Jessica McHugh's Song of Eidolons

Song of Eidolons was born of my childhood love for legends, fairy tales, fables, and other stories  that stretched my imagination beyond the suburbs. I graduated from Grimm Academy with honors, which mostly consisted of a twisted sense of humor and a penchant for deliciously dark fiction. My first foray into the territory of legends was my Arthurian novel, Camelot Lost, but Song of Eidolons really submerged me in all things legendary. I'd written a  handful of  novels before, so I didn't have the “second novel dread”, but it kind of felt like it. Camelot Lost was the first book I wrote after meeting the man who would become my husband. After meeting him, it felt like a new world. I was a new person, even a new writer, and I wanted the follow-up to Camelot Lost to be even more fantastic.
             I was always a fan of the “big” legends: King Arthur, Atlantis, Robin Hood, etc...but there was one I stumbled across in research that I hadn't heard much about before: Fionn MacCool. (Also known as Fionn mac Cumhaill or Finn McCool) The hero of an Irish myth, Fionn lived in an enchanted forest, defeated a fire-breathing fairy during Samhain, and fell in love with a woman who'd been turned into a deer by an evil sorcerer. Pretty much your typical badass legend. I was instantly enamored of the chap and started doing heavy research on him---for about two days. That's when I realized I didn't want to rewrite another legend. I loved putting my own spin on King Arthur, but I didn't want to get pigeonholed as the author that just rewrites legends. I wanted to create my own.
            That day, Delaney Lortal was born. Unfortunately, I can't say too much about how I developed Delaney as a character without spoiling some of Song of Eidolons' secrets, but as you read, you can immediately tell that while I was willing to let go of my Fionn MacCool story, I didn't let go of him entirely. Nor did I let go of Arthur, Atlantis, or Robin Hood. And just to add an extra dash of legendary levity, I tossed in the Philosopher's Stone and the Fountain of Youth too.
            You might be saying “Wait just a damn minute, Jessica. You just said you didn't want to rewrite legends and here you are throwing eight million legends into this book.”
            True. But in the case of “Song of Eidolons” it's not the details of the mentioned legends that are explored. I explore the power of those legends. The foreword delves deeper into that power, saying it is “eternal and omnipotent, and it is the most greatly coveted power of all.” Legends have the ability to change cultures, belief structures, and people. They certainly changed Delaney Lortal and her grandfather, Dags. That is the story I wanted to tell and when all was said and done, I felt victorious. I was camping with my friends when I wrote the ending. While they were hiking, I stayed behind to write, and when they returned I ran straight up to my husband and screamed,
            “I finished! I wrote the end of Song of Eidolons!”
            “Awesome, honey! What happens?” he asked.
            “I don't know, but I finished it!!”
            That happens a lot actually.
            Song of Eidolons is my favorite story, but it was also my favorite writing experience. It was one of those books that seemed to write itself. Everything fell into place so perfectly. Research was also a surprising joy. I picked out Dags and Delaney's house from a Forest Row real estate website and kept a picture of it in my notebook. Our tiny one-bedroom apartment was littered with summaries and articles and still, I didn't feel overwhelmed by the research. The way the story revealed itself to me was like no other story I've written. Song of Eidolons is my little ball of golden light amidst a legion of dark, often bloody, tales. Plus (and yes, I know this is slightly evil) of all my books with their plot twists and shocking endings, Song of Eidolons has the best “big reveal”, in my opinion. What makes Delaney Lortal such a special character is a jaw-dropping-brain-rocker, even for the wacky chick who wrote it. I don't often re-read my books after they're published, but I can always read Song of Eidolons.

            Thank you so much for having me, Katie. It was an absolute joy to talk about this book and the experience writing it. It was a fantastic time in my life, and I love reliving it. Then again, every book is a blast in its own way. 

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