Monday, July 22, 2019


We've still got a few Unearthed contributors reporting in with Q&As, and we'll be sharing them as they come in! This week, author I.E. Kneverday gives us a look behind the historical fiction piece "Was I A Viking Old?":

Altrix Books: What about the UNEARTHED concept made you want to pitch a story?

I.E. Kneverday: The prompt for UNEARTHED offered the perfect balance of specificity and open-endedness. It was very clear upfront that Altrix Books was looking for stories about “the contents of any coffin, sarcophagus, mausoleum, or other big mysterious tomb,” and that at some point in the story the writer had to reveal what was inside. (Reminded me of the famous — or perhaps infamous — "Mystery Box" approach that J.J. Abrams takes with his writing). But apart from that prime directive, there were no limitations on genre, setting, or time period. My mind was free to wander. And wander it did indeed.

Altrix: Tell us a little about your story,

Kneverday: My story, "Was I a Viking Old?", is a work of historical fiction set in 1840s New England. It centers around the real-life discovery of an ancient skeleton adorned in armor. The story's main protagonist, Naomi Haynes, is a (fictional) reporter on a quest for truth. After arriving in Fall River, Massachusetts, she soon uncovers conflicting stories as to the skeleton's origins. Famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow plays a central role as the progenitor of the most popular story, but just how accurate is his take on events? Our intrepid reporter Naomi puts herself at great peril to find out...

Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

Kneverday: The title of my story, "Was I a Viking Old?" is a line taken directly from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "The Skeleton in Armor" published in 1841. And indeed, the poem plays a key role in the story itself, with Longfellow arriving in Fall River (an actual town that Longfellow actually visited) to perform a reading.

Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Kneverday: The most challenging part of creating my story was pacing. As a work of historical fiction, it was tempting to go deep on all of the various historical details. But given that this story is really a mystery at heart, I had to push myself to trim the fat and keep my protagonist moving forward. Instead of describing the details of Chekhov's Gun (or in this case, Chekhov's cutlass) ad nauseam, I made a conscious effort to get to the action sooner rather than later.

Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Kneverday: You can read more of my short fiction on my website, I also recently edited (and contributed to) an anthology of urban Celtic fantasy, NEON DRUID, which is available on Amazon. If you're interested in crossing over into the Celtic Otherworld, a place where the mischievous gods, monsters, and heroes of Celtic mythology intermingle among us, NEON DRUID is for you. Finally, for my latest writing updates, you can follow me on Twitter.

Pick up your copy of Unearthed!


Post a Comment