Every writer has his or her own sources of inspiration. For me, lore and mythology are one of the biggest, especially Ireland and its folktales.
I would not say I am a “Plastic Paddy”. First of all, I am not American and secondly, I am not claiming I have Irish blood flowing through my veins; I doubt there even is one droplet inside of me. I do not like Ireland for its clovers, its rugby and its leprechauns. I like it for its music, its beautiful landscapes and its delicious beer – which thankfully I am allowed to drink. I like Ireland for its castles, its nice language and wonderful tales. Yes, leprechauns are part of these tales, but not nearly as much as people make them out to be. The atmosphere of the country as a whole is why I adore it, not just because of some symbols people like to bring up.
However, my inspiration does mostly come from the mythology. While I do know about the tales of Cú Chulainn and Fionn mac Cumhaill, these are already tales on their own. I prefer taking smaller elements from the Celtic mythology. To me, creatures like merrows and selkies are perfect subjects for children’s books, although not many people seem have the same opinion. Kelpies (although Scottish), sìdhe and banshees… They all appear to be material for horror stories, as the mythology on its own is often already horrific as it is.
One of the books I loved most as a child is David Almond’s Skellig. Although I am not entirely sure on where this book was set, to me, it breathed the Irish atmosphere (having the main character named after an Irish island might have helped in that aspect). It was mysterious and slightly dark, the kind of book most children like me like. Although the manuscript I’m working on at the moment is not Celtic at all, I am planning on incorporating a few aspects of the culture in the future. I would love my stories to have that atmosphere that made me want to devour other people’s mysterious tales.
Someday, I am going to visit Ireland. Scotland and England are on my list as well. The rule says that as writers, we have to write about what we know. Maybe I am not fit for this yet, since I have never been on the Celtic islands. I can still read the tales and dream of what it would be like. Hopefully, that would be enough for now.