How to create a Viking ...!
David MacPhail and Richard Morgan have kindly contributed this weeks’ blog and reveal to us more about the book, story inspiration and character of Velda the Awesomest Viking … published by Floris Books.
I hope that, like me, you will be dashing to a bookshop or a shelf near you to grab a copy so that you too can enjoy this first of many promising adventures knowing a little more about where it all started …
Can you tell us a bit about Velda?
David MacPhail: Velda started off as a character in another book series that I write and Richard illustrates, Thorfinn the Nicest Viking. Thorfinn is the world’s most polite Viking - baking scones, making tea and helping old people across the street. He’s the absolute opposite of what a Viking should be. The conflict between him and the rest of the Vikings is often what drives the story along. Velda is Thorfinn’s best pal and action-girl sidekick. Richard captured Velda brilliantly from his very first drawing.
Richard Morgan: I had been drawing Velda for years and seen her grow into the amazing rough and tumble little Viking we see today. Velda is such a strong character in the Thorfinn stories, that it was easier to create her new look for her first book. A few well-placed accessories on her outfit and by Odin, I had it!
Where did you find the inspiration for Velda?
I started to write about Thorfinn because I wanted to show kids how great it was to be nice and polite, to say please and thank you and to help others. However, in my many years touring schools and festivals with Thorfinn, I began to realise something. Being nice and polite isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to have a voice. And - hey ho – my eureka moment - that voice was Velda!
Velda is quite small, but she doesn’t act small. Velda is a girl in a man’s Viking world, a girl who is determined to be a Viking, to be both. And she often out-Vikings them all. She’s the perfect character to carry that message.
RM: The biggest influences in my illustrations are my daughters who are the awesomest people I know, I like to think they have a little bit of Velda courage and strength in them, luckily they have never wanted an axe, but do love the occasional ferry crossing and skateboard adventure.
What’s next for Velda the Awesomest Viking?
RM: My partnership with David has, is, will always be a joy and it’s great fun bringing his books to life. I’m excited for lots more monster butt-kicking adventures with Velda.
It’s great fun adding new accessories with each new story, maybe some fancy yet terrifying new hairstyles. However, I think the only make-up Velda will ever wear is Raiding Party face paint: to put the gajeebies into the Scots as she somersaults off the deck of her long ship and runs straight into the next adventure.
DM: In melding a crew together on her first quest, Velda discovers an ability to bring out hidden talents among her crewmates, and hidden flaws among her enemies. Richard and I are already working on her next adventure, and we hope there are plenty more to follow.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been of the view that a girl with an axe is much more interesting than a princess.