Happy Tuesday and welcome to my stop on the Glow of the Fireflies blog tour!! I’m so excited to be on this tour, and I’m even more excited for you to read about what Lindsey researched that didn’t make it into the final book! Read on to find out more about the book, author, and tour, plus enter a giveaway for an annotated copy of Glow of the Fireflies(plus additional swag!)!!
Glow of the Fireflies by Lindsey Duga
Published by Entangled Teen on October 1, 2019
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Briony never planned to go back to the place she lost everything.
Firefly Valley, nestled deep within the Smoky Mountains, is better kept in her past. After an unexplained fire gave Briony amnesia, her mother disappeared and her dad moved them to Knoxville.
But now her grandmother needs a caretaker and Briony's dad volunteers her to help. The moment she returns, her whole world shifts. She feels a magical connection to this valley, as if it's literally part of her somehow.
And when she meets a hot guy who claims he was her childhood friend but now mysteriously keeps his distance, Briony starts piecing together her missing past...and discovers her mother didn't leave to start a new life somewhere. She's trapped in the hidden world within the valley.
Now, Briony will do whatever it takes to rescue her, even if it means standing up against dangerously powerful nature spirits. Even if it means giving up her first love.
What was your favorite bit of research that you ended up not using?
This book was a journey. In fact, the book that I’d set out to write was not the same one that got published. While the setting and most of the characters remained the same, the plot of my original novel had much more to do with the three planes of existence mentioned in the book: the physical, the ethereal, and the astral plane, and the rules and beliefs that went with them.
I always knew that I wanted to write a book set in the Smoky Mountains and I always knew that I wanted to incorporate nature spirits somehow, some way. In my googling, I came across a few sites regarding nature spirits and their role in New Age Spirituality.
For those of you not familiar, the New Age Movement was a term thrown about a lot in the 1970’s—think of pop culture “hippie” references like Across the Universe and the musical, Hair. While often considered to be a religion, New Age Spirituality did not have many of the traits of a traditional one. There was no religious text, central organization, recognized clergy, dogma or creed, and definitely no formalized membership. Instead, it was more of a culmination of many ideas, practices, philosophies, and teachings like Astrology, Taoism, Hinduism, Theosophy, and others. New Age Spirituality is very much an individualized religion, yet it stresses the individual’s effect on the world around them. The Age of Aquarius was all about eliminating discrimination caused by racism, nationalism, and gender biases. It strived for a world of equality and spiritual freedom and expression.
But I digress. I didn’t mean for this to sound like a term paper! Going back to my book… while reading about New Age Spirituality, I came across some theosophists ideas that would work well in the world-building elements of GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES. According to Theosophist Geoffrey Hodson, there are spiritual creatures that influence nature called devas. Deva is a Sanskrit word and it means “heavenly, divine, anything of excellence.” In Hinduism, a deva is a divine, godlike being. In New Age beliefs, devas play a more specific role in nature and are thought to influence ecology by manipulating elements. This inadvertently gave me the idea to have nature spirits that could control the basic elements: earth, wind, water, and even fire.
According to some New Age leaders, devas and other metaphysical beings (meaning “beyond the physical” like angels, fairies, and other spirits) can be seen by those who have opened their Third Eye. Again, New Age beliefs had its own definition for someone’s Third Eye. It’s a symbol of the individual’s state of enlightenment or the recollection of mental images containing spiritual or psychological importance that tends to be very specific to the individual. In my original story, Briony actually had her Third Eye opened as a child then later closed for her protection. When she opened her Third Eye again she was able to see the spiritual energy—mana—the wisps, and other nature spirits. I even played with the idea of her only being able to see the spirits at night, but that opened up an entirely new set of research. Why is it that people tend to see ghosts mostly at night? Well, turns out there’s a scientific explanation that too—see this excerpt from an article:
“Some researchers have theorized that this is one of the reasons people report more ghostly activity at night. Because of the way the solar wind interacts with the Earth’s magnetosphere, the planet’s magnetic field stretches out on the side that’s in darkness. Some researchers hypothesize that this expanded field interacts more strongly with people’s brains.”
At the end of the day, devas, Third Eyes, and the metaphysical all ended up overcomplicating the story that I’d set out to tell: which was a story about childhood friends and their connection to home, and to each other, that surpasses all planes of existence.
Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.
Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.