My Favorite Bit: Jodi McIsaac talks about INTO THE FIRE
Jodi McIsaac is joining us today with her novel, Into the Fire. Here’s the publisher’s description.
Cedar McLeod would like nothing more than to return to Tír na nÓg, help rebuild the mythical kingdom, and start a new life for herself and her daughter, Eden. But peace isn’t what Cedar finds after being reunited with her little girl.
Nuala—who kidnapped and terrorized Eden in her previous bid for power—has returned and is making a persuasive claim for the vacant throne. The devastation such a ruler would bring upon both the kingdom and the human world is unthinkable. With no one else to stake a convincing counter-claim, Cedar steps forward…but first she must prove her worth beyond a doubt.
Her opportunity comes when she is charged with finding an ancient treasure, the Stone of Destiny, and returning it to its rightful home. It is a quest that will lead her to question her beliefs, and push her loyalties to their limits. If she succeeds, Cedar could grant her new world and her new family a chance to flourish again. If not…destruction may be the only path ahead.
Into the Fire, the second book in the Thin Veil series, is a captivating blend of Celtic myth, mystery, and adventure that delves deeper into the ancient world first explored inThrough the Door.
What’s Jodi’s favorite bit?
I love research, especially when I stumble upon something so incredibly fascinating that it makes me stop whatever I’m doing just to follow that rabbit trail. While I was researching Through the Door, the first book in my Thin Veil series, I discovered a fascinating historical tidbit that just wouldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t use it in the first book (believe me, I tried!) but then the time came to write Into the Fire, and it was the perfect fit. So perfect, in fact, that I built the entire plot around it.
What I had discovered was the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Lia Fáil (pronounced LEE-ah FOIL) or the Stone of Scone. The wonderful thing about the Lia Fáil is that its origins are purely mythological, shrouded in mystery and magic … and yet the same stone has played a prominent role in history and can be seen today in the crown room of Edinburgh Castle. Irish lore is well-known for the blurring of history and myth, but no story is so deliciously rich in both fact and legend than that of the Stone of Destiny.
There are several stories about the Stone of Destiny, but the one that captivated me goes like this:
A long, loooong time ago (before time, actually), the Tuatha Dé Danann (ancient Irish deities) arrived in Ireland on a cloud from their home, the Four Cities. They brought with them four magical treasures, one from each city. There was a spear that never missed, a cauldron that was always filled with food, a sword that could never be defeated, and the Lia Fáil, a large stone which was said to have the power to rejuvenate the king, and would roar its pleasure whenever the rightful king stepped on it.
During their time in Ireland (before being defeated by the ancestors of the Celts and relegated to Tír na nÓg, the Otherworld), the Tuatha Dé Danann used the Lia Fáil as their coronation stone. It then passed into the hands of the High Kings of Ireland, and was used for centuries as their coronation stone. It was set on the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of the Irish kings (there is a large stone there today which is called the Lia Fáil, but most historians agree it is most certainly not the fabled Stone of Destiny).
Now we pass from myth into history—albeit ancient history. Several scholars posit that around 500 AD, the High King of Ireland, Murtach Mac Erc, loaned the stone to his brother Fergus, who was being crowned King of Alba (which we now know as Scotland). Shortly after the stone’s arrival in Scotland, Fergus and his inner circle drowned in a freak storm. And so the Lia Fáil was never returned to Ireland; instead, it remained at Scone Abbey, where it now became the Scottish coronation stone, and was known as the Stone of Scone. Here it remained until 1296, when it was taken by Edward I of England and installed under the coronation chair at Westminster Abbey. If you’ve seen the movie The King’s Speech, you’ll notice it under the throne in the background. And there it remained, from 1296 until Christmas Day in 1950, when a group of young Scottish nationalists broke into Westminster Abbey, stole the stone, and managed to get it across the border to Scotland. They then left it at Arbroath Abbey, presumably for safekeeping … but the church promptly handed the stone back over to England. However, in a symbolic gesture in 1996, Queen Elizabeth II returned the stone to Scotland, where it was placed alongside the crown jewels in Edinburgh Castle. When Prince Charles is crowned king (if he happens to outlive his mother), the stone will be returned to Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony.
Am I the only one who finds this fascinating? The stone that the gods were once crowned has been passed down through millennia of human kings and is still used to crown kings (and queens) today.
Of course, who’s to say that the current Stone of Destiny on display in Edinburgh Castle is the real stone? There have been countless opportunities to make a replica—and this is the mystery that confronts our heroine Cedar in Into the Fire. She must find the real Lia Fáil and use it to prove her rightful claim to the throne of Tír na nÓg, and save both her world and ours at the same time. Of course, she’s not the only one who is looking for it…
Jodi McIsaac grew up in New Brunswick, Canada. After stints as a short track speed skater, a speechwriter, and fundraising and marketing executive in the nonprofit sector, she started a boutique copywriting agency and began writing novels in the wee hours of the morning. She currently lives with her husband and two feisty daughters in Calgary.