Friday, April 18, 2008

The reason for the dedication -- Michelle Styles

May marks the official US publication of Taken by the Viking. This means the books are put out on the shelves about now...May is also my sister's birthday month and the book is dedicated to her. When I wrote the dedication, I had no idea that the book would be out in the US at this time so I am very pleased as then she gets to see it on the shelves. Even though I have lived in the UK for nearly 20 years, my family lives in the US and so they tend to be pleased when my books are out there.
Whenever I read a book, I always read the dedication and wonder why. Or what is the reasoning behind that. Sometimes, it is obvious, sometimes less so, but I thought I would share a bit of the why behind the dedication -- to my sister Kate, med elske
The reason for the dedication is that my six years younger sister speaks Norwegian and has a special place in her heart for that country.
Basically I went to Girl Scout Camp and loved the experience of being out under the stars, cooking over camp fires, hiking etc. My sister was less than keen on the prospect. By the time my sister was old enough to go to camp, my mother had discovered Concordia Language Villages. My maternal grandfather was half Swedish and half Norwegian. My sister chose the Norwegian camp over the Swedish one because a flashlight was not required. Anyway, she loved the total immersion and subsequently ended up going to the University of Oslo for her degree. When she returned to the US, she became active in the Daughters of Norway. My eldest niece is going away to the Norwegian village for the first time this year.
In fairness, as the years have rolled along, my sister has come to appreciate the joys of camping and is now also very active in Girl Scouts and regularly takes her troop camping. She informs me that she does own several flashlights and can cook over a campfire...
Anyway, when I told her that I was going to write about Vikings, she explained how disappointed she was with most of the portrayals of Vikings. We had several long chats on the subject. She explained her point of view on the Viking era and suggested background reading material, including the Icelandic sagas.
When I finished the book and was asked to supply the dedication and the Dear reader letter, I had a problem. I wanted to say something Norwegian for the dedication, but also I did not want my sister to know. Luckily my sister had given my eldest a copy of Ole Brum (the Norwegian version of Winnie the Pooh) and had written something in Norwegian when he was a baby. I was able to lift the med elske -- with love -- from that. And thus, she had no idea about the dedication until I sent her a hardback copy last year.
Luckily she liked the book.
You can read an excerpt here.
So that is the reason behind this particular dedication. Does anyone else wonder about dedications?
My contest this month is for a signed copy of Taken by the Viking. It is the US version as I love the inside cover and I also think the colours on the cover are warmer. To enter please send an email with Totebag contest in the title to me with the answer to the following question: what is the name of the heroine of Taken by the Viking? I will draw the winner on 25 April.

UPDATE: CHERYL C has been drawn out of the hat. I have sent an email and the book will be on its ways to her shortly. Many thanks all who entered.


Gigi said...

I can understand the dedications to husbands and children. Having to do without having their mother and wife at their beck and call during the deadline crisis I hear so many writer talk about.

I usually think that most dedications are to honor someone that inspired the author or helped them at some point in their life or career.

Estella said...

I also read the dedications and wonder whey the book is dedicated to these persons.

Pat Cochran said...

How nice of you to dedicate your book
to your sister - she must have really
been surprised!
Thanks for blogging with us today!

Pat Cochran

Michelle Styles said...

Oh good, I am pleased that I am not the only one to read dedications and wonder -- why this particular book.

And yes my sister was very pleased.

Donna Alward said...

Sisters are special. My second book was dedicated to my eldest sister. She was the one that gave me the kick in the pants to write in the first place.

One of my favourite things is to come up with my dedications. Yours is lovely, Michelle.

Cheri2628 said...

I just read the excerpt for "Taken by the Viking" and it definitely made me wish for more. It sounds like it's going to be a great story!