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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Irish Inspiration

I’m often asked where my story ideas spring from. An interesting face, lyrical tune, or unusual place name can send my mind racing away with a new story idea. But if I had to choose one type of stimuli that inspires me the most, I’d choose places.

When I visit historic houses and ancient villages or towns I always leave dying to use them as settings in my books. Although I write paranormal romance and not historical romance, the sense of history that oozes from the very stones of the buildings sets my blood racing. I’m lucky that living in England I have access to many ancient buildings and acres of mystical countryside. I love walking through a medieval manor house seeing the swords and armor on the walls, walking across flagstone floors knowing I’m treading in the footsteps of people long dead who walked their centuries earlier. Once I have a story idea, I read about myths, legends, and folk law to give me ideas on how to blend paranormal elements with the setting.

On a visit to County Cork, Ireland a few years ago I visited a beautiful and romantic manor house overlooking Bantry bay called Bantry House. This was the inspiration for the home of my hero in The Feast of Beauty. The final scene in the novella includes a fountain that was inspired by the fountain at Bantry House that is covered in seashells. If you vacation in Ireland, this place is well worth a visit.

Back Cover Blurb

Kate’s grandmother’s dying wish is that she should return her pearl pendant to Knocknapog, the tiny fishing village in Ireland where she was born. As production assistant at a television company, Kate is able to book a shoot at the village’s mysterious Midsummer Feast of Beauty. She and her colleagues stay with the wealthy local landowner Esras Mac Lir, who organizes the midsummer celebration. But he is not what she expects. With his unearthly silver hair and emerald eyes, there is something magical about him, something compelling and seductive that mesmerizes her and invades her dreams. And when he claims to have been waiting for her all his life, she doesn't know whether he's a romantic, or living in a fantasy world—until he proves that they share a magical heritage and that she truly is his Feast of Beauty Queen.

This book is a novella of 11,500 words. It was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. This is a revised version of the original story.

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  1. Everytime I look at that cover, I'm struck by its beauty. And the words inside of the book matche the cover!

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Helen--what a gorgeous cover! The story sounds intriguing, and oh, so romantic! Good luck!

  3. I do love that cover. The story looks magical too.

  4. Thanks! My daughter designed this cover for me. I love it as well.

  5. I love the cover. It really draws you into the story. Well done!

  6. Is this an inspirational romance, or do you mean it was inspired by a visit to Ireland? The tweet makes it sound inspirarional.

  7. Beautiful cover. Sounds wonderful.