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Interview With Author Christy Nicholas Ireland Mythical, Magical, Mystical A Guide to Hidden Ireland
Do you find your-self drawn to the magic of the Em-erald Isle? Would you like to see places beyond the typical tourist traps? Come, join me on a journey through the mists of legend, into the hidden places of mystery. Immerse yourself in the legend and myths, the history that has made this island precious in the hearts and minds of millions. Along with the tales and history, there is practical information on planning your trip, budgeting your costs, and finding the best places to while away the magical hours of your holiday.
The Magical Facet The Fair Folk
Everyone has heard of fairies, of creatures with supernatural powers to curse, to bless, to find gold, or to cause mischief. Literature and art is full of them from Shakespeare to contemporary artists Amy Brown or Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. Western culture, especially in the US, is bred on Disney’s Tinker Bell, children’s books of flower fairies from Victorian artists, and grim tales of the darker side of these Fae folk.
In Ireland, fairies, known as the Sídhe (pronounced shee) or the Good Folk, originate from the Tuatha Dé Danann, the people who immigrated to the island before the Sons of Míl. Supposedly full of powers, the Tuatha Dé Danann could not bear to be near iron, and therefore their superior skills were for naught. Rather than leave the land they loved, they agreed to reside below the earth. For this reason, caves are said to be entrances into their underworld homes. Traces of this legend can be seen in the classic film, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, where Darby is led under a mountain to the Fairy King’s palace.
Ireland has countless portals, be they hills, hawthorn trees, caves, wells, or other sacred places.
A more Christianized origin of these creatures claim they are angels which fell to Earth before humans resided there. They live beneath the waves or gardens, and while some are evil, others can be helpful as long as they are treated with respect.
While many modern legends show the fairies to be sweet, kind, magical creatures, this is really a Victorian creation. The traditional views in Ireland and Scotland show the Sídhe to be mischievous to the point of cruelty a force to be reckoned with. They are not sought out by the wise. In fact, most of the herb and spell lore of an almost forgotten era is meant to instruct how to keep you from coming to the Folks’ attention.
What is the book about?
My book is about Ireland – some myth and history, a bit about the land, culture, people and beliefs, some planning tips on making your own journey, and a huge section of hidden places to find. Oh, and lots of photographs!
When did you start writing the book?
In May 2011, after I returned from my fourth trip to Ireland.
How long did it take you to write it?
About a year and a half. I didn’t have a publisher until I was finished, so I left it for long periods of time.
Where did you get the idea from?
I had always written trip reports from each vacation, and I had written an article on planning a trip there. I had also self-published a couple photojournals of my trips, so this seemed like the logical next step towards professional travel writing.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Some of the history part – while I know a lot of Irish history, there are some areas (mostly more modern times) that I tend to gloss over in my mind. I prefer ancient history, the prehistoric and early recorded times. It was also difficult to find ways to make this section interesting to read, as history is a subject most people find tedious.
What came easily?
The myth section – stories and tales of gods, battles and curses! That was great fun!
Are your characters entirely self-fabricated, or did you borrow from real world or existing fictitious people you know?
I don’t really have characters, as this is non-fiction – so any characters are already created in myth.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I have read all my life, and the authors I like most are those that have a sense of humor. Whether in fiction, like Diana Gabaldon or Robert Heinlein, or in travel writing like Bill Bryson, I think people love to laugh, and the ability to inspire that laughter is precious.
Do you have a target reader?
Someone who has an interest in Ireland, or in the mysterious.
What is your writing process?
I write in spurts of furious activity, interspersed with periods of extreme laziness and disinterest.
Do you outline or are you a pantser?
I definitely outline, and usually follow that outline in order. However, sometimes I’ll skip around a bit, section to section. If I do that too much, though, I know I’ll be left with the boring bits, so I try not to ‘eat the dessert first’, so to speak, or I’ll run out of steam for the project.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I have to edit as I go, because I’m horrible at self-editing afterwards. I know this sounds bad, but I find it hard to read my own writing. I tend to gloss over things in my mind, because it was already there, so I don’t need to read it again!
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what sets the right mood?
I do – mostly Irish folk and fusion music. Anything from Enya to the Dropkick Murphys, Afro Celt Sounds System, Altan, the Chieftains. Occasionally I have yearnings for cheesy 1980s New Wave, though!
Meet the Author!
My name is Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon. I do many things, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing and photo-graphy. In real life I'm a CPA, but having grown up with art and around me (my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected me, as it were. I love to draw and to create things. It's more of an obsession than a hobby. I like looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or a fragrant blossom, a dramatic seaside. I then wish to take a picture or create a piece of jewelry to share this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus I write. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. I do local art and craft shows, as well as sending my art to various science fiction conventions thoughout the country and abroad.
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