Interview & Giveaway: Forged by Iron by Eric Schumacher

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I have Eric Schumacher stopping by to chat with us! Eric's blog tour for his new book Forged in Iron kicks off today!

Hello Eric and Happy Pub Day! Thanks so much for stopping by Passages to the Past today to talk about your new novel, Forged by Iron!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Thanks for having me!

A little about me…hmmm…I suppose you could say I live in the space between the medieval past and the not-so-distant future. By day, I am a PR professional that focuses on futuristic technology products like virtual reality. By night, I wander into the past, using known history and fiction to create stories about people living in turbulent times, especially during the Viking Age.

People often ask me why the Vikings, and the truth is, I have no idea. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, hardly the epicenter of medieval history and Viking lore. Yet even from the earliest age, I can remember devouring books about Norsemen and Anglo-Saxons and Tolkien's Middle Earth. What drew me to those things in the first place? I have no idea.

What inspired you to write Forged by Iron?

I just completed a trilogy called Hakon’s Saga about King Hakon Haraldsson (known to history as Hakon the Good). I wanted to stick to the rough timeframe and focus on a character –– another Viking king –– who is known to the history books, but who does not appear in much fiction. That’s what led me to Olaf Tryggvason. Depending on what you read or who you ask, you will find differing opinions of him as a man. But love him or hate him, his entire life is one long adventure. I thought it would be fascinating to tell his tale.

Olaf’s life begins with a journey into the belly of the beast. To me, it is reminiscent of stories like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Only Olaf and the narrator of the book, his friend Torgil, are not in pursuit of something –– they are fleeing from something. With each step, they move toward something darker and more sinister. My ultimate goal was not to tell a dark tale, but to tell a tale of triumph over darkness and how darkness can change a person, i.e. forge them into something. That idea was both exciting and challenging to bring to life.

What research did you undertake when writing Forged by Iron?

As Olaf lived at roughly the same time as the protagonist in Hakon’s Saga, much of the general societal research had already been done. Still, I spent about a year digging into Olaf, his life and the people who surrounded him. Much of what is written about him was written generations after he lived, and primarily by monks who painted him in a positive light because he converted Norway to Christianity. If you believe the monks, he is a god incarnate. But I believe his character is more complex and it was that complexity that I wanted to explore.

What would you like readers to take away from reading Forged by Iron?

Most of all, enjoyment. I love great stories and great characters wrapped in fascinating time periods. My hope is that I can bring that same level of enjoyment to my readers.

What was your favorite scene to write?

If I have to pick just one scene as my favorite, I would say it was the opening scene. In it, I wanted to set the tone for the book and introduce the main characters, but do so through some action. It was fun to think of that scene and to unveil my characters through it.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The most difficult scene or scenes happen later in the book. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that I put my characters through a lot of strife and anguish. Those were important scenes to write to show the depth of my characters’ grit, but they were not easy scenes to write.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Not until I was in business school and studying for an exam. I was in a park, reading under a tree, and trying to concentrate on the textbook in my hand. Right then, I thought, “I should have been a writer.” That was twenty-four years ago, and as you can see from my first response, I am still trying to figure out how to do it full time. Funny enough, I used to come home from school and write stories, but I never thought of it as a career path. I should have paid more attention to my passions then! Lesson learned.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Oh, I wish I had a daily routine, but with a day job and two kids, a writing routine is wishful thinking for me. I do write on Sunday afternoons and several nights a week, but I try not to stick too stringently to a routine. I’ve learned that it’s better for me to keep it loose than to stick to a schedule and get frustrated when it doesn’t pan out as planned.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

My greatest challenges are on the business side of writing and figuring out how and when to make this a full-time endeavor. I wrestle with those questions much more than I wrestle with the actual writing process.

What was the first historical novel you read?

The very first historical novel I remember reading was called Helmet for My Pillow, by Robert Leckie, which is a personal narrative of a Marine in World War II. Highly recommended.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The last historical novel I read was Antonius: Son of Rome, by Brook Allen. I do not normally pick up books about Rome, but I loved it and look forward to her next novel.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

Oh, man. I could go on and on about this topic. I suppose, at the highest level, what appeals most is imagining myself in a place and time that existed and resurrecting that for readers. In history class, I always wanted to know more than just the dates and the names and locations of people and events. I wanted to know what it was like to be there ¬¬–– how it smelled, how it sounded, what the commander looked like or acted like. Those are the things I want to share with my readers. I want to transport them, mainly because I love being transported myself.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am deep into the writing of book number two in Olaf’s tale. It takes place in what is today Ukraine and what was then the Kievan Rus’ kingdom. It’s a fascinating time in that area and I am enjoying the research and the writing immensely!

Forged by Iron by Eric Schumacher

Publication Date: April 15, 2020
Legionary - A Next Chapter Imprint

Series: Olaf's Saga, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction

From the bestselling author of Hakon’s Saga comes Forged by Iron, the first in a series of thrilling tales about Olaf Tryggvason, one of the most legendary and enigmatic kings of the Viking Age.

Norway, AD 960. The fabric that has held the Northern realm together is tearing. The sons of Erik Bloodaxe have returned and are systematically killing all opposition to the High Seat. Through treachery, Harald Eriksson slays Jarl Trygvi, an heir to the throne, and then he comes for Trygvi’s wife, Astrid, and son, Olaf.

Astrid and Olaf flee their home with the help of Astrid’s foster father, Torolv Loose-beard, and his son, Torgil, who are oath-sworn to protect them. The group escapes east, through the dark, forested land of the Swedes and across the treacherous East Sea, all the while evading the clutches of Harald’s brutal henchmen.

But the gods are fickle and the group is torn apart, leaving them to fend for themselves in Forged by Iron, a must-read for all who enjoy action-packed historical fiction.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Eric Schumacher (1968 - ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God's Hammer, was published in 2005.

To date, Schumacher has published three novels, collectively known as Hakon’s Saga, and one novella. More information about him and his books can be found on his website. You can also connect with Schumacher on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and AuthorsDB.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 20
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Wednesday, April 22
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, April 23
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, April 26
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, April 28
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, April 29
Feature at I'm All About Books
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, April 30
Guest Post at Historical Graffiti

Friday, May 1
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, May 4
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 8
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, May 10
Review at Journey in Bookland


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Forged by Iron! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Forged by Iron

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