Interview with Kelley Heckart, author of Cat’s Curse
1.Tell us about your book, Cat’s Curse.
Cat’s Curse is a Celtic historical romance with fantasy elements. Short Blurb: Cardea, follower of the Great Goddess is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker. Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata and a Christian, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females or he will turn into a black cat. Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?
This is the first book in a trilogy titled Dark Goddess. This series revolves around the entangled destinies of an Irish clan and an ancient Fae/Goddess. Cat’s Curse is my first book featuring a vampire-like character, though she differs from a European vampire because she was cursed by her enemies to live an eternity as a Lamia (Greek vampire) a half-woman, half-serpent. This is also my first book based on an actual person in history. My hero, Aedan mac Gabrain did exist in sixth century Scotland. He is mentioned in various texts from Adomnan’s Life of St. Columba and in the Welsh poems, he is called Aedan the Treacherous. He was a king, but his younger years were shadowy and he may have fathered a king of the Picts. This fascinated me and I imagined what his earlier years might have been like and what kind of woman he would be drawn to.
2. This is the first story in your Dark Goddess trilogy. Where did you get the idea for the trilogy initially?
I was researching the Picts and came across this sixth century Irish king named Aedan mac Gabrain (he ruled Dal Riata from 574 to 603) who had a shadowy past and fought the Picts for many years. He fascinated me because he was a contemporary of kings like Urien of Rheged, the Briton King Riderch of Strathclyde and a close friend of St. Columba, but not much was known about him other than he was considered one of the most feared warlords of his time. There is also some speculation that the first king of Scotland, Kenneth mac Alpin, was a descendant of Aedan’s clan, the Cenel nGabrain. I had also been reading about an ancient Fae/goddess known by the names, Cat Anna and Cailleach. She is kind of an earth goddess who holds the key to sovereignty and has ties to Ireland and Scotland. I found an interesting legend about her and Brigit (she is an Irish goddess of the Tuatha de Danann) where she holds Brigit captive for part of the year and I wanted to put a different twist on this for my story. After doing this research, I came up with an idea for a trilogy, having Aedan’s clan tied to this Cailleach and Brigit. Research usually inspires me. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.
3. What can you tell us about the other two books in this series?
Like all my books, there is plenty of conflict and romance. Beltaine’s Song is the second book and covers the time when Aedan is finally king of Dal Riata. Of course, being a king isn’t an easy task especially with a Dark Goddess trying to destroy you, and having to contend with earthly foes as well. I also introduce another being who is somehow associated with Cat Anna (Cailleach). Their son, Gartnait, is one of the few people who can see her, but she may or may not be a threat. I had a theme going on through this second book that although spring brings about new life, it is also the time when clans battled one another so spring also brings about the harsh sound of the battle horn, and danger. The third book, Winter’s Requiem, brings foes together to try to break the ancient curse that has plagued Aedan’s clan and the three women–Cailleach, Brigit and Domelch (who used to be Cardea). The title of this third book has to do with Cailleach because she sleeps in spring and awakens in winter. This final book is where I reveal who she really is and how she came to be imprisoned by the seasons. There is a lot of heartache and self-discovery in this book, but of course there will be a HEA or at least a HFN. I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone. All the questions are answered in the final book and there are some surprises for readers.
4. Kelley, how did you get your start as a writer?
I was an avid reader from the age of four and always interested in storytelling. My first experience with writing was as a songwriter/lyricist, telling stories to music. The ancient Celts also inspired my writing and I loved the tales of the gods and goddesses interacting with mortals. My favorites were the tales of the Irish Fianna and stories about the Tuatha de Danaan. Those stories were a huge inspiration for me. I ventured into short stories and then decided to take on a novel in about 2001. That’s when I wanted to become a serious writer.
Kelley lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. Her lifelong passion for Celtic mythology and storytelling is the inspiration behind her novels featuring fierce warriors, bold women and otherworldly creatures. Armed with a vivid imagination, Kelley spends most of her time daydreaming and crafting tales filled with romance, conflict and magic. She and her books can be found online at www.kelleyheckart.com.
You can get a copy of Cat’s Curse at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/cats_curse.html