Mytholmroyd author brings local team together for new 'Vikings in Yorkshire' novel cover shoot
Mytholmroyd-based historical fiction author Gina Dale’s latest novel is about the Vikings in Yorkshire during the late 9th and early 10th centuries.
The book’s cover is a result of a collaboration between several West Yorkshire businesses who all came together, under Gina’s creative direction, to transform Todmorden-based Ben Glynn into a majestic Viking warrior upon his noble steed – despite Ben being a novice horse rider.
Gina Dale said: “My first novel trilogy was about the life of a celebrated 19th century artist and there were plenty of pictures to choose from for cover shots.
"After discussions with my cover with Jenny Quinlan at Historical Editorial in Virginia, USA – the only non-West Yorkshire-based part of the team - we agreed that for Viking Wolf I needed to create some new imagery and I relished the challenge of creating a ‘real life’ Viking to be photographed, rather than an illustration or purchased image.
"Of course, there was the added challenge of arranging this in 2020 and ensuring everything was within COVID restrictions, just to make things even more interesting.”
Gina commissioned photographer Katie Amos, of Equine Shoot in Todmorden, as they had worked together on a number of projects and knew each other through the local equestrian community.
It was Katie who recommended Ben Glynn, who is 28 and works as an outdoor activities instructor at Dobroyd Castle in Todmorden, to be the star of the shoot.
Gina sourced a Viking costume and commissioned Kaye Volante from Zeitgeist salon in Hebden Bridge to do the hair styling as she had experience in dressing hair for special occasions and enjoyed the challenge of recreating a Viking warrior style for Ben. Gina also went to Ryburn Leather, a saddlery in Sowerby Bridge, for a specially-made bridle.
The horse, Sorrento, was local too - belonging to a friend of Katie’s and stabled at Shaw Farm Equestrian Centre.
The photo shoot took place in early November 2020, so the weather made things even more challenging – but with another lockdown looming on the horizon, and costume hire and slots at the equestrian centre already booked, the shoot had to go ahead.
Gina Dale added: “The weekend before the shoot there was heavy rain, so Katie and I had already planned to take Ben up on to the moors at Mankinholes after the shoot at Shaw Farm to take photos of him on his own. As a novice rider, there was no way we could risk him on horseback outdoors. I was worried about how Sorrento would react with all the costume changes and keeping still for the shots, but to his eternal credit he was an absolute star.
"He took everything in his stride like a true professional and we managed to get all the indoor shots done in an hour, giving us time to head up to the moors.
“From over 400 photos I whittled it down to 30 shots to use for the book cover and promotions - my original aim was to have the horse and rider on this cover, but the pictures of Ben taken on the moors with the atmospheric wind and rain gave me plenty of scope for the next book’s cover as well.”
Ben Glynn said: “I was surprised and very pleased to be approached to do this photo shoot – I’ve never done anything like this before but I’m really open minded about trying new experiences and it sounded like an exciting thing to do. As part of my job as an outdoor activities instructor I get involved in lots of pursuits, but I’ve only ridden a horse a few times so this was a great challenge too.
“Gina, Katie and Kaye were a great team to work with – very supportive but also really clear on what they needed me to do to get the right images. I loved being part of this team and my friends and family have found it quite amusing that I’m now immortalised as a Viking on a book cover – with potentially more features to come.”
Viking Wolf is available now.