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A Horse Named Viking

local writer publishes young adult fiction

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by Marni Kaldjian photos by Andrea Paulseth

Caroline Akervik drew on her experiences growing up on a horse farm to pen her first book, A Horse Named Viking.
Caroline Akervik drew on her experiences growing up on a horse farm to pen
her first book, A Horse Named Viking.

Eau Claire native Caroline Akervik has crafted a tale of perseverance and unlikely triumph for all ages with her debut young adult novel, A Horse Named Viking. Released April 30 through Melange Books’ young adult imprint “Fire and Ice,” the novel follows an “unforgettable horse, proud, powerful, and vitally alive.” Cover art by Julie Schaller, an art teacher in the Eau Claire Area School District, adds another local element.

Akervik, a media specialist at Lakeshore Elementary, didn’t set out to be an educator. She grew up on a horse farm and competed professionally in dressage, a sport that requires horses to perform precise movements based on the slightest signals. She wrote Viking about five years ago while working as a horse trainer and attending school for library science. “When I was young, someone read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to me, and I thought it was the coolest thing to read books to kids,” she says. Akervik cites her children, too, as motivation for writing. “I grew up reading horse stories – grew up around horses – and wanted to write them a horse story in order to share this experience and fire up their imaginations.”

The story begins in Denmark with the birth of a foal, Viking. Viking’s violent mother kills a stable hand soon afterward, and Viking is quickly sold to expel the painful reminder. Viking’s tale moves across the globe as the spellbinding albeit vicious stallion encounters a multitude of trainers with different philosophies on how to tame him. It is not until American horsewoman Anne O’Neil purchases him that Viking’s true worth – his brutal demeanor – shines through. As Anne and Viking rise to recognition in horse competitions, obstacles (both metaphorical and literal) create a bond of determination and trust between horse and trainer.

The story, Akervik iterates, is not just for horse lovers. Above all, it’s “about perseverance and the special connection that people can have with animals…I want people to feel something for Viking.”

A Horse Named Viking is available at The Local Store
and through Amazon.com

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