I’m delighted to welcome Micheál Cladáin to the blog, to share his historical research with us, no matter how strange.
I wouldn’t consider my research processes particularly strange. I have a mountain of reference books (see the picture for a small sample), which I read from cover to cover and refer to continually.
Of course, there are many more – including those in my Kindle library. I took classical studies at UNI, so it is understandable. After editing, I find research to be the most time-consuming aspect of writing, however enjoyable. I would say that three-fifths of my time spent producing a novel is on research, two-fifths on writing, and half on editing. I am not sure if this division is typical of other writers.
An aspect of my research that does not involve reading is visiting sites of ancient monuments or reconstructions thereof. Something that might be considered strange is I take loads of photos that I use to sketch mood boards. It might be classed as quirky behaviour, but it helps me set the scene when I write. Often I will create a sketch for a particular piece I am about to write.
Let me throw out some examples. I took the following photo at the Irish Heritage Centre in Wexford. It shows the interior of an Ancient Irish roundhouse.
I used the photo to create the following sketch.
That was a general mood graphic on my mood board, whereas the following two pictures represent a specific event. Genonn and Oengus at the hostel. Again, the photo was taken at the Wexford Heritage Centre.
I used the photo to sketch the following.
For something more relevant, I took the following photo in Drombeg, West Cork.
I used the photo to create a sketch of Genonn at the sacred circle outside Caer Leb on the Isle of Anglesey. Some might say it is not an authentic mood setter because I would need to have taken a photo of a stone circle on Anglesey, preferably near Afon Briant, where Caer Leb is located. However, one stone circle is much like another.
The picture gives me a sense of place and time.
Some might ask why I create sketches. Why not just use the photos as a mood board? Aside from my general quirkiness, adding characters to the pictures gives them context. I sketch them in black and white because it creates a sense of distance in time. I don’t know why, because it is nonsense, but I feel that the ancient world was much less colourful than our world today.
And finally, I took the following photo from inside a stone fort near Waterville in Kerry, which was ideal for creating an image of Luchar. Again, Luchar’s stone fortress was in Wales, but I currently have no access. Perhaps next year, I will make a point of visiting Tre’r Cieri to take some photos.
The next book in the series, Iron, has quite a few scenes in Rome, so needless to say, I will be in the Eternal City next week snapping pickies of the Forum and the Colosseum.
Thank you so much for sharing. Enjoy your trip to Rome.
Here’s the blurb
Genonn’s tired and dreams of a remote roundhouse in the Cuala Mountains.
However, sudden rebellion in Roman Britain destroys that dream because the Elder Council task him with delivering Lorg Mór, the hammer of the Gods, to the tribes across the straits of Pwll Ceris. Despite being torn between a waning sense of duty and his desire to become a hermit, Genonn finally agrees to help.
When his daughter follows him into danger, it tests his resolve. He wants to do everything he can to see her back to Druid Island and her mother. This new test of will means he is once again conflicted between duty and desire. Ultimately, his sense of duty wins; is it the right decision? Has he done the right thing by relegating his daughter’s safety below his commitment to the clans?
Hammer is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.
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Micheál has been an author for many years. He studied Classics and developed a love of Greek and Roman culture through those studies. In particular, he loved their mythologies. As well as a classical education, bedtime stories consisted of tales read from a great tome of Greek Mythology, and Micheál was destined to become a storyteller from those times.
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