Nicole Peeler‘s Tempest Fury (UK | US | ANZ) is out now. It’s book five in her Jane True series (which starts with Tempest Rising – UK | US | ANZ) and to celebrate, here’s a guest post from Nicole on the inspiration for the series . . .
For me, it was a no brainer to make my protagonist, Jane, a selkie. Although it’s a relatively obscure mythology to some, and I only learned of it as a teenager, it’s the perfect inspiration for fiction.
For those of you who don’t know the selkie mythos, I blogged about it ages ago, with the help of a story from the Heritage of Orkney site. Basically, all the stories of selkie maidens are similar: man finds (or steals) a random seal skin left on the beach, woman shows up that night and they marry, many babies are born. Years pass, until the day one of the children finds the skin, and gives it to mom. Despite her love for her human family, the lure of the sea and her sea husband are stronger, and off she goes.
Sometimes she takes her children with her, and sometimes she doesn’t.
As a teenager, so many aspects of this myth affected me: the idea of a woman who could be trapped so easily; the idea of a person torn between two worlds; the idea of having something so important that other loves are swept aside for that one thing. But it was the children that really struck my fancy. What about the ones taken to sea? Did they miss their human life? Even more intriguing, however, were the ones left behind. What happened to them, cut off as they were from the magic that was half their heritage?
The resonance of the selkie mythology stuck with me. So when it came to write my own story, and my first thought was to write an anti-heroine, my next thought was almost instantaneous – “and she can be half-selkie.” It was like my intellectual curiosity had come full circle – I’d always wondered what happened to those children, and now I got to explore the possibilities in my own writing. And that opportunity for exploration is what I try to bring to my fiction – I’m curious about the world I’ve created, and I try to convey that curiosity to my readers.
So if you’re an aspiring writer, try to do something similar. Write what you love, what you’re interested in, what’s always made you think. You’ll find so much passion for your subject, at the same time you get to scratch an intellectual itch. And everyone enjoys a good scratch.