The Cross of Santiago by Evie Gaughan
An ancient love story, locked in the heart of a sunken treasure, is destined to find its happy ending… even if it takes four hundred years to do so.
Amanda Morrison does not believe in love or destiny, but when a long¬lost aunt leaves her a mysterious golden cross in her will, her uneventful life in Galway City is turned upside down. The arrival of Xavier, a charismatic yachtsman in search of treasure and adventure, complicates life further, as their paths seem destined to cross. While Amanda tries to uncover the truth about her family’s past, a strange series of events ensues involving hippy hypnosis, five¬a¬side football, scary sheep, and radical reincarnation. Though, not all in that order.
“I am running, barefoot across the cobbles.” “Where are you going?”
“To see Brother Thaddeus. I try to go there whenever I can, whenever father is away.”
Chris was sitting on a wicker chair that had in a former life graced his parents’ conservatory. He was sitting to the side of the treatment bed, where Amanda lay comfortably with her hands by her sides. He did not for one second take her trust for granted. However, he did feel slightly apprehensive about the fact that he had no idea what he was doing. He had read over and over the ground-breaking work of Dr. Brian
Weiss in ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’, and how he had struggled to understand what was going on, despite being a trained psychiatrist.His own credentials left a lot to be desired.
Still, there was one thing Chris knew for sure; simply because there is no explanation for something, does not mean it cannot exist. They would just have to explore together and as long as Amanda was happy to continue, he would be there for her, just like he promised her brother Jay. Her soft voice broke his pensive silence.
“It’s summertime; the bog cotton is growing like little white stars on the hillside.” “Where are you now Amanda?” he asked.
“Amanda? No, my name is Annora.”
Chris felt his skin prickled by a million goose bumps. He was terrified and exhilarated all at once. ‘What is going on here?’ he wondered to himself. Even her voice had changed, she was still whispering, but like a young girl. She seemed to be more innocent and naïve.
“We’re in the garden behind the monastery. The cloisters protect the herbs and keep the air still. I bring Brother Thaddeus fish from the market and he’s teaching me to read. We speak only in English or Latin, he won’t talk to me as gaeilge; he says I can learn enough of that at home.”
“And how did you meet Brother Thaddeus”, Chris asked in a conversational tone. “I told you, I bring them the fish. The Brothers won’t come to the market.”
Chris’s voice grew softer and almost inaudible, while for Amanda, the sights and sounds of the medieval city grew brighter and louder. Until…….
The Power of a Good Book by Evie Gaughan
Author interviews typically contain the question, “Name a book that changed your life?”, and the interviewee inevitably rhymes off a list of books that range from Ulysses to War and Peace. Hats off to anyone who can get through those literary classics, but my own choice would be far more humble. I mean I could say it was Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’ that changed my life, but the truth is that I would never have dared to read Kafka if it hadn’t been for the two authors that re-ignited my love of reading and consequently, changed the course of my life.
In 2002 I was living in Montreal, Canada – doing the whole working abroad thing that is the typical Irish experience. Well after three years, the gloss had worn off my Canadian dream and I was really starting to miss home, my family and just being able to have a conversation with someone who understood me (literally and metaphorically!) I grew weary of bridging the cultural divides and no matter how hard I tried, I always felt like the outsider. Things were a bit uninspiring on the professional side too – I was working in a job I didn’t like, but taking every opportunity there was to write. Eventually, everyone in the company would come to me when they wanted anything written, from marketing material to emails! Still, I didn’t have the belief to pursue it any further.
Then one day I took myself off to my local library (money was tight!) and found two of the most important catalysts in my life – Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes. Reading stories written about Ireland by Irish women was just the kind of connection with home that I needed at that time. Tara Road and Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married became my new best friends. I felt so lucky that a library on the other side of world stocked lots of books by Irish writers and so I continued. Watermelon, Rachel’s Holiday, The Glass Lake, Evening Class – I was hooked!
In time I realised that it wasn’t just the link to home that made these books so precious to me, but something in the back of my mind was beginning to stir: a long lost dream of becoming a storyteller myself. As a child, I was known for being the one who made up long, rambling stories that probably didn’t make any sense, but engrossed me in a way that little else did.
Before I knew it, I was rushing home from my job in the evenings to start work on my very first novel. I was writing. Something I would never have dared to even attempt before borrowing those books from the library. Not only that, over time I found everything in my life changing – I quit my job, moved back to Ireland and I haven’t looked back. It was bye-bye corporate world, hello publishing! So, to Marian Keyes and the late, great Maeve Binchy, thank you for your stories because they were companions when I badly needed them and provided the spark to inspire me to follow my dreams. And to all my fellow emerging authors – that’s how powerful stories can be, so keep going, it’s worth it. My greatest wish is that one day my stories will inspire, engage and entertain people for many years to come!
About the Author
Evie has always been a storyteller. From a very young age, she held a captive audience (mostly with rope!) as she performed her party piece, which involved sitting on a high stool and telling extremely tall tales.
Things have moved on a bit since then and Evie’s love of storytelling has blossomed. Having published a number of short stories and articles for Irish magazines such as Woman’s Way and GalwayNow, she is set to launch her debut novel, ‘The Cross Of Santiago’, on September 16th 2013. A time-slip novel full of intrigue, humour and romance, it is an exciting blend of historical fiction and contemporary women’s fiction.
Evie lives on the West Coast of Ireland in Galway City, where she shares her home with two sewing machines, an easel and a guitar that refuses to stay in tune. She is greatly inspired by her hometown, which is not only the setting for her novel, but also the subject of her other passion, art. She has several paintings currently exhibiting at the local gallery, featuring vibrant streetscapes and quirky designs. Evie is currently working on her second novel and short story collection.
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