Before I started doing research for my new fantasy novel,
Through the Door, my knowledge of
Irish folklore was limited to what I had learned from Lucky Charms commercials
and the St. Patrick’s Day parade. But once I started exploring this remarkable
area of ancient myth and legend, I was immediately drawn to the deep well of magic,
adventure, romance and drama I had found before me – the perfect playground for
a fresh and fast-paced new urban fantasy series. Here’s just a taste of this
fascinating history and how I wove these discoveries into the fabric of Through the Door.
One of my most exciting discoveries was the
Tuatha Dé Danann, the pantheon of ancient Irish gods. Our modern concept of
winged, pixie-like fairies can be traced back to these immortal beings, who
cause an incredible amount of chaos in the life of my human protagonist, Cedar.
Then there are the Merrow, the Irish version of
mermaids. Legend has it they can be kept from their watery kingdom by stealing
their red caps. But as my characters find out with tragic results, the Merrow
are best left alone—and you certainly don’t want to make them angry.
I found myself particularly drawn to the gray
areas between Celtic myth and history—like the remarkable similarities between
the Irish goddess Brighid and the 5th century abbess St. Brigid, one
of the patron saints of Ireland. By all accounts both women had over-the-top
personalities, making this goddess-nun a welcome addition to the cast of Through the Door.
Hundreds of prehistoric burial mounds dot the
Irish countryside, and were once thought to be the entrances to the Otherworld,
or the land of Tí na nÓg. The Irish call them “fairy mounds” – or sidhe, which
seemed to me the perfect name for the portals that six-year-old Eden
accidentally creates, setting her fantastical adventure in Through the Door into motion.
Using the rich realm of Irish mythology and folklore to
create the world in Through the Doorhas
been an incredible journey filled with unexpected surprises and inspiration
every step of the way. I feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface, and
I’m excited to dive even deeper into the mythology as I research and write the
next books in the Thin Veil series.