BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

A lively discussion of ancient and modern Pagan literature -- including children's books, graphic novels, science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries -- along with interviews, author highlights, and profiles of Pagan publishers.

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Author Interview: Warwick Hill

[Today, we sit down for a quick interview with Australian author, Warwick Hill. A follower of Fjorn Sid, Hill discusses how his spirituality influences his writing; his medieval novel, Pagan Child; and his upcoming projects.]  

BookMusings: How would you describe your personal spiritual path? Are you eclectic or part of a particular tradition?


Warwick Hill: Fjorn Sid, or the Old Path, was revealed to me as a sixteen year-old. I had gravitated to some alternative book shops here in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. And while exploring these bookshops, which my two very Blue-ribbon Christian parents would have not like, I was introduced to a man who would become (and still is) my greatest mentor. Harold is not only a teacher, but one of my closest friends.

Fjorn Sid, put simply, is the path of the Pre-Christian Scandinavians: nature, the Old Gods and Goddesses, and Runes. (My mother’s family Hoy are an old Orkney family. I am just four generations removed from being a hybrid of Norse/Scot.) Woven so gently into that are the Sagas of the Old Norse. The path was so natural, it allowed me to be an individual, while belonging to a greater community. Runes became a way of breathing my faith, and as a child I was forever out doing something in the bush, on the beach, anywhere but inside. It guides my daily life, it completes me, but it never seems to put me in conflict within. I can go about my life, and, but for those who know the signs that I follow a different path, most people have no idea. I do not find the need to beat a drum, shout, or demand that people follow my faith, I allow the world to pass me gently, and simply believe, and breath my faith. 

BookMusings: How does your spirituality influence your writing?


Warwick Hill: I love the chance to express a different take on life. I love giving my soul the freedom to draw people into a different thought process, so inviting them to see my faith in a different light excites me. There is good and bad in all faiths, but sadly the classical Victorian-Christian, romantic Arthurian tradition of depicting ‘Pagans’ still alludes to our darker side, not to the honest reality that I believe most would embrace given a chance. I want young Pagans to have heroes, to see them for the flawed humans they are: the contradictions, the passion, the loves, and equally the hatred some find just under the skin. My characters are, I hope, human in every regard. But I also want my readers to see the majesty that exists within even the most complex of characters.   




BookMusings: Your novel Pagan Child is set in 14th century Europe. First, why set a novel in that time and place?


Warwick Hill: I have for many years been an avid re-enactor (a total of forty-five years), loving both the Viking Period, and the 14th century. The 14th century intrigues me. So much is written about England, so little about Scandinavia. Currently, I use a 14th century Danish persona, within my group, Order of St. Knud. In fact, my main character is created from that passion. Many of my characters are inspired by real people in my life, many of whom share my faith, while others share my passion for re-enacting.

I love Scandinavia. The great loves of my life live in Norway. The real Freya, and the real Erik, just to name two.

That, and I could never find a really good novel set anywhere in Denmark, Norway, or any of the Baltic countries.


BookMusings: Were you surrounded by mountains of books, or did you do a lot of research online?


Warwick Hill: I am a book hoarder. I cry when I have to give up a book. I collect antiquarian books. I have nearly five hundred reference books, not only on history, but on plants, nature, and forgotten skills.

Initially, I did a lot of internet-based research. But as I discovered good reference books, I purchased them so I could hoard the knowledge I desired.

Adding to that, an amazing friend, Cheryl Ryan did extensive research on my finds to validate their legitimacy. When I used real facts, Cheryl would check multiple sites to confirm accuracy. Two friends overseas are also qualified historians and archaeologists. Both men helped confirm some intriguing facts. 

BookMusings: If you wanted people to know one thing about the Baltic Crusades — or the conversion of Europe in general — what would it be?


Warwick Hill: In the case of the Teutonic Crusade in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Estonia, “The sword was used to convert, and the Flame was used to purify.” Put simply, convert at the tip of a sword, or burn the heretics, alive. The Grandmasters of the Teutonic Order were ruthless, and in many cases, almost insane in their obsession to conquer. The Teutonic Order had a very nasty history in the Eastern European countries they had previously held. Corruption, cruelty, lying, and the enslavement of local inhabitants in those regions even led to the Papacy distrusting them, and their obedience to God. Less than a generation before their crusade in the Baltic, they were violently expelled from Eastern Europe, and not even the Papacy rebuked those who threw them out. 

BookMusings: Where can readers find your books?


Warwick Hill: My novels are available via Amazon

BookMusings: Which book fairs, conventions, or other events will you be attending in the foreseeable future?


Warwick Hill: Sadly, being based in Australia, bookfairs and conventions are not something I can attend at the moment. I do annually attend the largest Medieval Fayre and Tournament in the Southern hemisphere, at the Abbey of St Michael, here in Queensland Australia every July. This is an event with which I have a very long history -- no, love affair with. Thirty years ago this July, along with several friends, I attended a Saturday afternoon Medieval Market and my love affair began.

Anyone interested in what I am doing can follow me via Facebook on my author page and my re-enactment group's page, Order of St Knud.   



BookMusings: What other projects are you working on?


Warwick Hill: My latest project, Egric, is soon to be published. This will be a completely new series, a supernatural thriller based in Saxon England. When it hits the ground, my publisher Larisa [at Saga Press] and I are going to partner in a children’s book.

Along with that, I have completed two more sequel novels to Pagan Child. Both will need to be edited.

I have an idea for a more contemporary supernatural young adult novel. I have a whiteboard covered with scribbles. And I have an amazing life as a Sustainable Environmentalist and educator. There is Medieval-style Longbow Archery every weekend, mead making, my community work. But above all, I have the people I love, those who inspire me, and those who challenge me to do better.   




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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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