I had wanted to tell the story of Christianity in Wales for at least 20 years. After all, I told the story of Christian England in GLASTONBURY, of Scotland in THE FIELDS OF BANNOCKBURN, and of Northern Ireland in THE BANKS OF THE BOYNE. Wales had to come next, didn’t it? But publishers change, markets change, writers change. . .
In 2001 I researched the story of St. David spreading Christianity throughout his beloved land and the phenomenal accounts of the 1904 Welsh Revival that swept the coal mining villages of the Rhonda Valley for a nonfiction book I hoped to publish. But the time was not yet.
Then came The Monastery Murders and I had a whole new avenue to tell so many stories I had been longing to tell. And with AN UNHOLY COMMUNION, book 3 in the series, it was time to explore mystical Wales.
First, I revisited the scenes of the stories I would be telling— or rather, Father Antony, my resident church historian, would be telling. Then, because Felicity and Antony were in Wales to lead a youthwalk, I needed to experience a walking pilgrimage. So I joined a group walking the ancient pilgrimage way from London to Walsingham— fortunately, a considerably less mountainous route than that hiked by my fictional characters.
Wales, however, wasn’t the only new territory for Felicity to explore. Because one of the themes of this series is to explore the reality of good and evil and much of Felicity’s spiritual development comes from her exploration of new-to-her aspects of Christianity, AN UNHOLY COMMUNION deals with the reality of evil.
Wales is a land where there are many "thin places," as the Dean of St. David’s Cathedral said to me. It is a place where one can feel very close to God, indeed. And sometimes this same thinness can make way for forces from the other side.
This was part of the story I needed to tell— all based on careful research into experiences of deliverance ministers and those who deal with evil as part of their Christian ministry. Just as I don’t make up any of the history I recount in my novels, I wasn’t about to make up any encounters with evil. Rather, I transfered actual deliverance stories to my characters.
It’s a rather different story from others in my series, a very different story from one I would have told before. But AN UNHOLY COMMUNION was the story I needed to tell this time.
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