Always a pleasure to welcome back Pat McDermott. If you're intrigued by ancient Ireland and fairies, you do not want to miss her books!
* * *
Blending Folk Tales, Boosting Glimmer
by Pat McDermott
When I started writing my young adult adventure series featuring Ireland’s fairies, I knew that at some point, I’d be dealing with leprechauns. They appeared at last in the third Glimmer book, A Pot of Glimmer. How to describe these famous sprites without making them sound like the run-of-the-mill gremlins on cereal boxes and in tourism ads proved challenging.
A Pot of Glimmer opens in medieval Ireland, 1014 AD, just before the historic Battle of Clontarf in which High King Brian Boru defeated the Vikings. My patriotic commando leprechauns, led by one Awley O’Hay, rob a Dublin mint to provide silver coinage for King Brian’s troops. The theft leaves Steng the Money Master a tad annoyed with Awley.
“Irlander insect! I will hunt you down and find you! I will burn out your thieving eyes and leave your corpse for the crows to devour!”
Awley isn’t worried. How can a mere Norseman capture a leprechaun?
“You and your kind couldn’t catch the plague! King Brian will send yez back where yez came from!”
The unfairness of Awley wielding his magical glimmer while Steng lacked a comparable gift compelled me to even the playing field. My investigation into Viking mythology offered a fabulous way for the money master to take his revenge. From past research, I knew a good deal about Vikings, but I’d never heard of a draugr, an undead creature who leaves its grave at night to feed on men and cattle. Awley finds himself in serious trouble each time the money master-turned-draugr turns up to haunt him. There’s little he can do, however, for draugrs can only be slain by mortals. Yet he’s not without resources. More than once, he’s turned to Becula, a powerful fairy witch, for assistance.
“’Tis fine to see you, ma’am. I find I’m again in need of your help. Your latest Draugr Confinement Spell has kept the essence of Steng beneath the ground for two hundred years. He’d no doubt be there forever, but for the Yank ambassador.”
“The American ambassador? Ambassador Gleason?”
“You know him?”
“I do. His young granddaughter is a friend of mine.” Becula narrowed her eyes. “’Twould displease me if anyone tried to harm her. What’s this all about?”
“The ambassador’s hired diggin’ machines. I don’t know why, but those gizmos are pokin’ too close to the stone we set over Steng’s coffin box. If they disturb it before we can move him to a safer place…”
Awley’s dilemma casts American teen Janet Gleason and her royal friend, Prince Liam Boru, into a web of unthinkable horror. In the first two Glimmer books, Janet and Liam’s budding romance suffers from fairy mischief, but fighting a draugr together takes the cake.
“Are you saying there’s a dead Viking monster buried in my grandfather’s putting green?”
Liam and his royal clan are descendants of High King Brian Boru. Liam’s lineage impresses the leprechauns, yet he has no time for formality: the draugr has kidnapped Janet.
“We have to do something. Draugrs eat mortals, and my friend is a mortal!”
Melding elements of two unique oral traditions entertained me enormously as I wrote. The characters seemed to dictate to me, guiding me through their struggles with danger and romance (leprechauns fall in love too). These classic story ingredients, commonly found in the folklore of every culture, gave the world its first great sagas. May folk tales ever inspire us!
Ireland, 1014 - Leprechaun Awley O’Hay robs a Dublin mint to help King Brian fight the Vikings. The money master’s vengeful ghost troubles Awley for centuries.
Ireland, 2015 - The fairies have not only plagued American teen Janet Gleason since she arrived in Dublin, they’ve also hindered her romance with Prince Liam Boru. When Janet’s grandfather, the American Ambassador, throws a Fourth of July celebration, Liam stops by. Also attending are several uninvited guests whose appearance plunges Liam and Janet into a nightmare they never imagined. Nor did they imagine that real leprechauns are nothing like the “little men” of Irish lore.
* * *
A Pot of Glimmer, Book Three in the Glimmer Series, is available in print and eBook from Amazon.
Learn more about Pat and her books on her website.