|Gullfoss, “Golden Falls”|
do you get your ideas from?” is a question often posed to authors. Being a
sharing type, I secretly enjoy the query and confess to a small delight when my
answer brings looks of surprise and raised eyebrows.
to tell, the seedlings of my “Heart” trilogy took root long ago, in a chilly
land far away, one that sits just beneath the Arctic Circle — the “Land of Ice and Fire” and of sagas — Iceland.
It was there, while living on this rugged island,
that my interest in the Norsemen was fired and later led to my penning three Viking-age
novels: The Valiant Heart, The Defiant
Heart, and The Captive Heart.
|Sod-roofed farm house, Árbær Museum, Reykjavík|
forty-one years have passed since I stepped off the plane in Keflavík, Iceland,
with a two-year old daughter and five-month old baby boy in my arms. That was
in June of 1972. We were joining my husband for his tour of duty at the NATO
base there. Thankfully, he met us at the plane, for I found myself standing
against a wall of wind, feet moving on the tarmac and going nowhere fast. And I
was freezing in my summer clothing! Once inside the terminal, I flung open my
suitcase and disappeared into my winter coat for the next two years.
|A warm woolen Icelandic sweater lurks beneath the trench coat!|
but what an adventure those years held for us. The day of our arrival, Mark drove
us to the shore at Sandgerði. As we stood looking out over the ocean, the sun
blazed high overhead. It was midnight! Dusk arrived in the wee hours to briefly
“kiss” the horizon before lifting again for another sunny day.
of course, were quite the reverse, for Iceland’s year is divided between six
months of darkness and six months of daylight. During those months we were
treated to the dazzling spectacle of the Aurora Borealis as well as to “winter
whiteouts.” Blizzard conditions were broadcast as “Alpha,” “Bravo,” or “Charlie”
to indicate whether to take shelter quickly or to not move from a location at
|Typical gravel road|
and summer were the best times to tour the island. In the early 70’s there were
only two paved highways in all of Iceland — one between Keflavík and the
capital city of Reykjavík and the other in the major city in north, Akureyri.
We invested in a “poppy red” Land Rover, joined the Base’s “Rover’s Club” and
set out in convoy to see the sights.
first trip took us through the interior “moonscape” of Iceland where astronauts
trained for their missions. The first night I ever camped in my life was between two glaciers — Vatnajökull and
Hofsjökull. Did I mention that Vatnajökull is the world’s largest glacier with
ice a mile thick? Or that our heater went out during the night? I woke up so
cold that I thought I had already died! Thankfully our lamp provided enough
heat to see us through the night.
curious thing we discovered in Iceland’s desert interior was vertical stacks of
stones along the roadside, every so many kilometers. These turned out to be
“guideposts,” so to speak. They lead to small refuge huts and remain visible in
|Delightful companions, greeting us one morning|
great “plus” for camping in Iceland is that there are no wild animals or
slithery things to worry about. Only
gentle sheep roam about and we awoke to their company more than once.
Next blog: Continuing
adventures in Iceland