Wanderlust: A Song for Ireland is an illustrated novel. I’ll be self-publishing (in real-book and e-book formats) as soon as it is ready to go. Stay tuned for further updates.

Plot: Wanderlust is an urban-fantasy book for teens and adults about two young men who are drawn together by a powerful musical connection. The friends face danger at every turn, until their journey collides with the legends of old Ireland and they must rely on their music to fend off monsters and save the day.


Nathaniel Hawkins (Taniel) is twenty-two years old, out of a job, and feeling pretty sorry for himself until he meets Vanya and realizes how interesting life can get.

Instruments: Keyboard and Irish whistle

Special skills: Band management, telling stories.

Ivan Larkin (Vanya) is a nineteen-year-old rocker/vagabond with a penchant for loneliness and musical talents that eclipse any performer Taniel has ever heard.

Instruments: Guitar and Celtic Harp

Special skills: Traveling, singing.

Illustrations: The illustrations for Wanderlust: A Song For Ireland  are digital paintings created in Adobe Photoshop. Each chapter features one or two full-bleed illustrations (meaning the picture goes all the way to the edge of the page) and one Chapter Spot at the beginning of each chapter. I’ve created the interior illustrations in black and white to keep printing costs affordable.

Source Material: Wanderlust features some really fascinating legends from the Irish Age of Heroes, or the Ulster Cycle. These stories are brutal, human, and hilarious, and altogether more concrete and dynamic than some stereotypical ideas you might have that feature washed-out fairies in a dreamy Celtic Twilight. If your conception of Irish myth comes from popular culture, you might find these stories really surprising. For further reading, check out Early Irish Myths and Sagas Translated by Jeffrey Gantz, or The Tain translated by Ciaran Carson (Carson is the one I have read; there is also a classic translation by Thomas Kinsella). The Tain especially serves as a backdrop and catalyst for the events in Wanderlust.

History: If you’ve known me for a while, you know that Wanderlust is a story I’ve been working with for a long time. The characters date from about my junior year of high school (thank you high school math class) and the story from my senior year of high school. I actually created an edition of Wanderlust: A Song for Ireland as my senior project in high school, and even self-published it on Lulu.com. I was proud of this book at the time, but as the years passed I became increasingly embarrassed by the awkward format, poor design, overabundance of typos, and incredibly amateur illustrations (my mom would tell you they’re endearing, but then she would, wouldn’t she?). At the same time, I couldn’t let go of the story, and I couldn’t let go of the characters. Vanya and Taniel still meant something to me, still haunted me. I still believed in them.

Finally, around the end of my fourth year of college, I decided that I had to return to Wanderlust, and I had to do it right. My original plans included having a finished book ready for my Senior Exhibition at the end of my fifth year of college (May 2012), but that didn’t quite pan out. When it came to crunch time I put in the best effort I could, but I didn’t want to turn out an unsatisfactory book (again) because I was striving to meet a deadline. In the end, my Senior Exhibition featured the first seven chapters of Wanderlust in a professionally bound prototype edition, along with 16 illustrations (7 chapter spots, 9 full page).

Now, it is the year after my graduation, and I have what I haven’t really had for years: time. I believe I can say with some confidence that Wanderlust is really coming together. It’s gotten longer (we’re looking at 12 chapters now, instead of ten) and the plot has gotten more interesting, and altogether more dire. I’m really excited for you to read it, and I hope you’ll stick around to see how it turns out.

4 thoughts on “Wanderlust

  1. Grace, I too finally found time. Time to read and perhaps make a reply. I must tell you I really enjoy reading your words, especially the way you have written this page. I, as you may know am NOT a reader like you, your family or you Aunt. However you have my interest and I now am looking forward ( with as much patience as I can muster) for each and every word you write.

  2. Oh wow! I love old Irish fairy tales and while I do keep to the images of a Celtic twilight when thinking of Irish mythology, I am happy to say that I’ve strayed from gathering my information from mainstream representations.

    There is nothing more fascinating to me than old folklore, regardless of culture.

    Wanderlust is definitely something that I am going to keep an eye open for. I am also looking up your suggestion by Gantz as I can never have too many fables on my shelves.

    While it does not focus primarily on Irish folklore, I would like to point out a book that I have found most fascinating both for the information within and the beautiful illustrations. The Complete Encyclopedia of Elves, Goblins, and Other Little Creatures by Pierre Dubois and illustrated by Claudine & Roland Sabatier offers close inspection of these creatures from all across the world with special emphasis on the creation myths of Nordic traditions (such as the story of Ymir and so on).

    Keep up the awesome work! I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar and Ivan sounds like my kind of guy. I could see myself getting lost in Wanderlust.

    • Thanks for your support, Shawn, and I’m glad Wanderlust has caught your interest! I’ll have to look into that book you mentioned. I’m sorting my shelves right now and the one designated for fables is actually getting pretty full, but I won’t mind if it starts to overflow. 🙂 I’ve been meaning to learn more about Norse myth. I have a copy of Tolkien’s translation of Sigurd and Gudrun (I am ALL ABOUT the epics) but I haven’t gotten around to reading it just yet. Maybe this year!

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