Interesting Articles, The Northumbrian Saga, Writing updates

Blog Hop: Meet my main character

Edoardo Albert at the London Book Fair 2014 (Source:
Edoardo Albert at the London Book Fair 2014 (Source:

This week I am involved in another blog tour, this time looking at the main character of my novel. I was invited to join by Edoardo Albert, author of many fiction and non-fiction books including “Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom” which was co-written with Paul Gething, “Professor Tolkien of Oxford”, “Call to Prayer: The Story of Bilal”, “Imam Al-Ghazali: A concise Life”, and “Ibn Sina: A concise Life”. His latest project includes The Northumbrian Thrones series following the rise and fall of Northumbrian superiority in the 8th century. For more information on Edwin: High King of Britain, follow the link to Edoardo’s post in the Blog hop.


The Northumbrian Saga by A H Gray
The Northumbrian Saga by A H Gray

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historical figure/person?
The main character for The Northumbrian Saga is Aethelwin, a young girl living in the 9th century. She is the fictional niece of King Osbert and King Aelle, historical figures who each ruled over the Kingdom of Northumbria before the Viking invasions.

2) When and where is the story set?
Most of the novel is set in 9th century York in northern England, between 866 and 875AD. However, the tale starts off in the fictional estate of Gedbury (which I have set near Jedburgh in modern day Scotland, a location that was within Northumbria at the time) as well as the fictional village of Shepworth (near Ripon in Yorkshire). The novel spans the life of Aethelwin from a young girl of 13 til 26.

3) What should we know about him/her?
Aethelwin is not your typical heroine, in fact I am not too sure she really is a heroine. She is definitely a flawed character. Brought up in a family where mistresses and bastards are the norm and loyalty to ones king and country is paramount, Aethelwin struggles to keep her new husband loyal not only to her king but to herself. Throw in the Viking invasion of England and you have a young woman who becomes obsessed with ridding her country of the enemy. On one hand I think she is sympathetic as a young women trying to mature and do her best in a violent and chaotic world, but after all the tragedy and betrayal in her life she becomes obsessed with her goal, resulting in the alienation of almost all those who care for her. I really wanted to create a character that was a bit more dynamic than your average ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’ heroine who has a happy ending. I wanted a real character with interesting flaws. In saying that though, I do believe Aethelwin has a happy ending in The Northumbrian Saga, but she also gets an ending that she deserves.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
The main conflict is war. If her uncles weren’t tearing the kingdom of Northumbria apart, Aethelwin may have grown to love her husband (and he her) and they would not have had to betray each other. In a strange twist of fate the Viking invasion actually saved Aethelwin’s life, but then her hatred of these vicious conquerors ruling over her people and the desire to restore the kingdom to her people drives her into further conflict and chaos. ‘Any means for a victorious end’ really would be her mantra at times.
War and conflict turns her world upside down but her own decisions and goals also create conflict. At times she really is her own worst enemy.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Everything Aethelwin does is so that she can fulfill her role as a “peace weaver”. Men fought and died for their king and country, women were used as the diplomatic ties that bound families together and influenced their husbands to ally with their own family’s political ties. When Aethelwin fails to do this, not only losing her husband but almost everyone in her family (including her uncles, the king’s of Northumbria), she hopes to redeem herself from what she sees as a personal failure by freeing her country from enemy rule.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
The novel is called The Northumbrian Saga, the first in what will hopefully be a series. It is available now on most online eBook retailers. I also have a number of posts about the people, places and customs of this time period and more info on the series on this website. The first four chapters are also available for free to read on Wattpad or if you are a more visual person I am on Pinterest with boards on most aspects of Anglo-Saxon and Viking history and a board dedicated to the characters in the TNS series.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

The Northumbrian Saga is out now. Direct link to can be found here, or for other links to Amazon, Kobo, B&N etc follow this link here for the complete list. I am always thankful for honest and constructive reviews so please feel free to leave one with the outlet you use or I am also on Goodreads.


For more Author’s and the wonderful character’s that they create, check out the following:


Nick Smith

Nick Smith

Nick is a twenty-eight year old Northumbrian in exile, currently living on a small rock in the Channel Sea where he teaches science. He has a love for all things of a nautical and historical nature. He is the author of gritty swashbuckling adventures Rogues Nest and the soon to be released Gentlemen of Fortune – a realistic look at buccaneers and pirates at the start of the 1700s.



Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy is writing a series of novels set in seventh century Northumbria. In his day job he is a manager of fifteen technical writers, so spends all day writing and editing, just not the words he’s most interested in! Prior to that he worked in Spain as an English teacher and translator. He has co-authored seven published academic articles, ranging in topic from the ecological impact of mining to the construction of a marble pipe organ. When not writing, or spending time with his family, Matthew sings in a rock band (




Peter Whitaker

Peter Whitaker

Peter Whitaker is the author of The War Wolf, the first in The Sorrow Song Trilogy. The trilogy is set in the fateful year of 1066 when the Anglo-Saxons fought for their freedom and their very survival against Harald Hardrada from Denmark and William of Normandy, the future conqueror and king over a devastated England. When not writing fiction, Peter enjoys living life to the full with his family in Yorkshire.

Website: The Sorrow Song Trilogy



2 thoughts on “Blog Hop: Meet my main character”

  1. Think I shall have to get The Northumbrian Saga; just put it on the to-reads! Might be useful for research for a project I’m thinking about for the future, too. Now, I must have a look at more of your site; I’ve only lived up here for 5 years but am becoming increasingly fascinated by the history of the place. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Terry, I’m glad you are interested in the history of the area. The more I find out the more fascinated I become! A lot of great stories just waiting to be heard! As a side note the other authors also write about the history of Northumbria/northern England or are natives of that area. Some extra reading for your list 🙂

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