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Naomi Eccles-Smith

There’s no denying my fascination for old Celtic and European folk lore; the kind of tales laced with a dark and fantastical fancy that lingers in your mind long after you’ve read the last sentence. I’m primarily a happy-ending devotee (truly!), but every once in a while, a shadowy tale will creep along and I find myself—to my own surprise—relishing in its horrific and mesmerising accounts. Such was the feeling I had after reading Celia Dart-Thornton’s retelling of the wicked Each Uisge in her fantasy series The Bitterbynde. Even years after reading the books, that small tale-within-a-tale haunted me, and when the time came for me to colour the story canvas set before my mind, the eerie hoof beats of the Each Uisge echoed from the past. I knew then the tale wanting to be told: my own unique spin of an encounter with a creature of great infamy, and the dreadful repercussions for those caught in the horror of its wake. And here I am an author of children’s books!

I suppose the darker stories must find their way to the surface somehow. Better they mark their own separate trails, than seep into my novels and give some poor, unsuspecting child nightmares for a month, right?

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