Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales was the First Place winner in the Fiction category of the 2019 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.
Following find an interview with author Ayn Cates Sullivan.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales was published by Infinite Light Publishing in Santa Barbara California (Nov 1, 2018).
What’s the book’s first line?
“Writing a book of this nature requires a village.”
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
In the #MeToo Era, Women Take Strength from the Divine Feminine Essence Passed Down in the Legend and Lore of the Celtic Goddesses and Heroines. We need super heroines who can remind us how to live and thrive on planet Earth!
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
In 1985 I was granted an Overseas Research Award by Kings College London to study the work of Lady Gregory at a doctoral level. What I did not know was that Lady Gregory was not only the patron of the famous Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, who also a folklorist and playwright. My research introduced me to a wonderful world of Celtic heroes and heroines. I was overjoyed to discover that Celtic women were considered equals to their men. These wonderful heroines were leaders, judges, warriors, healers, bards, druids and seers. Celtic Goddesses understood how to live in harmony with the Earth, and can teach us how to thrive today. This is an ancient message that is needed today. Later I went through a personal crisis and returned to the Chalice Well and other sacred wells of Britain and Ireland. I found my roots, my wholeness and inspiration there. I returned with stories of heroines which have been wildly popular. I just finished my 45th podcast of the year, and more people have contacted me for radio shows and further podcasts. I love watching women’s faces light up as they discover there are super heroines in the distant past that can still be called upon for inspiration.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
Did you know that the first person to achieve the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend was a woman? Her name was Dindraine. There are six primary women in Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales: Arianrhod, Blodeuwedd, Iouga, Elen, Elaine and Dindraine. Arianrhod is a Moon Mother Goddess who teaches how to forgive, release suffering and live again after we have fallen. Blodeuwedd, a woman magically created out of flowers, reminds us that we can choose again. Iouga and Elen, remind us of the deep and secret ways of the forests, and why it is time to take a Heroine’s Quest now. Elaine & Dindraine arise out of Arthurian Legend and are powerful Grail Champions.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
Anyone with Celtic bloodlines (that would be at least nine million people in the USA according to ancestry.com) would no doubt be fascinated about their history, or “her-story!” I was thrilled to learn about women who were Druids, Healers, Seers, Judges, Warriors, etc. who loved men and battled beside them. The Celts believed in equality and they had a native understanding of the Earth. The pre-Celtic people, such as the Tuatha, were magical people. We still find traces of them in books such as Lord of the Rings with the Elves and Merlin. This book is ambitious in honoring the women, heroines and Goddesses (who in some cases were demonized) back to the modern time. These magical characters understand the Earth, how to live in harmony with the natural world, and have many solutions for us now. We can begin by remembering the ancient tradition of Dreaming with the Land.
What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?
I have had traditional publishers in the UK, and have gone the indie route in the USA. I was told there was no interest in Celtic myth and legend. Perhaps The Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones changed that. Legends of the Grail: Stories of Celtic Goddesses (2017) is in its 4th printing and (2018) is now in its second printing. I worked as an editor with Kingfisher books and was an editor for many literary magazines in the UK. What I love most about being an indie author is that I am in charge of everything from the original idea, to the writing, editing, design, illustrations, printing, distribution and PR. I suppose that’s what is also hard about indie publishing. I am completing three new books now, and if I had more time to write, then I could produce more books! Meanwhile, I do love PR, so either way, I know the books will continue to be successful.
Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
I would go with a traditional publisher if we made a good team and the publisher could help me broaden my market. It’s really important to be that I have a great team of like-minded people. I have already had indie best sellers, one with 250,000 downloads. I like keeping my copyright and staying in charge, but I am also a team player. I know that certain books would do best with Indie publishing (books that push the edge) and other books would do better with traditional publishing. I believe this book, like Clarisa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With The Wolves, (or the book of folklore I am working on now called King, Heroines & The Goddess of Sovereignty) could bridge easily into traditional publishing. I have been surprised by the amount of literary awards (over 30!), positive attention and sales I have received so far. It is very encouraging.