When I started the Epitaph series, all those darn McCormicks ended up with red hair (as is somewhat common among the Irish) with one notable exception. Liam's hair was black. I always knew Liam's story was going to involve Selkies -- yes, it's a genuine Irish legend and NOT something I made up.
Her's the official line on selkies (courtesy of Wikipedia):
- A typical folk-tale is that of a man who steals a female selkie's skin, finds her naked on the sea shore, and compels her to become his wife.But the wife will spend her time in captivity longing for the sea, her true home, and will often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean. She may bear several children by her human husband, but once she discovers her skin, she will immediately return to the sea and abandon the children she loved.
Male selkies are described as being very handsome in their human form, and having great seductive powers over human women. They typically seek those who are dissatisfied with their lives, such as married women waiting for their fishermen husbands. In one popular tattletale version about a certain "Ursilla" of Orkney (a pseudonym), it was rumored that when she wished to make contact with her male selkie she would shed seven tears into the sea.
I've always been fascinated with fairy tales and folk tales - even the "Grimm" ones. When I set out to write THE SELKIE, I checked deeper into that particular legend, including watching an excellent movie called The Secret of Roan Inish (I would recommend it!). I also read another author's take on the legend, which was kind of fun. Roses bloomed all over the selkie's cottage out of season when the selkie's relative moved in. Naturally, when writing my version, I added my own spin, a little something known as artistic license.
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