We’re thrilled to have here today Brunhild from Joan Schweighardt’s historical novel, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. Brunhild is a valkyria who lost her family when she was very young and raised herself in the forests near Sapaudia, now know as Savoy, a region in France.
It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Brunhild. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I was not fairly portrayed at all. A valkyria is a very important woman. She must choose who lives and who dies on the battlefield, and then she must lead the dead to the afterlife. In addition most valkyrias share a knowledge of rune-wisdom, and as such they can alter events even off the battlefield. The author, however, left it up to the reader to decide whether or not my professed powers were real, and this in spite of the fact that many of the other people in the book were convinced my powers were real and lived in awe—if not in fear—of me.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
She did describe my unfathomable beauty, I’ll give her that. And I don’t just mean my physical beauty, which I possess in good measure. Knowing so much about death, I was able to live more fully than other people, especially other women, of my times. I loved to laugh, to eat, to drink… I cherished nature, my truest parent. I did not care for domestic chores and I did not engage in them. I think she saw all that in me and related it well.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
Even though the author seemed not to fully believe in the power of my rune-knowledge, I can tell you that it was real and it enabled me to survive on my own from childhood. I knew what would happen before it happened, and thus I avoided danger. I knew instinctively, even from the age of three years, what I could eat to keep myself alive and what would poison me. Sometimes, when I chose to, I used my rune-knowledge on behalf of other people.
When, in spite of my runes, I could not get what I wanted on my own terms, I agreed to concessions. These concessions led not only to my downfall but to the downfall of all that I loved most in the world.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Perhaps Gemma Ward.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Ah, my beloved Sigurd. If not for Sigurd I would not have appeared in the book.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
Given my rune-wisdom, I knew I would there would be losses, but I felt the rewards would justify them.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I would not want to be Gudrun, little mousey woman and trouble maker that she was. Gudrun went and married Sigurd, even though she knew very well what had transpired between us. Everything bad that happened thereafter was really her fault.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Ha! I can’t believe you would even ask such a question! Let us just say, I did not care for the ending at all.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
I would refuse to be in the book if she continued to insist that I marry Gunner, Gudrun’s brother, so that I could be near Sigurd. That didn’t work out at all.
Thank you for this interview, Brunhild. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Of course, when The Last Wife of Attila the Hun film comes out!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun
Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction with a Legendary Component
Author: Joan Schweighardt
Publisher: Five Directions Press
Purchase on Amazon
Two threads are woven together in The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second thread reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan Schweighardt is the author of several novels. In addition to her own projects, she writes, ghostwrites and edits for private and corporate clients.