Genres: The story is an Action/ Adventure set in 1916. It encompasses elements of the 1916 Rising and Irish myth and would belong in the Fantasy genre.
Bran—a war weary veteran of many conflicts has always closely guarded a dark secret. Now, as he fights for the survival of his men in the brutal trenches, his past has come back to haunt him. Rioghnach, a dark fairy woman, has arisen after centuries beneath the ground. She has been driven mad and power-hungry by her imprisonment. Bran must put aside his loyalties and finally return home. Ireland is a land on the verge of political turmoil and civil unrest. As the time of the Easter Rising draws near a sequence of events will begin to unravel that could bring about an age of darkness. Bran holds the key to their salvation but it could bring about a fate worse than death.
The boys were nervous, the tension even more palpable than usual. The number of explosions had increased a lot in the last few weeks. The cave-ins had taken friends from all the men and the most experienced diggers had succumbed to the German offensive. Bran was nervous too. His boys weren’t like the diggers - men who had worked in mines and dig works for years before the war. They were fearless, those large men with their gruff northern accents and their dislike of the upper class officers. His lads were just normal Tommie’s; they were young and scared and didn’t like going underground. It wasn’t natural. They felt trapped.
He stopped again, swearing he felt movement through the ground. His sudden stop halted the other men as the boy at the back, barley eighteen, began to whimper. ‘Quiet’, the harsh whisper chastised him as Bran froze; the sound of breathing seemed loaded and clumsy as it became trapped between the walls of the tunnel. The other men trusted Bran’s judgement. He was a bit of a legend among the trenches, his knack for coming back alive when all around him died was enough cause for the men to listen when he talked. It was this that went against him with his superiors. They did not like the men raising lowly captains to higher stations than themselves. The superstitions of the lower ranks was a constant pain for the officers, their men not wanting to obey direct orders because they had a “bad feeling” about it. It had to be stamped out and talk of this Irish soldier, with his ‘good luck’ and ‘sixth sense’ about things, angered them all the more.
Bran pulled the glove from his right hand with his teeth and sank his fingers into the dirt of the floor beneath his belly. He shut his eyes to concentrate. Nothing seemed to move. Then he felt it, a dragging close by. He squeezed his eyes all the tighter, straining his ears. The vibration he sent out was miniscule, undetectable but he saw what he needed to. He turned his head awkwardly in the tight space until he could see Jones in the harsh lamp light. The perspiration from the heat and the fear was running in droplets from his brow down his nose. He signalled with his hand to go back as the boys began to silently crawl backwards on the long ascent to the top.
As they got higher the tunnel became wider allowing the men to walk, if hunched down, as they awkwardly plodded ever upward, the relief added to by the fresher air the higher they crawled. ‘Say it and stop sulking Jones,’ Bran chastised as he struggled with the bag he carefully protected at his side.
‘There’s going to be trouble about this. They will have your head for turning the lads back’, Jones groaned in his heavy Newcastle accent. He faced Bran, looking into the bright blue eyes of the man he respected but could not understand. The other boys pushed onwards, eager to get back up top, allowing Bran and Jones the privacy to speak.
‘There was nothing to be done. There is a German tunnel. It’s about to intersect ours just ahead of the point we were crawling to’ Bran explained, becoming impatient with Jones’ worrying. ‘I’m not sure if they were aware of our tunnel but they were either going to come through the walls at us or plant explosives themselves. I’m not putting the lads at risk for nothing.’ Jones got the puckered skin between his brows that came when he thought for too long about how Bran knew these things. He took a deep breath of the thick pungent air as he looked at the dirt streaked face of his captain.
About the Author:
Christina George is an Irish writer based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. She mainly writes Fiction with an emphasis on Fantasy. Her academic background is in the arts. After completing her undergraduate with a BA in Cultural studies in 2008 she went on to study for an MA in Comparative Literature in Dublin City University. Her first novel The Rise of the Sidhe has recently been released for Kindle on Amazon. She is currently working in the Heritage sector in County Louth and outlining a new writing project.
Connect With The Author:
Interview:I would like to thank author Christina George for stopping by today to tell us a little about herself and The Rise of the Sidhe.
What is your favourite part of the story, The Rise of the Sidhe?
That is a hard question, I preferred writing for certain characters but I am not sure if I have a favourite part of the story. I really enjoyed writing for the butler Thomas Brady. When I reread any of his chapters I don’t want to change a thing. He is a really loyal, hard- working man. You get the feeling that he has been the de Verdun butler for most of his adult life. He never married or had children of his own so he feels like the de Verdun’s are his family. He literally risks his life time and again to protect them. He is definitely someone you would want as a friend.
How long did it take you to write The Rise of the Sidhe?
I began writing the story on Valentine’s Day 2010. My boyfriend knew I wanted to write something and my present that year was a writing set and notebook. It was a great present, and I still use it. I finished the first draft at the end of August, so it took six months for that first draft. I have redrafted it many times since then. The Last draft was finished on the 22nd of January 2014, the day I published it on Amazon. If we take that into account it took almost four years, I hope to improve on that time with my next book!
If you were stranded on a desert island which of your characters do you want by your side?
I would have to say Bran because we wouldn’t be there very long. He is the type of person who can get out of any situation, and hopefully he would take me with him!
If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
It may be strange but I think it would have to be Rioghnach, I really do feel sorry for her. She does a lot of bad things in the book, she is power hungry and ruthless but you get the glimmer of the person she was before. I think that she is a very troubled character, bad stuff happened to her along the way. I would like to think I could help her out as she has a very self-destructive streak. I think her biggest problem was that she needed a friend.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I had recently lost my job and was having trouble finding another, not an unfamiliar story these days. I was job hunting and pretty bored. I had always loved writing when I was in school, but when I started working and going to college I put it on the backburner. It was just a hobby and the likelihood of anything coming of it was remote. Suddenly I had a lot of free time. My niece Rebecca came to stay with me when she was on holidays. We were talking about Irish myth and flicking through some of Lady Wilde’s fairy tales when I said that someone should write an adventure story based in Irish myth. It was something that I would want to read. She thought it was a great idea, and asked me to write it. I kept putting it off. I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book. This was something that I battled with a lot while writing the book. I kept thinking what are you doing? This is a waste of time! I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it, my mum found out by accident. I was just really embarrassed. I thought people would laugh if they knew I was writing a book, it took a really long time for me to let anyone to read the first draft. I suppose I wanted to prove to myself that I could write a good story.
Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I was writing poetry when I was eight, my mum found my little notebook in a draw recently, cringe worthy but it’s true. I wrote my first book when I was six. It was a picture book with pop up pictures about a Native American boy and an eagle. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in my teens, I had a lot of trouble with reading and writing when I was small. I had to go to remedial classes in primary school, it was something that I found very difficult. I always felt slow and clumsy, I still can’t read out load very well. I was very embarrassed about this. Things changed when I went to secondary school, it was like I finally caught up with myself. I went from being below average at eleven to head of the year girl at twelve. Things were not easy, I was a slow reader and I had to work hard but it became easier. For all of that I would say that I was an imaginative child, I wanted to be a writer when I was six, this did not change when I was twenty six, so I guess I inspired myself.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am outlining a new book at the moment, it is very different to The Rise of the Sidhe. My niece has been experiencing sleep paralysis and it really intrigued me. I wanted to explore the effects of this in a story. It won’t be a very dark tale, I like adventure stories, and I want to create something fun to read. I don’t want to give too much away but I think it will be very interesting.