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Dundurn News

The Lure of Ireland

Today’s blog post is from Christopher Dinsdale, author of The Emerald Key.  Christopher Dinsdale is a teacher with the York Region District School Board who enjoys writing during his summer breaks. His novels for young readers include Broken Circle, Betrayed, and Stolen Away, which was shortlisted for the Red Maple Award. He lives in Newmarket, Ontario. Today Christopher tells us what drew him to write about Ireland in his latest book.
Emerald Key“The Emerald Key was a book that came about through three seemingly separate quirks of fate.  First, my mom gave me an amazing book to read called “How Ireland Saved Western Civilization” by Thomas Cahill.  She knew about my love of history and she thought I would like it.  Once I started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down!  I was amazed to learn that Irish universities survived the collapse of the Roman Empire.  As the rest of Europe entered the illiterate Dark Ages, Ireland continued to produce exquisite Latin texts as well as stunning works of art.  The monks in charge of these higher centres of learning took it upon themselves to “export” education back to Europe.  Although it took generations, the monks continued to transfer their teachings to mainland Europe until the arrival of the Vikings, who plundered and pillaged Ireland so thoroughly that the Irish people entered their own version of The Dark Ages.
Five years ago, I was part of a teaching exchange to England.  While in England, I was offered a chance to fly across the Irish Sea to teach in Northern Ireland for a week.  Upon my arrival in Belfast, I immediately fell in love with both the country and it’s people.  That experience led me to write both my second novel Stolen Away as well as The Emerald Key. Finally, I’ve had many fans of Stolen Away plead with me to continue the saga of the story’s heroine, Kiera.  They were likely thinking of a sequel – so I hope they won’t be too disappointed to find instead a slight prequel for Kiera as we find her back in Ireland for the first chapter of The Emerald Key.  All of these separate pieces led me to research the devastating potato famine and the huge influx of Irish immigrating to Canada during the 19th century.  As usual with my writing, I found that my research did a great job helping me piece together what I think is an exciting storyline for both young and old readers.  Enjoy the story and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

About the author

The Markerting Coordinator at Dundurn, lover of books, tea and dancing in the rain.


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