Although Nancy Monaghan, an educator currently living in Florida, did not grow up in Ireland, she believes there is no other country more beautiful. After having visited Ireland several times during her many tours to Europe, Nancy felt that she'd "come home", believing that perhaps there is such a thing as "ancestral memory".
From these visits, Nancy wrote a slew of novels aimed at young adults, beginning with her adventure The Druid Stone after failing to find books for young adults with a Celtic theme. "The characters of my books are strong, capable young adults who triumph over adversity. Hopefully, providing a positive role model in a setting where justice prevails will give encouragement and comfort to others."
"Having been inspired and enthused about the Celtic culture for most of my life," she tells the Celtic Cafe. "I was determined to create a series of books that would introduce children and young adults to the beauty, mysticism and history of the Celtic peoples." Her interest in Celtic mythology, folklore, legend and history goes back to her early years when she sat spellbound, listening to the old legends and wanting to create the same fascination she had felt then with young adults today.
The Druid Stone offers two Celtic mysteries -- 'The Spirit Stone'and 'The Isle of Mist'. 'The Spirit Stone' tells the story of Kelly Monaghan who visits her cousins in Ireland, only to become the target of a centuries-old curse. In 'The Isle of Mist', a young American girl of Scottish descent is thrust into the ancient world of feuding Scottish clans in the Highlands.
Why Celtic mysteries? "I have a great pride in my Irish heritage. I also believe that I owe a great debt to my emigrant Irish ancestors who endured incredible hardships to create a better life for their descendants. My g-g-granda, Hugh Monaghan, was forced to leave his beloved Donegal during An Gorta Mor, the Great Starvation, in Ireland. Until his dying day, he yearned for the emerald green fields of home. In writing these books, I have tried to honor the memory of Hugh and all the other courageous emigrants who sacrificed to provide us with a better life than they had."
As a reunited adoptee, Nancy wrote The Adoption Legacy, which tells about an adoptee who searches for her heritage and finds that her legacy reflects the turbulent historical struggle between Ireland and England. Nancy describes The Adoption Legacy as a spiritual and historical journey that would assure adopted children that their feelings "are valid and shared by many others." She considers the book an excellent book for birth parents and adoptive parents to help them understand the feelings their child might experience.
All her books are backed up with historical and geographical research. A regular at the St. Petersburg Library, Nancy also uses online reference sources, maps and historical documents for her novels. To Nancy, writing begins with an idea which she mulls over for a while until slowly, the premise of her story develops and reveals itself. At this point, Nancy begins her extensive research, never truly knowing as she writes how the story will end, allowing her story to unfold as she goes along.
Aside from being a writer, on which Nancy gushes, "I've always loved writing. .. I find the writing process to be invigorating and, if I could, I’d spend most of my time creating new fiction." Nancy still teaches elementary school children in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she lives with her husband, Bruce, and youngest son, Sean. Nancy loves her work as an educator, saying, "Nothing can compare with the elation you feel when you’ve taught a child to read ~ you know that you’ve opened up new worlds to that child. As teachers, we strive to instill a life-long love of reading and a social conscience that appreciates and respects all cultures and people."
Among the reviews being generated by the publication of The Druid Stone, Kathleen McGowan, editor for the Irish News and Entertainment says, "The success of Monaghan's work comes from her ability to blend the richness of Celtic history with ripping adventure. The stories will hold the attention of young adult readers while providing a generous background of Irish and Scottish history in an entertaining way. Although The Druid Stone is a marvelous read for young people of Celtic heritage, these timeless stories are certain to appeal to individuals from all cultures."
And with such wonderful words, the Celtic Cafe expresses its heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Nancy Monaghan, Featured Writer for April. Click on the links on the left to purchase her novels, as well as visit her official site.
You can now order the hardcover edition of The Druid Stone as well as an original signed copy by Nancy by clicking here.
Copyright 2000 The Celtic Cafe. Article written by Velvet Durano. Quotes reprinted with permission by author, Nancy Monaghan.
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