When I set out to write a paranormal romance set in Ireland, I wanted to write about something tangible, believable, something that had a foothold in local mythology. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves don’t really feature all that much in Celtic folklore, and even if they did, they’ve run their course. During my research I may not have found the living dead, or hairy guys that burst out of their cut offs, but what I did find was the intriguing story of the Goddess Danu, and the Tuatha Dé Danann.
To the Celts, Tuatha de Danann, Danu’s children have to struggle against their enemies, the evil Fomorians, whose own “Mother Goddess” is Domnu. Irish lore contains many tales of the struggle between the Children of Domnu, representing darkness and chaos, and the Children of Danu, representing light and order.
I took the story of Danu and the Tuatha Dé Danann and shook it up a little. I had Danu gift each of her human children one of her powers, earth, air, fire, and water. Each of her children would bear ‘The Mark’ symbolizing their power and lineage. Then instead of having separate Children of Domnu representing the dark side of their powers, I had the Tuatha Dé Danann being both, representing the internal struggle of the power they hold the and pull of the light and the dark. I introduced the ancient druids who took on the role of protecting and guiding the Tuatha Dé Danann in their struggle to choose light over dark, and to achieve their ultimate goal, aligning the elements of earth to restore harmony in the absence of their mother, Danu.
With the mythology in the bag I looked to my surroundings for more inspiration that would ground the story and make it more real. I looked no further than James Fort, a crumbling ruin of an ancient fort that is only accessible on foot. It sits on a headland at the mouth of the Kinsale harbor in Cork, Ireland, and is surrounded by wild, sea blown landscape. It dates back to medieval times and consists of crumbling walls and lots of little tunnels and steps that lead to places that don’t exist anymore. It has a very rugged magical quality. A place where you could sit for hours, tucked into one of the old walls, breathing the salty air, listening to the waves beating against the rocks, and imagining what it was like back when it was inhabited. It may not sound ‘normal’ to some people, but to me at the time, it was just a place I used to walk my dog. It added another key ingredient to my story…grounding.
I took some magic, mixed it with a myth, and whipped it up with some good old fashioned roots to produce a believable paranormal story in a contemporary Irish setting, a place where you can visit the locations and breathe the same air, where you can go to find the paranormal in the normal. In the world of our imagination, anything is possible, and anything is everything.