The Power of Stories

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!

Recent Comments

  • Janet F.
    May 26, 2012 - 12:38 pm · Reply

    I suspect there is some fairy dust sprinkling around your writing space. I think you need to visit Co. Clare and see the tree in person. Perhaps someone is calling. Lovely little story and coincidence. Sort of like warming the cockles of your heart!

      • Janet F.
        May 27, 2012 - 7:27 am · Reply

        You should! I went with a group of high school kids and two other teacher leaders…..hope to go again, but Killareny is wonderful, Ring of Kerry, Dublin, lots to see and do and the people were so friendly. We visited an old castle village which was fun, too. And of course, kiss the Blarney Stone….(they use a sanitizing spray!) Though with your skills, you already have the gift. And who knows what the fairies have in store for you.

  • Debbie
    May 26, 2012 - 12:50 pm · Reply

    What a wonderful, brilliant idea for a story in the first place. Love that the real life connection was able to contact you. Very, very cool- love the power of technology as well as the magic of your book creation. — Loved reading your book personally!

    • katie
      May 26, 2012 - 2:10 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Debbie! I had NO idea you had an actual name. Hahaha. I’ve always thought of you as The Stylin’ Librarian!

  • Leslie Bulion
    May 26, 2012 - 10:43 pm · Reply

    This is very cool, Katie! Hooray for fairies!
    I’m not sure fairies were involved in my personal story, but I’ve always wondered how it was I had so many things in common with the main character, Lesley, in Lynn Reid Banks’s ONE MORE RIVER. Her book was published the very same year I moved to Israel as a teenager, but I never read it until I was an adult. Time travel??

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