Jamie Poole and the Painter Passing Through
Mark Twain once said, "Write what you know." I've stated in my biography that I took these words to heart, and they've stuck like peanut butter. I've accused Jamie of stalking me across the globe. Perhaps I'm the one stalking her. Now so many years into writing this book series, it's difficult to readily say who chases whom. Without traveling in time (as far as I know...grin!) I have visited nearly all the locations where events in the series take place. I've even been to the Isle of Larupus.
That's right. The fictional isle where Eliyana's people lived.
But if it's fictional, how have I been there? Easy. It's based on a real place. That place is a small island in northern Ontario called Christian Island. It's not too far from Orillia, Ontario. That town may not sound familiar unless recent news of the passing of a legendary singer caught your attention. Gordon Lightfoot.
Let me back up and explain how I got from a Canadian folk icon to an island inhabited by Eliyana's people.
Here is the map taken from Tome of Tubal-Cain. Jamie describes her first view of the island like this: The Isle of Larupus had seemed a fable. I stood upon the sandy beach and drank in the same stabbing winds that buffeted Osiris. Time was angry. In Eliyana’s language,
Larupus derived from their word for wolf. In fact, when I spoke her language, and I referred to the Larupine clan, I heard myself say People of the White Wolf. After today, all that would remain of this island would be the bump of an especially tall hill and the skeleton of an oak tree perched atop. This hill was situated near the Druid’s camp outside the main village. Frobisher had taught me that.
When I began world-building for Jamie, I needed an island. I chose to design Larupus after Christian Island where I had spent many summers with my grandparents who owned a cottage there. From the air the island looks like an animal's face. I once flew over it on a return flight from Scotland. It looked like this:
There is no real "reason" Larupus looks like Christian Island. I simply borrowed from real life and created this detail. Perhaps it was the face and how Eliyana's people came to be known. People of the White Wolf.
And what of Gordon Lightfoot, you ask? My grandparents once met the legendary singer and introduced me to his music specifically because he sang a song about Christian Island. He actually sang about many locations near his home of Orillia. Gordon Lightfoot passed away May 1, and his funeral was this week. Upon marking his passing I thought I would share this small detail.
While disaster and supernatural forces meet Jamie upon the Isle of Larupus, my days on its real-life twin were much more in sync with Lightfoot's song. It's a lovely place.
This blog goes to show you inspiration can come from anywhere. And, in this case, reality and fiction don't always match. However, I am ever so grateful to Mr. Lightfoot for his treasure of words as he certainly was a master wordsmith. A Painter Passing Through.