Q1: If you could invite any mythological character to dinner who would it be and why him/her?
It would have to be Loki.
He’s just so deliciously ambiguous that it would be truly irresistible to get to know him as a person. Throughout the poetic Edda he is constantly getting the gods in and out of trouble with his schemes and ideas.
Q2: What is the best thing you ever did on a Viking re-enactment?
The kind of re-enactment I do is living history which involves a huge amount of homework because I am demonstrating to the public and have to be able to explain what I am doing and why. I have also had to learn a craft (in my case a working knowledge of 9th century textiles techniques: spinning, nalbinding and tablet weaving and more to go). I have also developed a three-dimensional character and backstory based on my chosen era and region: 9th century Iceland.
The steepest curve, but by far the most fun has been the combat skills. While I am not the greatest on the battlefield – I die a lot – the weapons training has helped me develop a bond with a truly great bunch of people. It takes trust an communication in order to do what we do an make it look good for a live audience. This is where I learned the hard way that it is a bad idea to hold a shield at chin level and charge an opponent who has seen you coming and had time to brace. That said, shield walls are fabulous for de-stressing: there is nothing like hitting something hard with an axe to burn off angst.
Q3: Mead or ale and why?
Or? What is this ‘or’?
When not swinging her axe at Viking re-enactment, A.H. Johnstone is busy experiencing silent dismay over the lack of honest pillaging in the world. She would dearly like to see an end to poverty and abuse and has wielded her fundraising axe in support of ‘Responsible Charity’ several times. It is her fond hope that education will become free for all as the opportunities for Viking raids are slim and don’t offer much of a career choice for modern school leavers. Her first book Charon Unguarded is out tomorrow. You can read an extract here. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, her website and Goodreads.