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Author Interview - Peadar Ó Guilín
Horror lovers: get ready for something completely different...
Could you survive the Call?
This book was a breath of fresh air. Real fairies: the big, bad kind with no love for humans and a grudge the size of Ireland itself. And as if that isn't awesome enough, you're just in time for the release of the sequel...
Grete: Your faeries are definitely not the sweet, sparkly sort that grace the Disney-fied fairytale landscape, but actually rather terrifying. Were there any specific stories or folktales that you drew upon for the creation of the inhabitants of the Grey Land?
Peadar: Oh, yes, plenty! The favourite pastime of Irish fairies has always been kidnapping children. There are lots of traditional stories of awful things happening to anybody who crosses “the good people”, even accidentally. You won’t get three wishes here!
G: How was your experience marketing a YA horror novel to publishers?
P: I met my publisher at a conference and pitched him the idea. He claimed he loved it. So, a year later when it was complete, his company was the first I sent the manuscript to and they made an offer right away.
G: During the course of writing the book, did any of the characters end up vastly different to how you first imagined them?
P: Not really, because I made the characters up as I went along. I don’t plan things out. I start with an idea and see where it goes. The characters, therefore, tend to develop to fill the roles that need filling. Changing them afterwards would be very difficult, because at that point, it would mean changing the fundamentals of the entire story.
G: Who surprised you the most?
P: There’s a minor character in there called “Cahal”. His story surprised me, since I had no idea what was going to happen to him until it did.
G: I very much enjoyed the presence of a heroine who is differently abled in this novel, especially as part of a plot not looking to "fix" her. What were your techniques for getting into Nessa's head?
P: I interviewed a few friends. But I have always been interested in characters that other people want to put into a box. Usually, I just try to make them better versions of myself with bigger problems. This does not mean I don’t have a lot to learn, of course.
G: Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Who would you happily banish to the Grey Land?
P: Megan is my favourite, but I might not like her as much in real life. She doesn’t hold back and I’m pretty sure she’d find all the chinks in my armour.
As for who to banish to the Grey Land, that has to be Conor. I grew up getting bullied and I have no patience for him and his ilk.
G: The Fae realm of The Call is full of disturbing imagery, but also rich in color, smells, and textures. How did you come up with this landscape? Did it go through many permutations as you wrote?
P: The Grey Land is something I created by accident for another story of mine that I wrote years ago — “Fairy Gold”. My anti-hero had just followed some fairies back to their world and I needed to populate it with animals. At that point, it just hit me that the animals should be made of people. This led me then to the power of the Sídhe to warp human flesh. I loved the concept.
G: You have several book series in the works. How do you juggle the different projects as you work? What are your ultimate plans for the universe of The Call?
P: With “The Invasion” to be published in March, this series is now complete. I don’t plan any other novels, although I might write a few individual “call” scenes.
As for juggling all my other ideas, well, I’m not very good at that. I much prefer to work on one at a time. My poor little brain gets easily confused!
G: What was the most interesting thing you researched for writing The Call and The Invasion?
P: Irish mythology is endlessly fascinating to me. I got to read some wonderful books on the subject, including academic works such as the recently published “Ireland’s Immortals” by Mark Williams.
G: What strategies would you most recommend to a new or up-and-coming author?
P: Write lots. Join a critique group — even one that’s online. Accept that no matter how much you want your early work to be great, that it’s not as good as you think. BUT! I swear that if you keep working at it, over the years it will improve enormously. So, the biggest secret to success, is to keep working to improve no matter how disheartening it gets.
G: Can you tell me about your favorite book? Why is it your favorite?
P: “I, Claudius” by Robert Graves is my favourite, although I reckon the style of it would put off most modern readers. It’s the story of a boy everybody thought was stupid, who rose to become Roman Emperor. The historical events described in it are more astonishing than anything fiction can produce.
Peadar, I can't thank you enough for your delightful fairy deviltry, and for taking the time to answer my questions! Congratulations again on the sequel, and good luck on your next project.
If you are interested in purchasing
The Call and The Invasion,
Check out Peadar on social media:
Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads
Previous author interviews:
Alexandra Oliva - The Last One
Andrew Shaffer - Fifty Shames of Earl Grey
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Hello! My name is Grete and welcome to my writing blog! I am a writer or romance, horror, and general observation