Local business owner Michelle Forbes has a passion for viking history, as many may know from the Kimberley Medieval Festival festival that the Kimberley City Bakery has hosted for the past four years.
Forbes has turned her passion into a book with the official release of Viking Lullaby, a bed-time story for children and families of all ages. The book launch will take place on Friday, Sept. 21 at 3:30p.m. at the Kimberley Public Library. There will be a reading and book signing.
Although Forbes has written many songs, essays and other works in the past, this will be her first published book. Forbes is an English major and took creative writing at university. She has been studying and writing for many years, and also worked as an elementary music teacher.
“I worked with music and children for many years, figuring out the best way to teach rhythms and rhymes,” she said. “I took my education and passions and put them together to create this book.”
She adds that her kids are part of the inspiration behind the book.
“After the first Medieval Festival, my kids wanted to hear all kinds of viking stories,” said Forbes. “I quickly realized that there aren’t a lot of fictional picture books on vikings. The genre just doesn’t really exist.”
She says that although there are many non-fiction books and re-tellings of myths, her Viking Lullaby is one of a kind. The book is a bed-time story and a lullaby you can sing to your children. She has included both the melody and guitar chords in the back of the book.
This is the first of many potential books, says Forbes, that will feature similar story-lines set in viking time, based on viking history and mythology.
“I wanted to give a different view of what viking life was like,” Forbes said. “I’ve likened it to Robin Hood, where in some form the stories did happen. I’ve studied both angles of viking culture, the history and mythology, to provide more of an understanding of what life was like at that time. It’s a better historical basis to create fictional stories from.”
The illustrations, by Amanda Postey, also help to portray a less clichéd version of vikings. Some many recognize Postey as she a viking re-enactor (Soleil) who has attended many of the Medieval Festivals here in Kimberley.
“My 11 year old and my four year old both enjoy the story and the pictures just as much, and in different ways,” Forbes explained. “The words are meant to be lyrical, they are really nice to follow, and the pictures – the illustrator – she is a professional and also a re-enactor, making the images very multifaceted.
“For someone who is just learning about, or completely new to, Norse mythology it’s not too technical. At the same time, for those who have the knowledge, you might find all of these hidden things within the illustrations. There are lots of layers which make it interesting to everyone.”
So far, the reviews have been great, says Forbes, and it seems to be the perfect time to release a book of this kind.
“The reviews from people involved (re-enactors) have been amazing. They are saying, ‘this is what we need right now’. Viking history and re-enactment is becoming more popular, and they are bringing more and more of it to light,” explained Forbes. “For example, archaeologists recently found the grave of a female viking and when they uncovered it they discovered that she was a General. This powerful woman was leading the troops in battle; it wasn’t just the men who were leaders back then.”
The best way to support indie authors is to write a review online, she says. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Viking Lullaby, it is available at the Kimberley City Bakery, Kimberley Public Library, Centex, and Lotus Books in Cranbrook. You can also purchase a copy online through Chapters, Barnes and Noble or Amazon.