Just over two years ago, I was – to put it plainly – shitting myself. It was January 2011, and the novel I needed to write, the historical novel that was to be the creative component of my PhD, could no longer be avoided. The problem was, I had no idea how to write a book.
I first heard the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir when I was an exchange student in the north of Iceland. It was 2002, I was 17 years old, and I had left Adelaide for Sauðárkrókur an isolated fishing village, where I would live for 12 months. This small town lies snug in the side of a fjord: a clutch of little buildings facing an iron-grey sea, the mountains looming behind.