09 December 2012

Guest Blog: Mary Gilgannon

This week, we’re welcoming author Mary Gilgannon whose title THE SILVER WHEEL is set in ancient Celtic Britain. Mary is here to talk about the novel and offer a paperback copy to a lucky winner in the US or Canada only. Here's the blurb:

Visions of secret sacrifices, desperate battles and magical transformations haunt Sirona, a young seeress struggling to save her people from the ravages of the Roman invaders. Driven from her beloved home, she shares her destiny with Cruthin, a childhood friend obsessed with seeking out the mysteries of the Otherworld, and Bryn, a warrior graced with unexpected wisdom who loves her with all his generous heart.

Sirona’s journey takes her through forested glens and treacherous bogs to the land of the northern tribes and the court of the warrior queen Boudica. As she risks her life and her immortal spirit to change the course of history, Sirona discovers it is not warfare that will defeat the invaders, but magic and the intense connection of her people to the mystical forces of their homeland.

Blending history, romance, magic and mysticism, The Silver Wheel tells the story of the Celtic Britons and the triumph of the eternal forces that guide all our destinies.

**Q&A with Mary Gilgannon**

Can you give us some details of your latest release?

The Silver Wheel tells the story of the Roman conquest of Britain from the Celtic outlook.

As the Romans threaten to overrun Britain and conquer her people, Sirona, a young Drui-in-training in Wales, begins having visions. Desperate to discover what the gods intend for her, she joins her fellow student Cruthin in an ancient ceremony. Their flaunting of Drui rules results in both of them being banished, and Sirona sets off on a perilous journey to the north.

Five years later, Sirona is finally beginning to understand what her visions mean. Determined to change the course of history, she travels to warn Iceni queen Boudica of the danger to come. But Boudica refuses to listen, and Sirona is forced to risk her life and her immortal spirit to work a magical spell to save her people.

What was the inspiration for The Silver Wheel?

I read about a body found preserved in a peat bog near Lindow, England. The body was of a healthy, aristocratic young man who had been strangled, bludgeoned, had his throat cut and then was pushed into the bog. Because the body dates from the time of the Roman conquest in the early first century, some researchers surmise that this man was offered as a sacrifice to petition the Celtic deities to aid the British in their battle against the invaders. Reading about this discovery immediately started all sorts of plot ideas spinning in my mind. 

What was the most gratifying thing about publishing The Silver Wheel? 

This is by far the longest (over 160,000 words), most complex and demanding book I’ve written. I started it over ten years ago and it’s been through three massive rewrites. To finally end up with a version that I was satisfied with and then to see that version published has been nothing short of thrilling.

What time period inspires you the most?

I’ve written books set anywhere from the Bronze Age to the Regency era in the early 1800’s. My favorite time period is probably the Dark Ages, roughly 500 to 1000 A.D. Despite the ominous implications of the term “dark”, this was a period when a lot of intriguing cultures flourished:  the Vikings, the Celts and the Anglo Saxons. All of these cultures produced amazing art and dynamic heroes who still fascinate us to this day. These cultures are also largely responsible for the richness and depth of the English language and the vitality and dynamism of much of western civilization.

What was your greatest research challenge in writing The Silver Wheel?

Because they had no written language, the true religious and philosophical beliefs of the Celts are very hard to pin down. Much of what we know about them comes from either their enemies (like the Romans) or from legends and stories that were written down hundreds of years after their heyday. In addition, these tales and legends were transcribed by Christian monks who had their own religious biases. In creating the spiritual framework and belief systems of this book, I used historical sources, modern Celtic Wicca practices and beliefs, and great deal of my own imagination!    

What are you working on currently?

Right now I’m writing a time travel romance about an Irish warrior from the 9th century who ends up in modern day Denver. It’s a challenge for me because I’ve found that after years of researching and writing about the past, getting the details of modern American culture right is just as difficult as recreating the worlds of long ago!

For more information about her books, visit Mary’s website . She can also be found on Twitter  and Facebook