I am pleased to welcome Beth Balmanno, author of Set in Stone to talk to us today about Celtic Lore:)
When I was in fifth grade, I knew everything there was to know about Greek mythology. I mean, everything. See, I was one of those kids who were ushered off to G.A.T.E. classes once a week (trust me, I wasn't that smart) to have enrichment classes. And one of those classes was all about Greek mythology. By the end of that ten-week class, I could recite every Greek god and goddess there was. I knew all the stories by heart. I wanted to be Aprhodite...and dressed up as her at the end-of-the-quarter class party.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years. I still love Greek myths and devoured the Percy Jackson series and all of the Ursu Andrews books. And, when I started writing Set In Stone, I knew very early on that there would be magic in it. Maybe even mythology.
The logical choice would have been to choose Greek mythology, right? Like, have my main character find a magic olive tree or something. Which, of course, would absolutely relate in some way to Greek mythology. Easy peasy.
But that's not how writing works. At least, not for me. When Valerie, my main character, finds a strange and mystical stone that turns her world upside-down, a very bossy supporting character decides it is Celtic in origin. Valerie begins a quest to find out what the stone is...and why these two beautiful, mysterious boys who appear in her life want it.
Awesome. Celtic mythology. Something I knew nothing about.
So, how did I research? Did I check out books from the library? Did I travel to Ireland to do research on location (I wish!)? Did I track down my long-lost Irish relatives so I could pepper them with questions?
I did what every self-respecting author does. I googled it. (Or yahooed it. Or binged it. Pick your poison.) I found a ton of information about Celtic mythology. And, from those pages and pages of web sites, I started piecing together what the stone could be. And who the boys were who wanted it.
I couldn't use everything I found. I also very quickly realized I could never memorize all of the Celtic gods and goddesses, either (there are tons of them! And they go by different names!). But I did eventually find the answers I was looking for. And I could pass on that info to Valerie as she does her searching.
There is one scene in the book – a very pivotal scene where Valerie finds out who Noel is – where she is sitting in front of her computer and she clicks on a page and an image pops up. An image that very nearly stops her heart.
That happened to me. While I was researching. Like Valerie, I stared at the picture that appeared on the screen and immediately had to get up and walk away. Like, set down the laptop and close my eyes and try to catch my breath.
Want to know more? Go read the book. You might learn a little about Celtic mythology along the way. And hopefully, there won't be too many heart-stopping moments like Valerie and I had as we researched.
Oh. And please don't quiz me on Greek mythology. My head is now full of Celtic lore. :)
Fifteen year-old Valerie is used to losing things–she lost her dad to his job ages ago and her best friend moved with no warning...and hasn't been heard from since. During a weekend camping trip with her emotionally distant parents, she stumbles upon a hidden, mysterious stone and she finds herself desperate to keep it, to possess it. Two strange and beautiful boys have other plans, however. They follow her home–Leo, warm and seductive, who covets the stone and will stop at nothing to get it; and Noel, dark-haired and wise, who pledges to protect her and keep her safe.
As she delves deeper into the magic of the stone and the Celtic lore that surrounds it, Valerie realizes that she's losing. Again. But this loss might involve more than a magical stone – this time, she just might lose her heart.