Sarah Dahl is the author steamy historical romances, known for their gritty
realism and authenticity to the period in which they are set. She is not afraid to shy away from difficult issues, and if you enjoy the occasional Viking (and you know who you are) then you’ll probably like these. We are catching up with her to chat about her latest release: The Current – A Battle of Seduction
1. Your work seems to focus on unusual things that perhaps you wouldn’t find in other stories, can you tell us a bit more about this?
In my historical fiction I look at ‘normal’ people (as opposed to the often over-used elite and their power plays in other works of historical fiction) and show them in slightly unusual situations, which in my sensual works often turn into something sensual, steamy even. I’m interested in this often overlooked side of human lives: their passions, dreams, the force of seduction, this game between man and woman (and sometimes other constellations, as you will see in the upcoming “Monk” ;-)). So what makes my stories different is not the Viking-ness as such, but that I ignore the elite and their power plays; I’m not interested in politics and intrigues, but simpler people’s lives. I zoom in on the more common encounters, and what these characters yearn for. So that is the difference to many Viking historical fiction books, which often focus on intrigue and battle. I’m interested in the smaller worlds, not the rulers and their big worlds 😉
The other thing that I hope is different genre-wise in my stories is that I try to steer clear of a language that screams “erotica”. I don’t see my stories as pure erotica, because they are plot-focused and historically authentic, tasteful, and just happen to be sensual, often (not always).
2. What would you say was the common theme in your work?
The common theme in this collection of short stories (of which “The Current” is the first story) is that love and lust can lead to a change of life. There is so much more attached to these moments of carnal desire or sweet seduction. Men and women reveal their desires, their cores, become vulnerable. In the course of the stories, my people change, their perceptions and outlook on life change. They find love, or break free, or feel a more internal change. As J.D. Lexx put it: “Ms. Dahl has a way of making scars sexy and luring out the vulnerability in the invulnerable.”
3. New book? S’that about then?
Every one of my short stories explores one life-changing theme: In “The Current – A Battle of Seduction” it is: The right fight (a sexy one!) can be healing. My warriors use their sexy banter and physical power play to let off steam and recover, to restore the sanity of their minds after the frenzy and madness of real battle:
Marked from the latest battle, Aldaith wants to recover by a stream. But instead of finding solitude, he stumbles on the fearless shield maiden Nyssa. The fierce beauty invites Aldaith into the water to engage in a very different kind of battle — one for which his training leaves him unprepared.
4. Where do you stand on the topic of pet couture?
The Vikings had pets: dogs and cats roamed around their grounds and were vital support troops to fight the common mice and rats and other intruders. When women married, they were often given a cat as pet and to keep the houses free from unwanted little mammals. Dogs were often used for hunting and herding, and they protected the rural farms. So yes, Vikings loved their pets, but I’m not sure the term “couture” is quite accurate if you needed your animals to perform the tasks they were assigned. 😉 But then: We know that the Vikings were the best-groomed people of the era, famous for their washing and combing and general cleanliness…so maybe, maybe their pets received the same degree of grooming at least? It sure wouldn’t surprise me.
5. Describe your ideal sandwich.
My ideal sandwich would be: wedged between two well-groomed, handsome warriors … But seriously: I want my bread to have a crust that crunches. Same goes for men. As long as both aren’t limp and pale, all is good. Add some cheese, cucumber, bacon, and lots of sauce…and I’m happy 😉
6. What is it about Vikings that appeal?
It’s hard to pinpoint what makes the Vikings so appealing to me and so many other people these days…For me it’s that there is so much more behind what we remember today. They were NOT filthy, ruthless warriors. They were well-groomed farmers, or young men seeking honour in battle and by raids. They were NOT interesting in rape and harming people without reason, for that wasn’t honourable and didn’t add to their reputation at home. There are accounts of women running TO the Vikings instead of fleeing them, as they could expect better treatment from these men than most medieval men of the time (stemming from a general respect for the female sex that made even throwing a snowball at a woman a serious offence!). There was no honour gained in violating weaker humans. Plus, they were taller, more muscular and cleaner than the average early medieval guy, as far as I can tell (all that fighting training and rowing!). And their wives had their respect – and power: they controlled the farmstead, could choose exotic professions, and could get a divorce quite easily if the man didn’t perform as expected. So what’s not to like? 🙂
7. Would you grow a beard if you could?
I can totally see myself in a shield wall, so for that purpose a good, thick beard would mean acceptance. And it could help to just once live with a beard to know what I’m talking about when I write about bearded men on a daily basis. But for my everyday female life: Not so much. I’d rather ogle the bearded 😉
Additional note from Sarah:
The first in the collection “Tales of Freya” is “The Current – A Battle of Seduction”. It releases April 24th.
Available as ebook at all major retailers: https://sarah-dahl.com/book/
It is perma-FREE, and kicking off the series of sensual short stories set in the Viking age.
There’ll be a new story every two months, and I recommend hopping aboard my dragonboat here: https://mailing.sarah-dahl.
com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=2 – be the first to hear about new stories and take part in awesome Viking giveaways!
My blog (not only about Vikings and/or writing!): https://sarah-dahl.com/blog-