I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Jan DeLima, author of the Celtic Wolves series. Writers find inspiration everywhere, but we all have our favorite places. Like me, Jan finds lots of inspiration in nature.
Nature Provides Inspiration
by Jan DeLima
Thank you so much for participating in my first blog tour, and for inviting me to discuss my Celtic Wolves Series!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with my series, just imagine a world where the legends of Celtic lore still walk among us in secret. It’s a place where warriors are also wolves and reality isn’t always what it seems. Set in modern day, the stories are a mixture of both urban fantasy and romance. Written for adults, each installment has strong fantasy elements built around Celtic folklore, with a secondary romance between two new characters.
Nature was, and still is, an important influence for Celts. While my world is fictitious, the setting is very real, and I often let nature provide inspiration for my characters, as well as the environment they live in. Celtic Moon, the first book in the series, is set in my home state of Maine, at the end of the Appalachian Trail. Our mountain region is sometimes referred to as the Highlands of Maine, at least by romantics like me. J
When I began Summer Moon, Luc and Rosa’s story, I knew it would be set in New Hampshire, on an island surrounded by mountains and rivers—which this beautiful state has an abundance of. I’ve been for several visits and hikes, simply because I don’t like to write about an area unless I’ve experienced it firsthand. For me, writing inspiration can be found in tactile exploration, muses are fed, and any setting can be exciting when accuracy is woven within the fiction.
My inspiration for Rosa, the heroine in Summer Moon, came from one of my hikes in New Hampshire. Even though it is my neighboring state, I found slight differences. The paths were well traveled, and many of the trees had exposed roots from erosion–and I thought, “Survivors, like my heroine.” The paths were packed clay and gravel, unlike the trails around Katahdin, the setting for Celtic Moon. Katahdin trails are less traveled and remain wild. The colors were even different, more muted. I used these differences to build the motivation and environment of the story.
They followed her through a well-traveled path colored in sepia and muted browns—not the lush emeralds, blues and golds of Rhuddin Village.
No saplings lined the forest edge, too malnourished to survive tender beginnings. Only the elder trees provided minimal shelter, with roots exposed by years of erosion. Many grew around rocks and boulders and stretched their gnarled feet into a barren forest floor—survivors, like Rosa, he realized, refusing to die under the rule of a greedy king.
Elen from Autumn Moon is my only heroine with magical abilities besides shifting into a wolf. She can manipulate nature, and therefore surrounds herself with gardens and forests. I’ve used my own gardens for inspiration for descriptions.
The pain was like a fistful of heated needles shoved under her skin, greater than anything Merin had ever done to Elen in her childhood. Power did not like to be contained. It wanted release. Unfortunately, her body was the vessel that held it. Her nerves screamed with its force.
Elen winced as she undid the latch of the iron gate Koko had designed for her, an intricate weave of faeries on lilies that offered both beauty and privacy. Following the stone path, she stumbled toward the hidden gardens behind her beautiful little house. She regulated her breaths through clenched teeth, much like modern childbirth techniques.
With a broken moan of relief, after a day full of suspicious glances and avoidance from the villagers, Elen finally allowed the power to consume her. She collapsed in a bed of anise hyssop and let its vengeful pressure bleed from her skin and into the ground. Purple flowers bloomed around her and a licorice scent filled the air like a basketful of candy, offering treats and bellyaches of a more noxious variety.
The villagers thought she was this power-hungry freak, when in fact she was only a conductor, a mere rod of transference. She was a puppet of a merciless master, no more in control now than when it had first begun, when the gods had reached out their hands of vengeance with their unwanted gift.
The following photo is a bed of anise hyssop in my garden, similar to what Elen would have fallen into. It has a strong black licorice scent and bees love it.
And so I shall end with the bane of my garden: poison ivy. I’ve had to do full rounds of antibiotics twice because of this toxic plant. It surrounds my yard and keeps trying to creep in. Like many authors, experiences in life can influence my writing. These are the very first lines of Autumn Moon, although what’s creeping in is far more dangerous than poison ivy.
It crept from the forest under a blanket of morning mist. Elen felt its approach like a brush of poison ivy across her skin, smooth to the touch until its toxins seeped in.
“Leaves of three, let them be.” To be sure! Some people are lucky enough not to be allergic, but I am not one of them. There are quite a lot of harmless plants that grow with “three leaves.” But notice the extra “thumbs” on two of the leaves. That’s how you can identify poison ivy if you’re ever on a hike looking for inspiration. I just took the above photo, but it will be obnoxiously beautiful come autumn, turning shades of bright orange and gold.
Thank you again for inviting me to discuss some of my inspirations!
Celtic Wolves, Book One
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
September 24, 2013
Read the first chapter:
Amazon | B&N
Like father, like son...
Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He's going to end up being just like his father----a man who can change into a wolf.
Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him----an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war. Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe. One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.
When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared. For the first time in years, Dylan's lost family is within his grasp. But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it...
Celtic Wolves, Book Two
She won't be ruled again...
Rosa Alban has been obedient her entire life. But when her alpha husband dies, she seizes the opportunity to flee the oppressive Guardians—the rulers of the secret shapeshifter world. Her flight instantly brands her as a pack traitor, and she has no choice but to seek protection from a neighboring tribe by marrying one of their sons.
Known as the Beast of Merin, Luc Black loyally plays the part of unwanted son and devoted brother. He realizes marrying Rosa will strengthen his tribe’s territory, but he has no intention of loving ever again. Still, he’s unprepared for the intense physical need the wild she-wolf awakens in him.
When the Guardians hone in on Rosa, Luc must fight to protect his new bride. And as war descends, the unlikely allies discover their destinies are irrevocably entwined…
Celtic Wolves, Book Three
Expected Publication: September 29, 2015
Prequel for Autumn Moon:
The heart of a warrior, the soul of a wolf, and the desires of a man…
For centuries, Cormack has lived between worlds—a man trapped in the body of a wolf, shunned by humans and shifters alike. Only one person has ever welcomed his company: Elen, a kindred outcast who is feared by others of her ancient Celtic race for her strange healing abilities.
Cormack has always valued Elen’s kindness and understanding, but after a desperate act of friendship causes Elen to free him from his curse, he realizes he wants more. He wants all of her—completely and forever.Except before Cormack can win Elen’s heart, Pendaran, the evil leader of the Guardians, captures her, determined to manipulate her incredible power to aid him in his twisted war against the shapeshifting tribes.
Now Cormack must use all of his skills as a warrior and a wolf to save the woman he loves—before Pendaran’s vile schemes destroy them all…
About the Author
Jan DeLima is the author of the Celtic Wolves novels, including Summer Moon and Celtic Moon. She lives in Maine with her husband and their two sons. Unlike many authors, Jan didn’t pen stories at an early age, but she has always been a dedicated reader. She loves stories and storytelling. It wasn’t until after her children entered school that she began writing. Raised in a military family, she lived in different countries such as Thailand and Germany, but home base has always been Maine.