We’re happy to welcome Carol Oates to share in our event today.

CTR: They say “everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” so are you really part Celt –that includes a group of nationalities and ethnic or tribal elements such as Irish, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Breton and residents of various islands around Great Britain—or just a fellow traveler fascinated by these amazing people?

CO: I am Irish, born and raised in Dublin. Unlike our friend St. Patrick who was actually British. He was brought to Ireland as a slave when he was a teenager and lived here for six years before returning home to take holy orders. It was much later he returned to Ireland as a bishop.

CTR: Obviously you have written a book with Celtic inspiration so please tell us a bit about it. The ISBN and buy link is always good and maybe some background or ‘story behind the story’ to pique our reader’s interest. Of course the Celts have long been known as bards, poets and story tellers so maybe that figures in too, right? You can provide a blurb here also!

CO: Since the death of their parents, Triona Pryor and her brother, Ben, have lived with their aunt and uncle in Camden, Maine. Now in her senior year of high school, Triona loves her family and friends, but she has always felt that she didn’t quite fit in…in Camden, or anywhere else.
Enter Caleb Wallace, the devilishly handsome man who has recently moved to Triona’s small town. While their attraction to each other is instantaneous, it also proves to be dangerous…and deadly.
When tragedy strikes, Triona flees to London for solace and to start her life anew. It’s there she discovers from an unlikely source that her family has been keeping secrets from her – secrets about not only her birthright, but her ultimate destiny as well. Armed with this knowledge, Triona finds herself thrown into a whole new world and into a battle to save the lives of everyone she loves.
My debut YA novel, Shades of Atlantis introduces the reader to the Guardians. They are race of supernatural beings that once populated the land now known as Ireland and, as well as a love story, it tells their history though a combination of Celtic and Arthurian legends.

CTR: What do you think is the special appeal of the Celts to modern readers? There seems to be a huge enthusiasm for those “kilty lads” as heroes 😉 and also for Celtic elements ranging from ancient to modern. I know some of the Celtic based spiritual paths such as Druidry are also gaining many new adherents. Do you think that is a result of, a driving force behind or just a parallel to the growing fandom for Celtic romances?

CO: I honestly don’t know what the attraction is. Maybe it’s the idea that it takes a manly man to wear a skirt. Lol.

I think it’s also good to remember there is a strong female influence in Celtic histories. Men were butch, fierce and protective but the goddesses, the queens and princesses, they weren’t just arm candy. Many were defiant and took their own path. They could be anything they wanted to be. They were leaders, land owners, warriors and revered scholars. There is great freedom in the knowledge Celtic woman were respected by their male counterparts, they were strong and reveled in their freedom when their female contemporaries elsewhere did not. Freedom to choose is a very attractive quality in the world of romance.

I would also like to believe Celtic culture is about bringing cultures of the world together too. There is evidence of Ogham or Primitive Irish writing that goes back almost 2,000 years, before that history was passed down around fires by word of mouth. The Celtic people have been invaders or been invaded since there were Celtic people. That is a lot of history and lot of cultural influences. Maybe people see a little of their own history in us because of this and so can connect to that history and its people.

CTR: Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and if so what do you and your friends or family do?

CO: Yes, I do celebrate. Most of my family will be in the local pub at some point. There will be a session with traditional music and the Guinness will be flowing. Believe me, you have not tasted Guinness until you have had it in Dublin on Paddy’s day. In Dublin there is a festival that goes on over a few days. There will be bands, parades, funfairs and fireworks. We go all out. The older generation will wear green and a sprig of Shamrock pinned to their clothes. St. Patrick’s day is a holy day of obligation and mass is held along with the other celebrations. Generally at home we will have boiled bacon and cabbage for dinner or Irish stew, this year I am making Guinness and steak pie. I like the black stuff, can you tell? It’s also my friend’s birthday so we toast that too. I’ve never seen green beer in real life. I think it would be pretty hard to find in an Irish pub here, but we do get a shamrock design on the head of our Guinness.

CTR: If you could choose a Celtic people or place/event to visit, maybe by a time machine, where would you go and why?

CO: I think I would go back the time of the Irish rising. It may not seem very Celtic but it was an extremely important time for Ireland in establishing itself as a nation separate from Britain. It was also around that time that the Irish language as we know today evolved. That was a time now referred to as The Celtic Revival. My grandmother was a runner for Michael Collins and my grandfather was a British soldier, although he was born in Dublin. My grandmother was one of those strong Celtic women; she never allowed anyone to tell her what to do. She was also the first woman to enter an all-male barracks after it was handed over by the British. I would have loved to have seen her in action back then.

CTR: Do you have a favorite Celtic-themed book (besides yours of course) and what do you especially love about it? A fave author who writes Celtic inspired stories?

CO: Not especially, I don’t read many Celtic-themed books. I adore the old Celtic legends and histories and if I’m going for Celtic it is usually something very old. That answer makes me want to expand my horizons. One book I did read recently with a Celtic theme was Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez, feisty with a touch of magic and a smoking hot leading man complete with Irish brogue.

CTR: It seems the Celts are all known for their music. The folk music store is rich and loved by many whether the Irish dance tunes and ballads, the Welsh choral tradition, the Scots airs and laments or the evocative music of Brittany. Do you have a favorite Celtic artist or album? Do you play some of that music when you are writing to enhance the creative process? When did you discover that artist or style of music?

CO: I do like Celtic Music, my brother plays the bodhrán (Irish drum) and that has been known to come out on occasion. I don’t specifically listen to Celtic music to inspire writing. I’m surrounded by Celtic inspiration every day. My favorite piece is quite modern by some standards and called Bonny Portmore, it was first published in 1840. Most people will know Loreena Mckinnitt’s version. The song is about an ancient oak tree that is meant to have stood on the shores of Lough Portmore in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. I get a lump in my throat every time I hear it.

CTR: Before we say farewell, please tell us where we can learn more about you and your books, how to find your blog, website, twitter or Facebook pages, etc.

CO: My novel, Shades of Atlantis is published by Omnific Publishing. It is available in paperback and all e-formats. You can find more information on my website CarolOates.com. I’m also on twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Go raibh maith agaibh agus lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh . Sláinte agus táinte!

CTR: Thanks for sharing this happy event with us all.

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