In The Footsteps of Characters

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of going through edits for my upcoming YA novel Fjord Blue, which will be published in November. I did the edits while on holiday, and I was far more relaxed going through the edits this time compared to when I nervously went through them on my debut book.

One thing I did right before attacking the edits, was to literally walk in the footsteps of my characters. In my upcoming book, I have the characters embark on a hiking trip to a now quite world famous destination in Norway called Trolltunga. To make it more difficult for my characters, I made sure they didn’t take the traditional footpath –  a 10-hour round trip on foot – but the more strenuous route that includes a guide and an airy climb up a via ferrata (iron steps bolted into the steep sides of a mountain).

My thinking was pretty much this: if my fictional characters manage to climb a wall, of course I can do the same! That I’m scared of heights and have never climbed before? That I’m not quite as strong or muscular as I was a decade ago? Pfft. Unimportant details. How hard could it really be?

I lured my husband into my scheme, and signed us up for the exact same tour as my characters. Great way to find out if my research while writing was spot on, right? The 8-strong group consisted of people generally a decade or so younger than me, but a 70-year-old guy had also signed up, so before we started I felt very confident. Turned out he was an old climber, though… Oops.

But as I discovered, my research was definitely spot on, and it was uncanny how I at one point had an ‘incident’ during the climb that was similar to that of one of my characters. Nevertheless, the height wasn’t as much of a challenge as anticipated, and 90% of the climb was an adrenaline-inducing delight that boosted my sense of accomplishment. The trip was every bit as spectacular as I hoped, and I felt strong, brave, and got all the feels (including muscles that ached so bad I could hardly walk the next day). Highly recommended!
Here’s my moment of triumph – the highlight of the climb and hike:

(Yes, that’s me on the left, clutching to the husband, who didn’t want to sit down and dangle his legs over the edge either, like most people do…)

If any of my future characters ever decide to go parachuting, or venture into similar crazy activities, I can definitely say that I’m not going to walk in any more nerve-racking fictional footsteps for the sake of research. I have my limits!