Today I have the honor of hosting Colleen Halverson, author of the gorgeous new paranormal romance, THROUGH THE VEIL. Stay tuned after the guest post for more info about Colleen and her book, as well as a fabulous giveaway!
Finding Inspiration from the Celtic Twilight
I love writing a villain, and when I began work on Edward Thornton, the evil wizard in Through the Veil, I drew a lot of inspiration from poet WB Yeats’s adventures in the occult. Personally, when it comes to things concerning the dark forces in the universe, I take a page out of Stevie Wonder’s book. If you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer. As a curious teenager, I had a few peculiar run-ins with a Ouija board and some wayward spirits, but in my heart, I think there are some forces in this world that are better left alone.
But when I started developing Edward Thornton for Through the Veil, I returned to a very strange section from WB Yeats’s Celtic Twilight. Part poetry, part anthropological study, part folklore, part travel anecdotes, The Celtic Twilight reveals Yeats’s deep commitment to understanding the misty world of the Irish otherworld, the land of the Faeries, and the in-between spaces where spirits dwell. Inspired by the Faerie stories he heard as a child growing up in Sligo, Yeats delved deeply into the occult first with the Order of the Golden Dawn and later with his wife Georgie Hyde-Lees in their forays with séances and automatic writing. WB Yeats was a seeker, and that’s nowhere more evident than in his writings within The Celtic Twilight as he attempts to map out a shadowy place seemingly just out of his reach.
One section of The Celtic Twilight called “The Sorcerers” is a key inspiration for the wizard Edward Thornton. Here, Yeats speaks of a “secret society” within Ireland “who try to communicate with evil powers…their purpose and practice wholly hidden from those among whom they live.” They invite Yeats to one of their rituals, and he agrees but he wants to remain an objective observer, refusing to allow himself to “become entranced.”
When Yeats shows up to the ritual, he finds the leader dressed in a black gown, “like an inquisitor’s dress in an old drawing, that left nothing of him visible: except his eyes, which peered out through two small holes.” There are the usual occult accoutrements: burning herbs, a skull, painted stones, a chicken sacrifice. The group chants in a language “certainly not English” but has a “deep guttural sound.” Something comes over Yeats, and he tries to resist it, but he sees black clouds forming around him. Terrified and feeling himself sinking into some languid trance, he uses the force of his mind to push the clouds back.
Later, he asks one of the sorcerers what would have happened if the dark spirits had overpowered him. The sorcerer replies he would “go out of this room…with his character added to your own.” Yeats expresses how for days afterward, he felt a number of “deformed and grotesque figures” lingering around him.
For me, the line that sparked my imagination occurs when Yeats asks the sorcerer about the origin of his magic. The sorcerer gives a flippant response, saying he learned it from his father. Yeats writes, “He would not tell me more, for he had, it appeared taken a vow of secrecy.” I can trace the origins to Edward Thornton to this line. What was this secret society? Where did they come from? What sort of dark forces had they tapped into? What if someone had exploited their knowledge? Used it for foul purposes?
It’s very likely the group of sorcerers were a bunch of lads from Donegal trying to take the mickey out of Yeats by putting on a big magic show for him. Whether Yeats really saw dark spirits or if it was just a bunch of smoke and mirrors, doesn’t matter to me, honestly. He would go on and take these experiences to write some of the greatest poetry of the twentieth century. Thankfully, I don’t need to sacrifice a chicken to write my villains. Sometimes opening up to the possibility of magic is enough to spark the imagination.
About The Author
As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshman. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children.
Elizabeth Tanner is no Tinkerbell, and her life is no fairy tale. Broke and drowning in student loans, the one thing she wants more than anything is a scholarship from the Trinity Foundation. But after the ancient Irish text she's studying turns out to be more than just a book, she becomes their prisoner instead. And when Trinity reveals Elizabeth is half-Fae, she finds herself at the center of a plot to save the magical races of Ireland from a brutal civil war.
As Commander of Trinity's elite warriors, Finn O'Connell isn't used to having his authority challenged. He doesn't know whether to punish or protect the infuriating young woman in his custody. When he discovers the Dark Fae want to use Elizabeth's abilities to control the source of all power in the universe, he'll risk everything to help her.
At the mercy of Trinity and enslaved to the Dark Fae, Elizabeth finds herself alone on the wrong side of an Irish myth thousands of years in the making. Refusing to be a pawn in their game, Elizabeth has to fight her way back to the man she loves, but to do so, she must wage her own war against the magic that binds her.
THROUGH THE VEIL will be available February 22nd 2016 through Entangled Publishing.