Monday, February 9, 2015

~Blog Tour~ Circle of Nine Beltany by Valerie Biel (GIVEAWAY!)

Posted by BookGroupies

 Release date: September 24th 2b014
Publisher: Lost Lake Press
Purchase: Amazon 
Synopsis via Goodreads:
“Since I was a little girl I’ve been labeled a freak in my small town. There’s no blending in when your mom practices an ancient pagan religion and everyone believes she’s a witch. On my 15th birthday my secret wish is the same as always – to just be normal. But that’s not what I get. Not even close.” 
– Brigit Quinn

Instead, Brigit is shocked to learn she’s descended from a legendary Celtic tribe - powerful people who serve as guardians of the stone circles of Ireland. A spellbound book of family history reveals the magical powers of her ancestors. Powers that could be hers - if only she wanted them. 

And when someone sinister and evil returns to steal her family’s strength, Brigit has to make a decision. Fight to keep her unique heritage or reject it for the normal life she’s always wanted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valerie Biel's love for travel inspires her books for teens and tweens. Circle of Nine - Beltany is set partially in Ireland where Valerie was inspired by the ancient stone circles which dot the countryside. Beltany, an actual stone circle in County Donegal, Ireland, plays an important part in this novel. "There's something eerie and beautiful about these circles which rise up out of the greenest grass you've ever seen. Who built them? Why did they build them? If that's not enough to start a story, nothing is."
This young adult novel was a top six finalist (out of 1000) in the Gotham Writers' YA Novel Discovery Contest.
When Valerie's not writing, she's working on freelance public relations projects, wrangling her overgrown garden, traveling the world, and reading everything she can get her hands on. Once upon a time, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and political science. More recently, she moved back to small-town Wisconsin, happily violating her teenage vow that she would never do so. Valerie's husband and three children are always providing her with new story ideas whether they mean to or not.


~INSPIRATION~


Pinpointing where I get my overall inspiration to write is a difficult thing. I just know that I have to write. (Well, at least, I’m a much nicer person when I have time to write, according to my family.) I am in awe of other creative, artistic people. I couldn’t write a song or paint a picture or sculpt or make anything remotely useful with my hands, but I am in my element when I’m creating a fictional world and the people in it.
I’ve written stories since middle school. I was fortunate enough to have the most encouraging teacher who fostered my love of both reading and writing. These early writing efforts ebbed and flowed and eventually got tucked away. I decided that I needed a career where it’d be possible to earn money by writing and received a journalism degree, but I missed creative writing. I still had all these stories in my head, but never made them a priority until I was spurred into action by family tragedy.
In 2003 our family lost one of my sisters to cancer and then in 2008 we were devastated when the same terminal cancer was diagnosed in a second sister. During this terrible time, I reflected on my priorities and decided that my writing dream couldn’t wait any longer. The rough draft of Circle of Nine was complete within a year. 
The inspiration for that novel is far easier to pin down. Circle of Nine came from my fascination with the standing stone circles of Ireland. I have been fortunate to travel to Ireland a number of times and couldn’t believe that there were all these Neolithic stone circles and other monuments dotting the countryside. There’s something so eerie and beautiful about these circles which rise up out of the greenest grass you’ve ever seen. (Beltany, an actual stone circle in County Donegal, Ireland, plays an important part in my novel.) While we know when these were built, we only have theories on exactly why they were built and what they were used for. I began to think of a culture of people who made these circles the center of the world, and then I began to wonder what would happen if their ancestors were still alive today quietly keeping this culture alive.
At the same time I began to think about writing a story that incorporated the stone circles, I was reading a book about the transition from pagan religion to Christianity and the pagan rituals that became part of Christian tradition.  Mix all that with some Celtic mythology and a love for all things witchy and you get a nearly 100,000 word tale. Circle of Nine follows the story of modern Brigit Quinn who learns on her 15th birthday that she’s descended from a legendary Celtic tribe that serves as guardians of these stone circles.
There’s often an odd kind of synergy of ideas that occurs prior to the birth of a story idea. It’s like pieces of a puzzle coming together in a way that you could never have predicted. For instance, the rainforest has always been of interest to me. I can’t believe how many undiscovered plants there are per square mile that could hold the key to curing some of today’s diseases. Combine that with a news report I watched on protests attempting to stop a dam across on the Amazon River and an article I read about new hydro-electric technology and you have an eco-adventure I wrote for middle-school students.
I can never predict exactly where or when something will strike me as interesting and how that will interact in my brain with other information to create a story idea. Those “aha” moments are priceless.  I just have to keep a notepad handy!


2 comments:

Shane Morgan on February 9, 2015 at 9:47 AM said...

Thanks for participating :)

Valerie Biel on February 10, 2015 at 5:32 AM said...

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of your fantastic blog!

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