A preface: I got the idea for my middle grade novel, The Curse of Addy McMahon, when I read a New York Times article in 1999 about some road workers in Latoon, Ireland who refused to build the road as planned because it meant chopping down a tree rumored to be a fairy lair. They ended up laying that road around the tree in order to leave it standing and not be cursed by the fairies. I had thought, while reading the article, what if there were a girl with Irish ancestry, who lived in America, and her family lore revolved around a curse levied because her great-grandad chopped down what was rumored to be a fairy lair?
I just got an email from a guy who wrote that he’s Irish and his 12-year-old daughter, attracted to the Irish name on the cover, read and loved The Curse of Addy McMahon.
Okay, that’s nice.
Then he tells me that “Although we live in New York we are originally from Co. Clare in Ireland.”
Hmm, I think. Irish heritage, living in US.
He continued, “We thought it was amazing you mentioned the fairy tree at Latoon, this is where we are from and the fairy tree is on our family farm. The fairy tree story was told to me by my grandfather and it came more to prominence when a new road threatened knock it down.”
Whoa. The fairy tree was on their farm! I wrote about the tree on this girl’s ancestral farm and she ended up reading about it in my novel!
But then I saw how he signed the email: From David McMahon.
Let me summarize:
12-year-old American girl with Irish heritage. CHECK!
Family’s ancestral location: Latoon, Ireland. CHECK!
Fairy tree story revolving around great grandad. CHECK!
Family lore about fairy lair and curse that will happen if it’s chopped down: CHECK!
Family name: McMahon. TRIPLE CHECK!
The power of stories? Fairy magic? You tell me!