It’s always so interesting to learn about where authors get their inspiration from and for me, it came from a couple of different places. First of all, I have a bit of an obsession (as many Irish women do!) with Grainuaile, a sea-faring matriarch who ruled the West Coast of Ireland. Apparently, she had a meeting with Queen Elizabeth and they got on quite well by all accounts. Two fiery red-heads, powerful and strong. Anyway, she was the seed for my story, but as it began to germinate, I realised that telling her story through the lens of historical fiction could be a bit limiting. I’ve often heard it said in the creative realm that you should never go with your first idea and that you should search deeper for a story.
This turned out to be sound advice, because as I was researching the 1500’s, I discovered that something much bigger happened along the West Coast of Ireland in 1588 that would affect all of Europe. The Spanish Armada, on their journey home from an indecisive battle with England, met a most ferocious storm and wrecked upon the rocky shores of Ireland. Their fate? Attempt to escape by any means possible, or be slaughtered by a merciless occupying force on the Queen’s orders.
So that was where the idea really began. As for the time-slip element, well that all happened one afternoon as I was watching Oprah – yes Oprah! She had a guest on by the name of Brian Weiss MD. promoting his book – Many Lives, Many Masters. He told an incredible story of a girl who came to him with anxiety issues, for which he prescribed hypnotherapy sessions. However, during these sessions, the girl started to drift back, or regress, into past lives where she had suffered some kind of trauma. Long story short, ‘revisiting’ these past experiences helped her to overcome her anxieties in the present. Ding-Ding! I hear a plot device 🙂
Armed with both of these story ideas, I began to create the world of The Cross Of Santiago, with my main character Amanda taking on some of the traits of Grainuaile, giving a nod to my O’Malley roots (a story is for another day!). And that, my friends, is the ‘behind the scenes’ look at my new novel. So if you fancy a bit of ‘Pirates of the Carribean‘ meets ‘Somewhere in Time‘, then download a sample on Amazon or Smashwords.
Also, the lovely people at Indie Author Land (Great books, no middleman) have posted an interview with yours truly, in which we discuss the background story to The Cross Of Santiago and a little bit about me. You can read it here.