Catherine Doyle on new book The Lost Tide Warriors, a children's adventure full of Irish myth and magic

Published on: 08 August 2019

Author Catherine Doyle catches up with us to talk about her brilliant middle grade series for children and all of the influences that have gone into the books.

The Lost Tide Warriors is the second book in The Storm Keeper’s Island series, with more books to come. Can you give us a little summary of what happens in this part of the story?

In The Lost Tide Warriors, Morrigan's followers are returning in their droves to Arranmore, with the intent to raise her. Fionn's magic is not working as it should be and his grandfather's memory is waning, so it's up to him and his best friends, Sam and Shelby, to find a way to raise Dagda's ancient army of merrows from the deepest part of the ocean. The story is full of adventure and magic, but also grounded in love and family.

What inspired the overall story of Arranmore? Does Arranmore have a relationship to your own childhood?

Arranmore is the birth place of my maternal grandparents. When I was growing up, they spoke about it all the time, so I've always known it as a kind of magical, faraway place that is very much part of who I am and where I come from. When I was invited to visit it two years ago, I jumped at the chance! It's an incredible island, full of rugged cliffs, hidden sea caves and beautiful beaches. Best of all, it's surrounded by the wild Atlantic Ocean.

The Lost Tide Warriors is just as full of enchanting Irish mythology as The Storm Keeper’s Island – it’s a beautiful, magical series. What are your favourite Irish myths, and what inspired you to weave mythology into this adventure story?

From the front cover of The Lost Tide Warriors

I grew up on a steady diet of Irish myths. My favourites are the stories of Tír na nÓg (the land of eternal youth), the Children of Lír and the Salmon of Knowledge. I wanted this adventure story to carry that same enchantment – the idea that perhaps these magical elements of Arranmore were once real, too.

Weather is such a key part of the atmosphere of these books – it’s almost it’s own character! How did you use the weather to create mystery and drama in the story?

It's impossible to grow up in Ireland without a keen awareness of its changeable weather (particularly it's many, many different kinds of rain). Because it has always played such a significant role in my own life, adding weather and the subsequent drama of weather to the story was a natural decision. Storms are my favourite kind of weather so I knew I wanted to incorporate them in a mysterious and magical way.

We adore the sense of family in these books, and our relationship to older relatives and to the ancestors beyond them. What’s important to you in writing about family and heritage?

Family is so important to me. I'm very close to my grandparents, but it wasn't until recently that I really started to learn about who they are and where they come from. We can glean so much from our elders – after all, they are very much a part of us – so I wanted to write a story that celebrated that. I wanted to hold up the grandparent-grandchild relationship in particular and show just how special and inspiring it can be. 

Lastly, but very importantly, what books did you love as a child?

My favourite books were Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, the Chronicles of Narnia. Magic, mystery and adventure!

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