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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Author Spot Light and Review: Nicola J McDonagh

The Song of Forgetfulness-book 1

Echoes from the lost Ones.

By Nicola J McDonagh

Although I enjoy reading some Sci-Fi and YA dystopian novels, I never thought I would actually write one, let alone a whole series! But I have. Well, at least the first two books.

Echoes began as a challenge from students that attend a creative writing class I teach at my local High School. They kept giving me books to read, such as ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent.’ I’d read them and we’d discuss their merits and failings. The biggest gripe by far was that the female characters never went to the toilet. I asked them if they wanted to see this in the books they read and they said, “Yes.” Then they said, “Why don’t you write one?" So I did.

I didn’t know where to start, but after a discussion with the students about concerns over technological advances, I decided to do some research into the newest tech stuff around. The germ for the story began when I came across an article about cloning and one about a 3D printer that produced chocolate!

I did some more research into biochemistry, the increase in deadly viruses, and the global impact of rising seas. The future was bleak. Okay then, in my realm plague and viral infection wipes out most animal and human life. Result? A hungry nation. A possible plot. 

I live in the UK so it made sense for NotsoGreatBritAlbion to be somewhere higher than sea level-Scotland. So the names of my characters had to be Celtic in origin. One of the first ones I came across was Adara- bird catcher. I thought what the huff? Then I thought that’s my heroine. She has a supernatural talent to lure the only edible creatures left, the birds, to the ground. Vulnerability and power. I realised that the names and meaning of each character would help me to define their world and how they behaved in it. And from those few names I added others and the story began to take shape.

My imagination went to work envisaging a world where the fear of disease would define how and where you lived. So I divided my populace into dirt fearing Citydwellers and nature loving Woodsfolk. And then I needed an evil protagonist, an unseen force that provides food and then takes it away - Agros. 

My story needed a journey to enable Adara to move away from her clean, safe environment and experience all the diversity of this hostile realm in order to grow. An abduction of her brother by the Agros gave Adara the motivation to begin her adventure.

I chose to use a slang-based language to create a futuristic feel to the narrative and because, let’s face it; the words that people use to communicate would change over a few hundred years. It’s not always easy to write in this style, but it’s certainly fun and I swear bubchat will catch on one day.


I’m not like the other girlygigs in Cityplace; I’m a bringer. I can sing to the only animals left in NotsoGreatBritAlbion and make them land. Adara, catcher of birds -that’s what they call me and that’s what I can do.

Now that the Agros have cut supplies and folk are near starved, I’d best keep shutums about my name though, or everyone will want a piece of me. I’d best creep and peep all stealthy-like to track down my bro-bro, snatched by Agro scum for who knows what.

Good job I’m trained in S.A.N.T. ways too, for I’ll need all my roughhouse skills to keep the Agro spies, Nearly’s and wolfies at bay until I find and bring home my bro and all the other missing Meeks.

I just wish I knew who or what is following my every move.

Experience a quirky tale set hundreds of years in the future, told through the eyes of Adara as she listens to the echoes from days long past, and embarks upon her journey of discovery.

My Review of "Echoes From the Lost Ones":

A young lady by the name of Adara ventures to find her brother whom she is convinced has been kidnapped. Adara is a strong headed individual in a futuristic time when many things are a combination of old and new. Including herself. She has the body of a futuristic person, six fingers and all, but the heart of an old and valiant warrior, with a gift that is fitted for her namesake.
During her rather adventurous expedition to find a brother which she knows she must save, she encounters a people that at one point she believed were her enemy. Yet, not all is as it seems. Her enemy proves to be her brethren and those whom she'd been inclined to trust in were indeed not what they seemed either.
Her friends Wirt, Eadgard, Marcellus and Sister Gabriel were her backbone and precisely the help she needed. The story takes a dark turn, yet Adara's talent and last minute hope in the almighty Greenman and Babychesus prove to be an aid in the bleakest of moments.
A story of trust and faith “Echoes from the Lost Ones” is an adventure that takes you to a time and place like no other.
This book reminded me of many stories that I've enjoyed in my life. For example:
In their manner of speech “Cloud Atlas”
In their culture “Time Machine”
In their faith in each other (and I know this is an odd comparison, but) “Pippy Longstocking”... I couldn't help but see Adara as a Pippy Longstocking type.
All in all, I enjoyed this story. I'm looking forward to the second part.