The obscure gems revealed by researchToday we welcome Loucinda McGary, a great fan of research as you'll see from her post below. Like the Posse members, Loucinda is a former Golden Heart finalist. Her first book, The Wild Sight, will be out from Sourcebooks this October. She recently received her fantastic cover. Let's all pause for a moment to ooh and ahh...
Okay, on to the post.
The Niall Marker
By Loucinda McGary
One of the things I love about doing research was expressed very well in the words of Forrest Gump, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”
When I was doing research for my manuscript that became my debut novel, The Wild Sight: An Irish tale of deadly deeds and forbidden love, I immersed myself in all things Irish. I read about art, history, mythology, anything related to the Emerald Isle, and that is how I happened upon something called The Niall Marker.
Geneticists have isolated a gender-specific trait that they have traced back to a 5th century High King of Ireland, Niall of the Nine Hostages. Niall became the founding father of Clan O’Neill and gained his moniker by taking high-born hostages (not quite prisoners but not houseguests either) from the five kingdoms of Ireland, Ulster, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Meath, plus one each from Scotland, the Saxons, the Britons and the Franks. This helped keep the peace during Niall’s reign and made his descendants the most powerful rulers of Ireland for the next six centuries.
Being the history geek and lover of trivia that I am, I decided I must incorporate this fascinating bit of obscure information into my novel. And it actually became one of the turning points in my story. Only it turns out The Niall Marker might not be that obscure after all...
A few weeks ago, I watched a fascinating program on PBS about how African-Americans are tracing their roots by studying their DNA. Scientists have perfected a technique that can tell anyone what percent of their DNA is from Africa, what percent is Native American, and what percent is from Northern Europe. The narrator of the program, a professor at Harvard, was quite surprised to learn that over 30% of his DNA came from Northern Europe. But that's not all!
Turns out that he had Irish ancestors. How did the experts know? (drum roll, please) Because he had The Niall Marker. I couldn't believe it! There was my fascinating little piece of trivia that I'd put into my book on national television!
Forrest was right, you never know. And truth IS stranger than fiction!
To find out more about Loucinda and her book, visit www.loucindamcgary.com. Or you can find her hanging out daily at the Romance Bandits blog.