The Story Behind Vinland Viking: An Original Saga by Gary L. Doman

The novella Vinland Viking is an epic fantasy-adventure, set at the time of the conversion to Christianity of Iceland and Greenland, about a young Northman who longs to lead the storied life of the pagan Vikings. His opportunity comes with Leif Ericsson’s exploration in North America, but his fortunes change in a way and by a means that he could never have anticipated, and which will thrill the reader.

The richly-textured narrative incorporates history, nature, and mythology, along with plenty of action. It is told from a Christian viewpoint, but can be enjoyed by a general audience, and, unlike so many other fiction stories, is acceptable reading for the young.

Inspiration for “Vinland Viking: An Original Saga by Gary L. Doman” may have originally come not from books but from films. I’ve always liked motion pictures—not “movies”, please!—in the genres of adventure and fantasy. (In fact, I once considered writing for the screen rather than for the bookshelf, and consequently started to rewrite a work of mine as a screenplay. I quickly abandoned the experiment, however, upon finding it less satisfying than being able to create the world of my characters without the cooperation of actors, a director, et cetera.) All the stories that I’m planning to write are adventures; “Vinland Viking” incorporates a large amount of fantasy as well. More immediate inspiration resulted from the convergence of three things: When the year 2000 came along, people spoke of “the” millennium, which prompted me to explore my imagination as to what kind of story might take place at the end of the first millennium AD; I had interest in the Vikings, but I didn’t want a pagan for a protagonist; and, I noticed the parallels between Norse myth and Christian belief. I can’t say any more, for fear of giving away the plot!
I first tried to get “Vinland Viking” published about a decade ago, when my uncle-in-law, who worked for the AmeriCorps Press, invited me to send him my manuscript. Later he told me that the AmeriCorps Press had decided against publishing any fiction that year, but by then a friend had told me about PublishAmerica, and so I submitted “Vinland Viking” to that firm, who accepted it. It went into print in 2005, but it didn’t get as much publicity as I think it deserves, and consequently, didn’t sell as well as it ought to have. (Granted, I’ll not be completely satisfied until everyone in the world has read it!)
Some time after publication, I came up with a change that I could make to the plot; not a radical change, but one that I wanted to make for the sake of my personal satisfaction. PA, however, wouldn’t let me make the alteration unless I paid them for it. (PublishAmerica is controversial, but I’m not disparaging it. That company got my book into print without subsidy and without my having to first convince an agent to represent me, which would have meant giving him 15 percent of my earnings.) They returned my rights to the book after seven years; by the end of that period, I’d begun to look for other publishing options. An acquaintance told me that electronic publishing is easy. Taking his advice led me to Kindle Direct Publishing, through which “Vinland Viking” was reborn on the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of this millennium. From shortly before PublishAmerica returned my author rights until “VV” made its KDP debut, I actually did what I could (short of violence) to discourage people from buying the print version, telling them that an improved, electronic edition would soon become available.
Gary L. Doman, whose (pen-)surname rhymes with “roman,” the French word for “novel,” was born in Syracuse (New York) and has spent the majority of his life in Connecticut. He has degrees from Fairfield University and the University of Connecticut. He has developed an interest in just about everything, especially history, geography, religion, language, and the natural world. He began writing as a child and has never really stopped, although he does periodically need to eat and sleep, and also devotes considerable time to his other creative and intellectual endeavors; these include his “weblog” the Doman Domain and one of the items of interest found there, namely, “The Best Comic Strip Ever!”.

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