People often ask me how I come up with stories and the answer is…I have no clue. Sometimes a story can be manifested from a picture, a movie, another book, basically it is fairly random, especially when you write fantasy. You have to be in possession of a vivid imagination which is an attribute I have in spades. The Celtic Veil was a story which sprung from a love of Tolkein and a YouTube video I happened to click on one bored evening about Celtic mythology a few years ago.
As any reader of mine is aware, I love mythology, and Celtic mythology was relatively new to me. I took the deep dive into numerous videos, books, and whatever I could get my hands on for research. I contemplated setting the story in, what we know as Ireland, but once again, my mind whirled, and I dreamt of an entirely different dimension.
I also really, really, always wanted to do a map. When I was writing Isle of Skye, I desperately wanted one for the Isle, but it was beyond my capabilities at the time.
And so the Otherworld was born…
Originally, Adara’s story, was one of grief. She and Claire were to go to the otherworld after losing Sean, but I couldn’t bring myself to write that story. Perhaps it was because I just lost my father and then it hit me. I would have done anything to save my father from cancer. I would have travelled to a different dimension and given up technology, a washer, dryer, anything to save him. I then realized that was the going to be the driving factor for them to leave behind their world.
I put more of myself in this book than any other. My mother still hasn’t been able to get through the first few chapters because everything I wrote about Sean and his battle is what we faced on a daily basis for several years. It is still raw but for me, this was my therapy. I am definitely the type of person who likes to ‘fix’ things. I have an annoying tendency to take charge when I feel like there is indecision and I am always looking for a way to smooth over a chaotic situation.
I’m an Aries. It’s just in my nature.
But I couldn’t fix my dad and it frustrated me. It made me angry. It made me feel weak and like I was out of control…another thing I absolutely hate. Losing him was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I’m still mourning him, but I will say writing The Celtic Veil took a lot of that anger away, and after I ‘saved’ Sean, I also began to heal and in doing so I gathered the courage to write about another lovely attribute of mine which I don’t talk about much.
Adara’s anxiety is front and center in this book. I wasn’t going to do it. But, much like every story of mine, it kind of takes on a life of its own, and I laid it out there for all the world to see. I am not ashamed of it any longer. I get anxiety and in the past it has been debilitating. Funny enough, writing Adara’s story, seemed to alleviate mine. Oh, it’s still there on occasion, lurking, but I have been able to learn to live with it. I have accepted it and now we’re old friends. But, yes, as my father always teased, and Sean to Adara in the book, I am the world’s longest survivor of a continued heart attack which has lasted for years. I have had every medical condition known to man and I still sometimes think if I get a pain in my calf or ankle, I have massive blood clots forming, and I am going to die.
A few years ago, each little pain, would send me into days of sleepless nights, and perpetual anxiety. After every doctor visit, every exam, I would question whether the blood work was really normal or maybe they missed something. I’m not proud to admit this, but I do believe after writing The Celtic Veil there has been a shift. Maybe because I was able to write it and this somehow purged me in a strange way. Maybe by writing what I feel made me accept it and, as someone once told, maybe, just maybe, I might help someone who is also going through what I have gone through. The thing about anxiety is, you often feel alone. You feel ashamed. You feel detached. You ask yourself constantly why can’t I get a handle on this. Why can’t I stop these intrusive doomsday thoughts. You self-isolate and it is a lonely and scared place to be.
I know my anxiety kicked into high gear after my dad was diagnosed and after I started to enter a lovely phase in a woman’s life called perimenopause. It was a perfect storm. A total and utter shit show is truly the only other way I can phrase it. Last summer was a nightmare for me. My father’s death, my boys graduating college, my daughter entering high school. It was too much. Too many changes for this control freak and when I finally went to my doctor for help the most amazing and hysterical thing happened. She put me on a low dose of Lexapro and guess what? I broke out into hives.
I finally took the step to get some help and I was allergic to the medicine. For some reason, this one small pill, brought me out of a stupor which had been festering for years. In fact, for months I kept the bottle on the bathroom counter as a reminder to myself. It’s difficult to explain, but after my allergic reaction I realized something. I remembered a famous phrase from the move, Shawshank Redemption. I could hear the velvety voice of Morgan Freeman in my head.
Get busy living or get busy dying.
And that’s what I have been trying to do. Get busy living and so I wrote. I finished Lost & Embraced in record time and then I began to write The Celtic Veil.
I wasn’t sure about where I was going with the story at first, but when I started writing the otherworld, I could see exactly what I wanted to do, and I cannot wait to continue this journey with you. I love Adara. I love that she doesn’t have her shit together. She’s haunted by her past and her present, but she’s trying her best to fit into this new world. She’s not perfect. She’s just trying to figure it out, much like the rest of us.
The Celtic Hollow is beginning to beckon me. I can hear the words I have written for my chapter outlines in my notebook calling to me. The other night I heard a flute and I am almost ready to go though the veil and continue this story. I am hoping to get the book released before the end of the year because I am excited for what is to come.
And of course, I must leave you now with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite poets who just happens to be Irish. W. B. Yeats.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.