Guest Author: Loucinda McGary

Today, Literary Escapism is excited to welcome Loucinda McGary, author of The Wild Irish Sea.

Drawn to a force he can’t resist…
Former police officer Kevin Hennessey is running from his past-choosing to battle smugglers instead of dealing with his personal demons. When a desperate, rain-drenched American woman appears on his doorstep with wild tales of danger, Kevin is drawn to helping her, despite his reservations…

She never saw him coming…
Amber O’Neill knew without a doubt that her brother was in mortal danger. Rushing heedlessly to the rocky shores of Ireland, Amber was stunned to find her rescue mission derailed by a gorgeous, but deeply flawed Irishman…

The tumultuous sea, the intertwined fates of the coastal villagers, and unearthly tales of a hidden selkie prince bring Kevin and Amber together in a connection of mind, body, and soul that neither can deny…

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away two copies of The Wild Irish Sea to two lucky readers.
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Seals, Selkies and Me

Since word is starting to get out that I have seals and selkie legends in my new release, The Wild Irish Sea, I’ve been getting questions about both of them. I can’t remember the first time I read about selkies, but it was probably when I was in high school or college. That was when I first developed an interest in legends and mythology.

However, I do remember the first time I saw a trained sea lion. I was eight years old and my parents took me, my sister, and brother (I only had one then) to a place in Southern California called Marineland of the Pacific. Marineland had several of those huge aquariums where you can see the fish and marine life on the other side of the double glass. Plus, they had shows with performing sea lions, dolphins, and one pilot whale (who didn’t look nearly big enough to be a whale to me).

I immediately fell in love with the sea lions. They were so cute and smart, balancing objects on their noses, tossing beach balls to each other and their trainer, and jumping through hoops. But the thing I remembered the most was looking at them after the show and seeing their enormous, sad brown eyes.

Something about those eyes spoke to me in my imaginative little girl heart. So it was no surprise years later when I read about selkies and how when they were in their human form, they always yearned for the sea. I knew what that longing looked like. I’d seen it in the eyes of those sea lions, and I tried to convey that sadness in several of the scenes in The Wild Irish Sea.

When I went to college, I chose one close to the Pacific Ocean, and for the first time, I got to see a lot of different kinds of seals and sea lions in the wild. My best friend and I once encountered a dead sea lion washed up on the beach. It was dusk, the beach was deserted, and in the fading light we at first mistook it for a human body. Boy, were we scared! We both turned and ran for the parking lot. Luckily we met a park ranger just as we got there and he told us he’d just received a call about a dead sea lion. We pointed him in the right direction and hurried home.

Also about twenty-five miles from my college campus was a beach where every winter elephant seals came to have their babies and breed next year’s crop of babies. Going to that beach during Christmas break made quite an impact on me. Very few animals are as impressive as full-grown elephant seals! A mature bull elephant seal is roughly the same size and weight as an SUV. No, I’m not kidding. The females are only about half their size but still much larger than any adult human being. Seeing two bull elephant seals confronting each other and battling for dominance is something I will never forget.

I still visit that beach (Piedras Blancas) between the end of November and the end of March every chance I get. I was there last year (March, 2009) and the images of all the seals lying together, and the protectiveness of the mothers, not just of their own but of all the young, provided inspiration for some of the early scenes in The Wild Irish Sea.

The scenes in the “selkie cave” were also inspired by a real life experience. When my son was around ten years old, we drove up the Oregon coast to visit my grandparents (his great-grandparents) who lived in Portland. Along the way, we stopped at Sea Lion Caves, home to the world’s largest colony of Stellar sea lions. The main cave is massive, roughly twelve stories high and encompassing over two acres, and loaded with literally hundreds of sea lions. But the thing I remember most (and that I included in The Wild Irish Sea) was the smell! My son has always had a sensitive nose and he didn’t want to get off the elevator and go to the observation point some thirty yards away because of the over-powering odor.

Finally, a few weeks before I started working on the first draft of The Wild Irish Sea, I was watching one of my favorite movies set in Ireland: The Secret of Roan Inish. In addition to the gorgeous cinematography, my imagination was captured by the main character Fiona and her family’s legend of “the dark one.” According to her family’s lore, one of her ancestors married a selkie woman, and they had several children and lived happily for awhile. But one day the selkie found her hidden ‘skin’, put it on and went back to the sea. That spurred me to read several more selkie legends, and most all of them had tragic endings. When I sat down to write the book that eventually became The Wild Irish Sea, I decided to put my own spin of those tales.

So there you have it, a little insight into what inspired and motivated me to include seals and selkies in my latest romantic suspense novel. Now that you know a bit of background, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the golden-eyed selkie prince, his coat, the selkie cave and the creatures that inhabit it.

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Thank you Nicole for taking the time out at RT to talk with me!

Contest Time! Loucinda has graciously offered to give away two copies of The Wild Irish Sea to two lucky readers. All you have to do is answer this question:  Is there a certain animal that triggers your imagination? Do you have a favorite animal (whether it’s a were or not) that you love to read about? Sorry guys, contest is only open to US/Canadian addresses.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase The Wild Sight, The Treasures of Venice or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until July 13th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

20 Comments

  1. Hey Kate!
    (Aunty waves madly at another of her Banditas!)

    We might have been at Marineland at the same time! ;-)

    And yes, you are very lucky to live so close to the beach. Do you get many seals and sea lions with so many people?

    I know there are plenty of them around San Francisco, but Piedras Blancas, where the elephant seals spend the winter is on a pretty isolated area of the California coast. Seems they would like that better than all the people disturbing them…

    Anyway, hope you enjoy TWIS and CONGRATS on your July release from Desire.

    AC

  2. Happy Release Day, Aunty Cindy. I think horses are beautiful animals and feel there is a special relationship between us and them.

  3. I loved Ano Neuvo State Park too. The elephant seals are huge! Very scary up close. Those lucky dudes and their harems. The animal that fascinates me is the aardvark. Strange creature.

    Can’t wait to read your book Cindy. Hope to see you Sunday at Steve’s Place.

    Patricia

  4. Hi Patricia!

    So glad to “see” you here!

    Can you believe before they put up fences that people were actually dumb enough to go down on the beach with those elephant seals?!?! NOT smart! :-( They might look awkward but those things can MOVE when they want to.

    Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday,
    AC

  5. I think wolves trigger my imagination, but dogs take the cake for the animal I read most about. Books like Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and Marley and Me are a favorite of mine!

    I follow on FB.

  6. This sounds like a good book. I look forward to checking it out. Thank you for the great post as well. I’ve always been a fan of unicorns and dragons.

    I commented on your review for Sinful by C. Featherstone

    facebook follower: facebook.com/pams00 – Pamela Sinclair

    tweeted:
    http://twitter.com/pams00/status/18386876435

    posted to facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1329505888&v=wall&story_fbid=134393346595638

    stumbled (pams00 – Pamela Sinclair):
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/url/www.literaryescapism.com/10887/guest-author-loucinda-mcgary-2

    dugg (pams00 – Pamela Sinclair):
    http://digg.com/d31Wf4w

    Pam S
    pams00@aol.com

  7. This book sounds good and anything Irish suits me. I love panthers and think there should be were panthers. I have a reader’s group and just told them about your book..we are debating on it for a very close future read. susan L.

  8. Cindy, your book sounds very interesting. I’ll definitely check it out. I like coyotes and wolves.

  9. I love reading books that have cats or dogs in them (regardless of whether they can shape shift). The newest Kate Daniels book was fantastic, but one of the best things about it was the shapeshifting demon poodle that Kate somehow manages to adopt (you’d have to read it to appreciate how funny this is).

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