical novel!

How much easier to say than to do.  After years of checking facts and ensuring I quoted people accurately, I needed to learn a whole new way of working: creative writing.   So I joined a creative writing group and began writing short stories.

I’ve had some success with the short stories.  In 2017, one won a runner-up place in a competition

I was also very pleased to win a place on a writer development scheme, Writers’ Block North East 2017

In 2019, I won second prize in the Tees Book Festival’s short story competition, and am published in the anthology.

In 2020, I was delighted to have a ‘literary’ short story published on Page and Spine, the fiction showcase edited by N K Wagner.

My first piece of historical fiction was published in 2020 at  It imagines the human consequences of one of William the Conqueror’s policies.

Meanwhile, I am seeking an agent/publisher for my YA historical novel, Bladesmith.  Set against the Harrying of the North, it tells of Gudrid, an 11th century village blacksmith’s daughter who dreams of crafting the world’s finest, most desirable swords.  But when William the Conqueror decides to crush English resistance, Gudrid sees the swords she coveted deal death.  She and her six-year old sister escape into the wild, but how can Gudrid keep them alive amidst snow, hunger and marauding armies?