Today I'm so happy to welcome Daisy Banks, dear friend and an extraordinary writer. She's an author on my roster, whose list of books published by Lyrical Press includes A Matter of Some Scandal, a historical romance, and Timeless, a contemporary paranormal romance that released earlier this month. Today we're talking about Fiona's Wish, her contemporary romance with fantasy/paranormal elements which was included in Lyrical Press's 2012 Irish Stories Collection. (Yes, I'm late late on getting to this, for which I grovel to all the fantastic authors who've been waiting for me to post their interviews and talk up their books.)
How about a look at her delicious cover, and a peek into the story?
Left shattered by her lover, Fiona Murray believes not one good man lives on this planet. She leaves civilization to work on a lonely isle off Ireland's coast.
When lonely Selkie Ronan hears Fiona's passionate call, he can't help but answer her. She is all he desires, and for her, he will leave all he's ever known--the deep blue sea. But Fate and the sea are fickle mistresses, and want him back. Will he find the strength to surrender all he is to be with Fiona?
And can Fiona, knowing her destiny without him, let him live the life he deserves?
Fiona's Wish is a new take on the age old Irish Selkie legend. I loved this story! Without further ado, here's what Daisy Banks said when we sat down to chat.
MM: what about Ireland made you want to set your story there?
DB: I chose an imaginary island off the Irish coast as the setting for Fiona’s Wish because I love the Celtic islands. I’ve found them fascinating since I was a child. I think they have a wonderful, majestic, appealing wildness and beauty. I must say as well, the call for submissions asked for stories set in Ireland which kind of influenced me a little too.
Though, of course, to use Ireland as a setting for a story was no hardship. Ireland is full of magic, mystery, charm, legend and history. There is something so dramatic and powerful about the coast there it takes your breath. I sound like an advert from the Irish tourist board, but I believe it to be true. Ireland is a very beautiful part of the world and its coast, a treasure. Of course, the readily available Guinness and scrumptious soda bread may also have something to do with my admiration. I also find the people fascinating. Listening to them speak is like listening to music. Oh, and I love Irish folk music too.
MM: As a reader, your characters seem real to me. I see them clearly in my imagination as I read, can even hear their voices. Could you describe them a little for us? What traits do they have that you just love?
DB: Fiona Murray, the heroine of Fiona’s Wish, is a woman who’s suffered a broken romance which has destroyed her faith in people, men in general. Betrayal is a difficult thing for anyone to overcome; some people find it almost impossible. Fiona’s way to try to cope is to hide away, and her job on the Isle allows her to attempt to disappear and nurse her pain.
As a Selkie, Ronan’s entire focus is to offer comfort to those who call for it. He answers Fiona’s wish, fulfills her needs in the best way he can and falls desperately in love with her. Rules and irrevocable laws don’t matter in the face of this kind of love.
I enjoyed both these characters. Fiona’s initial doubts and how she grasps an opportunity to discover all she can about love, the way she steps into an emotional whirlwind knowing there are no certainties. I liked that courage about her.
Ronan--he simply makes me sigh. I didn’t invent the myth of the Selkie; he is my imagination’s creation set within the limits of the legend. I enjoyed exploring the power of his emotions and his discoveries about the world. So far, this is the one character I have written who made me cry.
MM: If you could spend a month in Ireland on a dream vacation, what would you want to see, what places would you like to visit?
DB: If I had such an opportunity, I would like to tour the entire coast and take boat rides out to the islands. I’d also like to visit some of the religious sites in Ireland, both Christian and Pagan. Saint Bridget’s Well holds a special lure for me. St Bridget is an interesting character. I’d want to see those Cork and Kerry mountains, the ones in the song Whiskey in the Jar. I'd also like to visit one or two of the Irish whiskey distilleries. I’d want to spend some time in Dublin, and I’d like to enjoy the literary tour there. Ireland has a huge literary history, both in writing and in the traditional folk tales which have been told for generations. A trip to the Giant’s Causeway would be a very high priority too, as it’s such an amazing sight. I’d also like to have the time to do a little genealogy and try to find out about my husband’s ancestors and some of my own--both our families have Irish connections. My husband is dark Irish, dark hair and green eyes, whereas I’ve got the pale freckly kind of Irish coloring, with reddish hair.
I’d enjoy the chance to sample some of the food delicacies from Ireland, including the wonderful shellfish. We all remember the song Mary Malone with her "Cockles and mussels alive, alive oh." Most of all I’d want to be able to soak up the atmosphere; breathe the taste and scent of Ireland and let myself be swept away by the legends of warriors and wizards, little folk and clever youngest sons, by the skills of bards and poets, the humor of people who can find the elusive laughter in the strangest situations. There’s a lot I’d want to see in Ireland.
MM: What was your favorite part of the editing process?
DB: I am afraid I have to put here the end of the editing process, which I am certain will make my lovely editor chuckle.
Edits are hard work. I have yet to meet an author who doesn’t think so, but edits are also great learning experiences and I learned a lot from the editing process on Fiona’s Wish.
I like the challenge of finding other ways to say something, looking for different words to describe and offer readers the sense of a place or an emotion.
It is a wonderful experience to work with an editor you like and trust, a skilled person who you know will help you get the very best out of the story you’ve constructed. I feel both lucky and privileged to have that kind of relationship with my editor.
There is something very special about getting a galley copy back from your editor and seeing your book all ready to go to readers. I get a real thrill out of that. It makes me want to email all my friends and say, "Hey, the book’s ready."
MM: I'm still chuckling, Daisy, but not in an evil editor sort of way. It's more of a "you poor dear" chuckle. Edits are hard work, and we have a blast while working on them, but it's draining, concentrating so intensely on how every word on the page should function. You always dedicate yourself to every word, and I love that about you. Thank you so much for visiting with me! What are you up to after this?
DB: My new story Timeless released with Lyrical Press in July. It's a full-length novel, my first classified as erotica, which has two of my favorite characters in it. I am looking forward to readers enjoying them. Timeless is a werewolf story, with links to the music industry, a magnificent Bentley Continental touring car and the English countryside at its most glorious. I so enjoyed writing it.
I am also working on another eighteenth century historical, a story prompted by a visit to the caves once used by the Hell Fire Club. I discovered the gentlemen of the club were more interesting than we’ve perhaps been led to understand, and a story with links to them and their beliefs came to my mind. I hope to finish the story soon.
There is also a story with a futuristic sci-fi kind of theme, which is almost complete. Very different from anything I have yet attempted, and I have to say, the hero has caused consternation among my critique partners, some of whom love him, some of whom loathe him. He’s provoked interesting responses. I hope to have that story finished and ready for submission too.
I have a lot of work to do in promoting and advertising my stories, something I find rather difficult, being rather reserved. I am also working hard to increase my skill level, so I can offer readers the most enjoyable reading experience possible. My overall goal is to make sure if a reader buys one of my stories, they get the best I can give them.
A few people have been kind enough to say they like my stories, which I find pleasing, and I hope more people will do so in the future. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you and thanks for the opportunity.
MM: Thank you, Daisy!