Catherine Doyle grew up in the West of Ireland. Her middle grade debut, The Storm Keeper's Island, which is followed by The Lost Tide Warriors, is an adventure about family, bravery and self-discovery. It is set on the magical island of Arranmore, where her grandparents grew up, and is inspired by her ancestors' real life daring sea rescues.
Catherine holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Publishing. She is the author of the Young Adult Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa), which is often described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. It was inspired by her love of modern cinema.
She enjoys watching movies, running and travelling.
THE LOST TIDE WARRIORS
BLOOMSBURY CHILDREN'S BOOKS
THE LOST TIDE WARRIORS, the sequel to THE STORM KEEPER'S ISLAND, is a story about magic and nature but also destiny and discovering out who we really are.
Fionn Boyle, the new and inexperienced Storm Keeper of Arranmore, is suddenly faced with the arrival of thousands of terrifying Soulstalkers on the island. They are determined to raise their leader, the powerful sorceress Morrigan, and Fionn, who has no magic, seems powerless to stop them.
Author CATHERINE DOYLE tells us more about her latest novel, THE LOST TIDE WARRIORS:
Q: What was your route into writing for young people and children?
A: I've always loved children's books. I did a Master's in publishing and studied Children's Literature for my thesis. Around this time, I started writing creatively via a part-time night course, and decided it was 'now or never'.
I wrote my first YA novel, Vendetta, while wrapping up my thesis and managed to secure an agent and a publishing deal a few months later. That was the start of my professional journey as an author. After my YA trilogy, I turned to MG stories, because they have always been my first love.
Q: What drew you to write your first book for children, The Storm Keeper's Island?
A: Just over two years ago, my cousin invited me to Arranmore Island to teach creative writing at the local school for a week. My grandparents were born on Arranmore, grew up and fell in love there. As a child, I heard so much about it but it wasn't until I visited it as an adult that I truly connected with it. It's a beautiful, rugged place full of stories, that inspired the setting for what eventually became The Storm Keeper's Island.
Q: Does the character, plot or setting inspire your stories? What was the starting point for The Storm Keeper's Island?
A: I'm inspired firstly by setting, then plot and character. The starting point for The Storm Keeper's Island was the very real island of Arranmore, a place that holds its people and its stories long after they're gone.
Arranmore is important to me because it's the birthplace of my ancestors. I feel connected to it and proud of it. I wanted to honour my grandparents and their island by using its real name in the story. I suppose it's a love letter to them and to Arranmore..
Q: The magic in the story comes through nature, from the island itself. Is there a deeper message to children here about being connected to our natural environment?
A: Yes! My message to children, and to adults, and to myself (!) is to look up from your phone as much as possible and experience the natural wonder of our world. You'll be happier for it.
Q: The books follow Fionn and his sister Tara and their connection with the island. Can you tell us a little about Fionn, and what makes him a character you love to write about?
A: Fionn is a little bit lost - he's not sure of who he is, or where he belongs, and he's terrified of the world in which he finds himself on Arranmore. He's fun to write because his journey is one of great emotional leaps as well as adventurous ones. I also like that he's imperfect and unsure, and utterly ordinary, and that's OK.
Q: Why did you decide to make his role as Storm Keeper an inherited one and to focus on the relationship between Fionn and his grandfather?
A: My own grandfather is a wonderful man. A sea captain for over 60 years of his life, and married to my grandmother for even longer, he's warm and witty and kind. He also has dementia. My goal in The Storm Keeper's Island was to write about a man who experiences memory loss but is not defined by it. I wanted to show the power and love of grandparent-grandchild bond that will always anchor you, no matter the changing tides of memory.
Q: Many children's books convey good sibling relationships - why did you decide to make Fionn and his sister Tara dislike each other?
A: I bickered with my brothers all the time when we were younger. We loved each other fiercely deep down, but we had to grow into being able to show it. I suppose I wanted to explore the pricklier side of a sibling relationship, because it felt more realistic to me. I also wanted to show how it can change and grow over time. Just as the characters go through journeys in these books, so too does their relationship with each other.
Q: Who is your favourite 'bad guy' to write in these books?
A: I love writing Morrigan!
Q: Much of the plot stems from what has gone before on Arranmore, how hard was it to weave in the history through The Storm Keeper's Island and The Lost Tide Warriors?
A: It's tricky establishing a world, its history and its culture, without info-dumping, but it's also exciting getting to create several different time-periods and storylines too. I enjoy the challenge, and I particularly like writing about Storm Keepers of the past.
Q: The Lost Tide Warriors ends on a strong note but with the story still open - What next for Fionn and the island of Arranmore?
A: There will be lots of chaos, peril, magic, and some very big reveals!
Q: Fionn's grandfather makes candles that store memories and magic. If you could have a candle of your own, what event or weather pattern would you want your candle to hold?
A: I think I would capture a quiet moment - a time when my family is all sitting around the dinner table together, relaxed and happy.
Q: When and where are your favourite places for writing? And what do you love to do when you're not writing?
A: I like to write in my kitchen in the afternoon/evening. When I'm not writing, I travel, read, go for a walk by the sea or watch movies.
Q: Where would be your ideal place to make your home; country or city, island or continent?
A: An island, or a small town by the sea!