a CONVERSATION with CASSANDRA FINNERTY
Princess of Sky, Earth, Fire and Water
Princess of Wind and Sea
Princess of the Emerald Valleys
Today, we’re with Cassandra Finnerty to talk about the inspiration behind her Princess of Nature series.
Q: Princess of Sky, Earth, Fire and Water is your debut novel. What is the book about?
The story begins in Ireland, in 1772.
The main character, Lady Aisling, inherits an army, a fleet of ships, and magical powers. She has the ability to change sky, earth, fire and water. Now she’s part of a secret society and must help other kings and courts around the globe.
To keep her powers, she has twelve months to complete her first mission. Her task is to help a warrior Prince, but he has no interest in collaborating with anyone, least of all a woman.
As they join forces, they fight for survival and a chance for love.
Q; What inspired you to write the book?
Most women in this era had limited control over their lives. They were focused on survival. Few owned property. There were also major social constraints – what to wear, how to speak, whom to marry.
I wanted to create an historical fantasy, where the main character was empowered to travel, meet people and help others, on her own terms.
Q: Why a setting in the 1770’s?
It’s a fascinating time in history.
During this period, there was a massive power shift across the globe. Many countries pursued expansion, creating conflicts from Asia to Europe, and beyond. Established monarchies were also breaking down. The American Revolution spurred a revolt, triggering a discontent that rippled across nations. It was also an amazing time of transformation. The industrial revolution spurred inventions and industries.
Against this backdrop, there are a lot of story possibilities. With a fleet of ships, Aisling can go anywhere.
Q: What are some of your favorite locations that inspired settings in the book?
One of my favorites is Burrishoole Friary, in Ireland. It was built in 1469, and some of the structure has survived for more than 500 years. It’s very peaceful, overlooking the water. There’s a view of Crough Patrick, ‘the Magic Mountain’, which is a short distance away. A scene in chapter two was inspired by this setting.
One of the writers of Annals of the Four Masters is also buried here. Since this book is a rich resource of Irish history, I integrated it into the story. Aisling discovers her father’s secret notes in this work.
Another favorite location in western Ireland is Clew Bay. This is where Aisling and her fleet launch their journey. There are hundreds of sunken drumlins in the bay that look like small islands, protruding from the water.
I created a fictional temple setting in the East Kingdom, that has some of the characteristics of Yonggungsa. The retreat is situated high in the cliffs, above the water. The structures are covered in shades of amber, red and blue.
In the book, Aisling and the Prince first meet on a cliff, high above a sanctuary.
Q: How would you describe your main characters?
Aisling is courageous and driven, with a sincere interest in helping people. But she also has many flaws. At the beginning of the book, she struggles with a need to always be in control. Aisling believes that her magic will solve all of her problems. But like the Prince, who operates as a loner, she realizes the need to work with others, to have the greatest impact.
She also struggles with her magic. It works to varying degrees, but there are always consequences. Part of her challenge is to figure out the best way to use her powers.
Aisling is thrust into a world where’s she interacting with men, because they have more authority during this time period. Throughout the book, there are instances where she needs to assert herself, to overcome the perception that she doesn’t quite ‘fit in’.
She is also learning that in order to trust someone, you have to be vulnerable. This is a hard pill to swallow for someone who has always been independent.
The other main character is the Prince, who’s a wounded warrior. His life has been difficult and he grew up feeling rejected. As an adult, he’s fierce about wanting to right past wrongs.
He would like to be welcomed back into the Royal Family. As he’s fighting deception and corruption, he’s also lashing out, feeling guilty that he was unable to protect his mother and brother when he was a child.
Aisling represents a threat to his focus and way of life. He’s uncomfortable bringing someone into his world, and tries to detach himself as soon as they meet.
Q: Is this book part of a series?
Yes, it’s part of the Princess of Nature Series.
Princess of Sky, Earth, Fire and Water, book one, is where the Aisling and the Prince meet and form a relationship.
Princess of Wind and Sea, book two, is about their adventures from the East Kingdom, back to Ireland.
Q: What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the third book in the series, called Princess of the Emerald Valleys.
I’d like to thank the readers for their interest in Princess of Sky, Earth, Fire and Water.
Thanks, Cassandra, for the overview of the Princess of Nature Series.
Interviewed by Castle Swan Media.