Writers And Their Chosen Settings – Kathleen S. Allen

“So much of who we are is where we have been.” – William Langewiesche

On Tuesdays, I post a guest blog by a writer about a special setting, real or imaginary, they chose for their work.

Today’s guest blog is by Kathleen S. Allen, author of Aine and Faerie Folk

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Hi, I am Kathleen S. Allen. I write Young Adult fantasy. My favourite setting has to be Ireland, where I set both of my faerie books, Aine and the sequel, Faerie Folk. I am enamoured of Ireland. I have never been there but I feel a connection to the country.

I began researching my family’s history and found out my great-great grandmother came from Ireland. She was sent to America at the age of sixteen on a ship during the potato famine and met and married a Bavarian man on the ship. The captain of the ship married them and she ended up settling in Ohio and had eleven children. She had a younger sister who stayed in Ireland and parents who also stayed. That’s all the information I could find out about her. I wondered, why was she the only one to leave Ireland? Why not the younger sister, too? I thought maybe the younger sister was ill or had died. I have no idea what happened to her parents.

For Aine I researched Irish legends and came across the Iegend of the Irish Goddess, Aine, I talk about it in Aine. The legend fascinated me so I decided to write a story about the legend and incorporate it with the legend of the Irish banshee. I have always loved the coast and the ocean, so putting Aine and Faerie Folk on the coast of Ireland was a given. I used the legend of Merlin bringing the Stonehenge stones–called the Giant’s Dance or the Great Stones of Ireland to Stonehenge–in a more recent book.

Let’s take a tour of my ideal setting. First I travel up the coast of Ireland just outside of Galway–where I teach creative writing at the National University of Ireland in Galway–to a small thatched roof whitewashed cottage off the main road but accessible. There are emerald green fields surrounding the cottage on three sides, one of these leads to a cliff above the sea. There is a small garden out front filled with vegetables and at least two cats roaming around. Inside the wooden floors gleam as I walk into the living room. There is a working fireplace, comfy chairs and along each wall are built-in bookcases filled with books. An old fashioned wooden desk sits under a window where I do my writing. On one side of the desk is my laptop, and on the other is a teapot under a tea cozy. Continuing to the kitchen I find a spacious kitchen with a white farmhouse style sink, cupboards and a breakfast nook that overlooks the garden where a small wooden table with four chairs sit waiting for my next meal. Down the hall is the loo with a working hot shower, and I come to the bedrooms at the back of the cottage. The guest bedroom is small, big enough for two single beds and a dresser with a small wardrobe. The master bedroom is slightly larger with room for a queen-sized bed, a dresser and a wardrobe. There is a cozy window seat that overlooks the side that faces the sea and the blue water sparkles as the sunlight glints off of it. It is my favourite place to read, if I can get the cats off of it! The laundry room is also in the back with a full size washer and dryer. Out the back door I walk to the cliff to look out over the sea and spy stairs leading down to the beach below. As I go down the stairs I begin to hear the cries of the seals that populate the coast. Their sound goes right through to my heart and I catch my breath. Taking off my shoes I wade in the still cold water, watching the waves as they wash over my feet. The seals float off shore watching me as I walk the beach but they are not afraid because I do this nearly every day and they are used to my presence. There is no place lovelier on earth than the coast of Ireland and I rejoice that I have found my paradise, at last.

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A big thank you to Kathleen S. Allen for sharing this guest blog about her ideal setting. To find out more about her and her writing, visit her website www.gaelicfairie.webs.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter as @kathleea. Kathleen’s next book, Lore Of Fei, will be published in April 2012.

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