Ali Isaac recently popped by to tell me all about her new book. It was a welcome break from the formatting I’ve been doing for my new book.
Over to you Ali…
What’s the name of the book?
Conor Kelly and The Fenian King.
What inspired you to write it?
This is the second book in my Tir na Nog Trilogy. I was inspired to write this series, basically because when the Harry Potter story came to an end, I felt there was a void. I turned to the Percy Jackson series, which was fun, but just didn’t have the same depth. So I decided to write a story based on Irish mythology, which most people have never heard of, and give it a truly flawed hero.
Tell us a little about the story and the characters.
Teenager Conor Kelly, the main protagonist, is wheelchair-bound and mute, but there is a lot going on in his head, for sure! Conor is flawed not just as a result of his disabilities, but also by his crippling self-doubt and denial. However, heroes are not made by physical prowess alone, as Conor learns, usually the hard way, during his journey throughout the series.
In this particular book, he is joined by his cousin, Ciara, stroppy and feisty and not at all willing to be his minder whilst his family dump Conor and head off on a hill walking expedition. But she soon finds herself pulled into Conor’s weird and mysterious world.
Here’s the blurb;
It’s happened again. Somehow, Sidhe-Princess Annalee has embroiled Conor in another hopeless quest on behalf of her people, Ireland’s fairy folk, the Sidhe. Last time, he very nearly got himself killed. This time, things look even worse.
For a start, Annalee can’t help him. She’s been imprisoned, accused of murdering her own father. The people of the magical realm are at war amongst themselves, whilst Tir na Nog crumbles into the sea and disaster strikes.
The sacred sisterhood of the Morrigan has arisen, wreaking havoc and destruction which threatens not only the future of the magical realm, but the world of mortals too. The Morrigan must be stopped, but how? The heroes of old are all long gone.
Conor Kelly can’t walk. He can’t talk. He’s just a boy in a wheelchair, but with the help of feisty side-kick Ciara, his drop-out cousin, Conor sets out in search of the mysterious Fenian King, prophesied of old to awake from his slumber beneath the green hills of Ireland, and ride to the aid of his people in their hour of greatest need.
Along the way, Conor unearths a personal secret which undermines all he has believed about his own identity, throwing him deep into confusion. Beset by uncertainty and fear, the mortal boy must dig deep if he is to overcome his demons and save his friends.
However, the search for the Fenian King is anything but easy. Known by the name of Fionn mac Cumhall, his exploits as leader of legendary war-band, the Fianna, are still told with awe today.
So just where do you start your search for Ireland’s greatest hero? Well, first you google it, of course. Then you ask the cat…
Do you have any plans for a follow-up book?
I took a break from writing this series to concentrate on my blog, and work on another book, a YA shape-shifter romance called Swanskin. It’s also (very loosely) based on Irish mythology. I haven’t published it yet, as I have entered it into the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition, but I have the cover art standing by and just waiting to go.
I’ve managed to write the first few chapters of the final book of the Tir na Nog Trilogy, although it doesn’t even have a proper title yet! I hope to have it completed by next summer. The series needs its resolution, and I think most people will be a bit surprised by the ending. 😄 I’m a very slow writer… it will be close on ten years before this series is complete lol! I started university in September, too, so most of my time and energy will be devoted to my studies for the next three years. I can’t stop writing, though… it’s in my blood, it’s part of who I am.
Where can people buy the book?
Amazon – Click here.
Smashwords – Click here.
Feed-A-Read – Click here.
What do you think the future hold for you and your books?
Well, I have another YA stand-alone book to write, inspired by Ireland’s tradition of holy wells. And a prequel to the Tir na Nog Trilogy all about its anti-hero, Annalee. I also want to write a series of non-fiction mini-guides to Irish mythology, and another series about its High Kings. I want to grow my blog, and I am currently working on a Vlog to run alongside it. I think that’s enough to keep me busy for another ten years, don’t you think?
What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who wants to write and publish a book?
I don’t usually give any because there are many writers out there who know much more about the craft than I do. Having said that, there are a couple of things I have learned during my writing journey so far that I think are important to know.
- Read a LOT! Go out of your comfort zone and read outside of your usual preferred genre. Not only will you discover some great authors and books, but it’s the best way to learn how to write, and in some cases, how not to.
- Enter writing prompts and competitions. It will stretch you, and help you develop your writing skills and style. You may also get some valuable feedback. Personally, I never thought I could write flash fiction till I started entering Sacha Black’s Writespiration. Similarly, with poetry, I felt doubtful of my ability, until I entered Jane Dougherty’s Poetry prompts. I’m still not a great poet, but joining in gave me confidence. Best of all, it’s FUN!
- Just write. Have a go. You don’t know what you’re capable of till you try, and that applies to all things in life, not just writing.
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