Book Review & Interview: Norse Jewel by Gina Conkle


AD 1022…Helena longs for freedom. The Frankish maid wasn’t born a slave but marauding Danes have taken her. She’s desperate to escape their camp. Her savior comes as a fierce Norse chieftain, Hakan, who takes her to the far, icy north.

A powerful warrior who’s lived by the sword…

Hakan wants to lay down his sword and live a peaceful farmer’s life. Betrayal has left him cold to other women, yet his heart thaws to clever Helena. Her tender ways lure him, weaving kindness into his hard life. But, happiness is short lived. Old loyalties and deceit vex the warrior, calling upon his sword arm.

A clash of cultures amidst a kingdom in transition…

War erupts…a kingdom’s in the balance. Can Hakan defend his homeland and keep the woman he loves?

About the Author:

Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer.  Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations.  Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll.  When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.

Website & Blog & Newsletter Sign Up:

Twitter: @ginaconkle

FB: Gina Conkle, Writer

Pinterest: Gina Conkle

Interview with Gina:

Tell us about your publishing journey.

I started writing Norse Jewel about 10 years ago.  I finished it, revised the manuscript many times, and moved onto writing stories set in other eras. However, 2012 was my turning point.  A major question that year: Will writing be a hobby or a profession?

Other factors in 2012 were my husband quit his job and started his own business.  Should I get a job or write full time?  Brian, mu husband, really believed in me and encouraged writing. So, I gave writing a lot of focus, signed with an agent, and through that partnership sold 5 books to 2 publishers.  Norse Jewel published in June.

Who is your favorite authors and why?

I  love Josie Litton and Kathleen Woodiwiss.  Josie Litton’s Viking trilogy has been read and re-read over and over again.  She creates wonderful, nuanced characters and has a lyrical writing style.  My other top favorite is The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss.  She wrote sweeping stories and really puts you in the historical times.

 What was the last book you read?

 English Canals Explained by Stan Yorke (actually I’m still in it)

 What advice would you give to inspiring writers?

There are three things:

1)     Get on social media now.  Start a website, get on twitter, and/or facebook as a writer.  If that overwhelms you, go slow and add something every few months.  To communicate effectively in social media, I think it’s important to figure out why you write, who you are as a writer.  Take those elements and that’s the core of what you’re communicating about on social media.

2)     Ask yourself the same question posed to me: Is writing your hobby or your profession?

3)     Find ways to hone your craft.  Go to conferences. If conferences are too expensive, try online classes.  A great one for me is

What made you pick the genre you write in?

I’m a history nerd.  We did take a trip to Sweden in 1999, and that has some influence.

 Which of your characters in Norse Jewel is most like you?

 Most likely Helena. I identify with the quiet girl who has inner strength.

 Which character would you not like to meet in a dark alley?

Gorm.  Bitterness and egotism have simmered deep inside him for so long that he’s almost amoral.

What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Being a new writer, I’d say finding balance between promo/PR duties with writing. I’m trying to figure that all out and am facing such a learning curve.

Norse Jewel is a historical romance – if you had a time machine which era would you visit and why?

Actually I’d love to visit late Dark Ages Colmar, France (a small township on the French border with Switzerland).  I’ve visited there once and loved it.  Colmar was founded in the 9th century and is beautiful.

 My Review:

A few years ago I discovered that I was descended from Vikings, on my mother’s side – so I have a real soft spot for any novel set in this time period. And even if I hadn’t, I still would have really enjoyed Norse Jewel. Well written believable characters and a love story that developed, rather than was just hammered in quickly. It really felt like you were on the same romantic ride as the characters of Hakan and Helena. I’m not a historian, but it also felt very authentic and that a lot of research went into the Norse way of life.

From a writer’s perspective I really couldn’t fault the delivery. No massive info dumps and no points that needed editing with a broad sword. It flowed perfectly and never left me feeling lost or abandoned along the way.

Now, just look at that front cover…need I say more? Okay, little more! Simple, beautiful and attractive – what more could a romance book cover need. Whoever does the artwork at Entangled should be patted on the back for not over-killing the Viking theme (it could easily have been done!) and designing a front cover that makes women collectively sigh everywhere.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there really isn’t enough romance in the world so a book like the Norse Jewel is truly a gift from Freyja (Norse Goddess of love) I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars and thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who feels that modern life has sucked all the romance out of this world. Gina Conkle is a talented writer and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Buy Norse Jewel

Norse Jewel Banner 450 x 169 (2)


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