The Wedding of Eithne by @MDellertDotCom – Interview by #thetoiboxofwords

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I’m sharing a special interview with author, Michael E.  Dellert, about his fiction book entitled, The Wedding of Eithne. Enjoy! 

Where did the idea for The Wedding of Eithne come from?

“The Wedding of Eithne” (and my books before it) have their origin in the first complete book that I ever wrote. In rewriting that book, I created a “Cuts” file as a place to dump a lot of back-story and exposition that was superfluous to that story. The “Cuts” file eventually came to some 191 pages of good story ideas in their own right. So in a sense The Wedding of Eithne is the last of a series of “prequels” to a book I’m still polishing for publication.

How did the title of this book come about?

For this book, I wanted a simple functional title that linked well with the last book in the series, since this was a continuation of that story from a new perspective.

I also wanted something that spoke to the particular story question: Will the Lady Eithne actually get married after everything that’s happened in the series to date, and what obstacles will come between her and the final decision to accept or reject the arranged marriage of the title?

What genre is this book and why did you choose to make it so?

“The Wedding of Eithne” is primarily a heroic fantasy novel, like the other works in my Matter of Manred series. The title heroine, Lady Eithne, is of relatively humble origin (being from the lowest rung of the aristocracy, and a bastard branch of her family besides), and has been reluctant for three books now to become an arranged bride, but she’s thrust into making this choice by events beyond her control. I wanted a smaller, intimate, character-driven story that explored questions of fate, free-will, pre-destination, family, and obligation, without the world-shaking overtones of epic fantasy.

What would you say is the overall message or the theme of this book?

I was raised Catholic, and have read a lot of “Chosen One” fantasy fiction over the years, and as a father of daughters, and a feminist-friendly person in general, the question of choice and free-will in relation to romance and religion is important me. So questions about fate, free-will, and the nature of evil feature prominently in the heroine’s development. It’s something of an “Abraham & Isaac” story, told from a female viewpoint, with marriage as the sacrificial altar. So these are the predominant themes in “The Wedding of Eithne.”

Tell me about the experience of writing this book; how long did it take.

Parts of “The Wedding of Eithne” go back fifteen years, and the original draft from which the core of this story emerged was written two years ago in about 90 days. And then this particular book was drafted last year in another 90-ish days, and went through about six months of rewrites before I was happy with the final draft. The process involved many years of researching medieval Irish culture, particularly marriage practices, myths, and legends. I even went to Ireland for a few weeks to immerse myself in the culture.

Tell me about the main storyline within this book.

The Lady Eithne has lived her whole life under a magical prohibition: she may not marry until the portents are favorable, but she’ll always have the right to choose her husband. Now, the portents are favorable, AND they coincide with an ancient prophecy. Eithne is left with little more than a day to decide whether to accept marriage arranged for her. But rival religious and political factions have their own ideas about her wedding plans. How can she avoid becoming a pawn for one side or another, yet still exercise her free right of choice?

Who is the protagonist of this story?

The Lady Eithne is the daughter of a minor aristocratic family, raised in a remote mountain village. Because of her magical prohibition, she aspired to a life beyond the typical fate of being married off as a teenager to the first man who could afford her bride-price. When the years went on, she began to think she’d end up an unmarried “spinster,” and learned about “men’s ways” in order to make an independent life for herself. Now that an arranged marriage has been contracted for her, she has to decide what love really means to her.

Who is the antagonist of this story?

This was actually an interesting problem in writing this novel. The visible antagonist is His Reverence Inloth, a priest who believes that his local religious institutions are corrupt and in need of reform, particularly its marriage practices. He is a native of the milieu, but studied abroad and returned with “foreign ideas” and a mission to make his countrymen “see the light” of the larger religious order. But there are also political opponents and “hidden” antagonists. Inloth’s reformation isn’t all that it seems to be, and not all of his villainous allies are honest and earnest.

What is the major conflict in this story?

As a divorced Catholic, I am myself something of an oxymoron, faced with the question of whether my marriage is actually still valid (no according to the State, but yes according to my Church). So the fundamental question in “The Wedding of Eithne” is whether Eithne really has the free-will to choose her own marriage partner, and what the consequences of that choice might be. She is also faced with the problem of whether her choice (if it is truly free) would be legitimate and valid, given the political and religious conflicts currently dividing her land.

Where and when is this story taking place?

“The Wedding of Eithne” is set in the dark, medieval-style milieu of my Matter of Manred fantasy series. The setting and political culture were influenced by 12th-Century AD Ireland in the decades preceding the Anglo-Norman Conquest, and the religious culture was inspired by hybridizing Irish myths and legends and mystic Pythagorean philosophy with real-life Catholic Church conflicts of the period. Robert E. Howard, Evangeline Walton, CJ Cherryh, and Glen Cook were the primary influences on the writing style, but I could probably spend 100 words just naming authors that have influenced me, there are so many.

Who is your favorite character in this book?

Although I love Lady Eithne and her betrothed, two minor characters who first appeared in my second book recur here: Adarc and Corentin. The first is essentially a fourteen-year-old seminary student, acting as a guide and interpreter for the second, a foreign merchant’s apprentice “studying the market” for his trading company. I love them because they have such divergent world-views, the spiritual versus the commercial. In a way, they represent the warring halves of my own soul, the writer (an act of faith) and the publisher (with all my American capitalist commercialism).

Are there elements of your personality or life experiences in this book?

I’ve already mentioned a few of the elements of my own life and personality that have wormed their way into “The Wedding of Eithne,” like my Irish Catholic upbringing, my divorce, and my daughters. I think any writer worth his salt tells very personal–and sometimes uncomfortable–stories. I’ve certainly taken my own fears of failure and success, and my reluctance to disappoint, and weaved these into the characters. I’ve also drawn on my own family history in developing these characters, though it wouldn’t be appropriate to name names, considering how much the characters have diverged from their inspirations.

What is one thing from this book you wish was real or could happen to you?

I suppose the whole book is an act of wish-fulfillment in one way or another. I wish I could find the sort of love that the characters in “The Wedding of Eithne” are looking for, a partner that isn’t just obligated to be a part of my life, as a consequence of chance and circumstance, but who really wants to be there. Someone I can believe in and encourage, and who believes in and supports the person I am and want to become as well.

What is something you wish wasn’t real and hope doesn’t happen to you?

I most certainly never want to be attacked by giant bats, spiders, or snakes!

Let’s say your book is being turned into a feature-length film; quick- cast the main two characters and pick a theme song or score.

Two songs come to mind: “When Will We Be Married” by the Waterboys and “Short-Change Hero by The Heavy. As for casting the film, I’ll have to say Keira Knightley from her roles in “King Arthur” and “Domino,” and F. Murray Abraham as the villain Inloth.

Do you have any special plans for this book in the near or far future?

This book closes out what I call “The Eowain Cycle” of my Matter of Manred Saga, setting up the background for the story in my next major book. But one thing I’d like to do with “The Wedding of Eithne” is create an omnibus edition that combines it with the previous three books in the series. I’d also like to create hardcover editions of my books. Several readers have already asked about it. Like many writers, I’m a total narcissist, so I wouldn’t mind having such a thing on my own shelves, something that will really last the ages.

Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. To Pre-order your copy of The Wedding of Eithne (March 28th release), please visit the links provided.

AMAZON | Author Direct links: EBOOK | signed PAPERBACK

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1) by Eoin Colfer

I give this book a 5.

LoveIt

Every now and then I’m curious to see what I’ve been missing in children’s fictions, and since, I’m very particular about my selections, I’m seldom let down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this series.

Artemis is a young genius who also happens to be the heir to a criminal dynasty that’s going broke. So Artemis decides to save the family business in the only way he can think of, which is ripping off the fairies that no one believes really exist.

I really liked Butler and Holly. The whole story was really cute, and if you don’t over think it, the little things shouldn’t get you down. I like the idea that the bad guy in this story is a little boy, but I must admit I kept hoping someone would stop to spank him at some point. (Oh no, wonder who I offended with that statement?)

In any case, I don’t think Artemis is a bad boy. I just think he’s a product of his environment, who happens to be desperate and willing to do whatever he thinks is necessary to save his way of life. The story is full of adventure, magic, and oddly enough a little sci-fi.

I recommend this to anyone willing to give it a try.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

McCollonough Ceili Interview

toiboxinterview

The Eternal Curse Series Blog Presents an interview with author: McCollonough Ceili.

So tell me, who is McCollonough Ceili?

I am an Irish/American who discovered a love for writing when asked by my American mother to pen my autobiography Noria, Since then I have not been able to stop writing, which has resulted in the publication of several books for all ages.

Wow, you’ve written an autobiography as well write fiction books for all ages; I’m very impressed. I can’t imagine trying to write about myself, I’m just not that interesting.

So whacha got for me today?

I have a book that started out as a dream, from there it went to a self guided tour of the history of Ocean lifeguarding, nnd finally ended with the book, “What Happened in Hallandale”.  Some of the things you read in said book really happened, others did not. The main reason I wrote this book was so that I would stop dreaming about these character.

Below is what my editor had to say about the book. Which can also be found on the back of the book.

“Dive into a dreamlike world of love, courage, magic, and death. Twelve-year-old Piper can travel to the world of angels and, she learns, through time. Rushing back to the past to correct a terrible tragedy, she learns that there are things you can change – and things you cannot. This tale of love that transcends death, courage that transcends time, and the power of compassion will break your heart and heal it, and then leave you still longing for more.” – Summer Foovay, Editor

Small world, I think. I wrote my book for the same reason. I needed to stop dreaming about those characters. Dreams are powerful things…I love the description your editor offers. It pulls you right in.

So who’s starring is this 2 dimensional script read of “What Happened in Hallandale”?

Piper, a magical child from the modern world is telling the story of what happened when she ventured to 1940s Hallandale Beach Florida. Ms. Piper went to Hallandale to try and stop a terrible mistake, though in order to do this she must break into an ancient Irish tomb and steal a  spell.

Oh, so this is a time travel book. I really like time travel stories. I like seeing how people from different times react to the changes.

Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

I write whenever and wherever I feel inspired, which basically means that I carry a pad and pen with me always. I also have recording program on my cell phone so I can speak aloud thoughts that come to me during a time when I should not be writing; example: when driving the car. I get most of my ideas from dreams that I have had and the world around me. I spend a lot of the week jotting down ideas, then come the weekend I put them together into a chapter or two.

I am currently working on the sequel to “What Happened in Hallandale”, titled “Awakening the Truth”

That phone app sounds clever; I need to look into that. Glad to hear you’re extending your story into a series; series are fun.

What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

I am inspired by a lot of different writers, though when it came to writing “What Happened in Hallandale” I was inspired by the “Real Laurie” Real Laurie is the women for whom the character Lorraine was based on. She was a woman who had to change her name from Lori to Laurie jus so she could get into medical school. She lived in a time when women were not supposed to become doctors.  I was also inspired by actress Nancy Valen whom I feel looks a lot like Laurie.

Valen played on the American show Baywatch.   Every Time I would see Ms. Valen as Captain Thomas a memory of stories told to me about the real Laurie would come to the surface of my soul. It got so intense that I would find myself watching the show with the sound off and writing  most of what became “What Happened in Hallandale”  In fact she even inspired the title of the  book, the “real” part of my story happened in another place in Hallandale. I discovered that name when I was reading about Ms. Valen.

I hope you won’t take this as an insult since she’s not Irish, but I get a Joan of Arc feeling from this Real Laurie character. I’m liking this story more and more; you just keep adding layers to it.

Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Okay this is a tough question. I guess I would have to say Mr. Dick Van Patten, I believe that we younger ones can learn so much from those of his generation, plus I love the light in his eyes, there be a wise soul beneath them.

Good man and a good show, Eight is Enough.

Who is so you and why?

No one that I know of, oh wait my American mom thinks I look like the woman who plays on Bones. Temperance Brennan. I but I honestly don’t see it.

You may not look like the actress who plays Temperance, but maybe you just have Bones vibe about you…but I can kinda see a resemblance.

What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?

GoodReads.com

I am at my wee desk in the kitchen of my home, I can hear the washing machine, I just finished eating an orange. The book that is currently on my nightstand is “Dear America Hear my Sorrow” the diary of Angela Denoto, New York City, 1909. It is hardback and I am excited to read it, because it is one of the few books from the Dear America series that I have yet to read. My ideal spot is my bed!

That sounds lovely. It has everything that reading should be: comfort, excitement, anticipation, and your referred reading medium.

What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

The Dear America series was my favorite book series back then along with all of the books written by Betty Ren Wright.  I love those type of stories so much but have yet to write one like them me self.

Wow, you read Dear America as a kid and are still reading it now. That’s dedication and it very pure, honest, and nice….

There is more fun and insights to this interview, visit the Eternal Curse Series Blog for the full experience. For more information about this author, McCollonough Ceili, please visit the links below.

Blog: NorianGirl

Amazon Author Central: Mccollonough Ceili

Facebooks: Mccollonough Ceili

Twitter: @noriangirl

LinkedIn: Mccollonough Ceili

Purchase links for “What Happened in Hallandale”: Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords