I first heard the whisperings of Conor Archer’s story when I went back home one summer in 1991 and visited Effigy Mounds National Monument on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River.
It’s a great place to see what the Mound Builders, a vanished Native American people, constructed about a thousand years ago. The burial mounds aren’t just grave sites; they are mounds of earth that tell stories. You see, each one is in the shape of an animal—bear, owl, eagle, deer, etc. And they’re big and old. From the air, they look so mystical you wonder why the natives built them that way and for what purpose.
I was sitting in the midst of a bunch of those effigy mounds one hot summer afternoon when Conor Archer came traveling into my mind. We hadn’t really met yet, so I don’t think I even knew his name, but he told me a story about those mounds and of an ancient Welsh prince that traveled across the ocean and visited America back in the fourteenth century and decided to stay right around these parts. Apparently, there were adventures to be had back then and that Welsh prince stuck around up until our times. Because he wasn’t entirely human. He was a Shifter and a member of a people called the Roan who, over in the Celtic lands, were called the People of the Sea—seals in the ocean, people on land.
Don’t get the idea that Conor’s story just filled my brain up that long ago afternoon. It was just hints and memories which stuck around for a decade and a half or more before they got written down on paper. And the rest is history. It’s what you read in ROAN and what you are going to read in SKELLIG. Cool stories about a young guy who discovers his destiny and finds the world a much more magical place than he ever thought it could be. There’s evil to fight and good to be done. He doesn’t want to miss it. Neither do you!
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