Readers' Questions

Where Did Sloan Murray’s Character Come From?

Belinda here to tell you about a new series of posts I’m starting where I answer readers’ questions about my books or the so called ‘writing life’. We’re starting the series with a good one: Where did the character of Sloan Murray come from?

The quick answer is Celtic mythology.  But let me expand on that.

The principal character in The Pharmacist’s Deadly Secret, Sloan, first appears in Xander’s Folly, the second book in The King’s Jewel series. That series revolves around the Celtic mythology of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann and the second book features Lugh’s Spear.

In the world I created for my series, Sloan becomes the newest bearer of this mystical spear. As with most aspects of my world building, I studied the mythology to find pieces I could assimilate into my work, perhaps by adding a modern spin.

Here are a few details I picked out from what I read about Lugh:

  • A young warrior
  • Tall and handsome
  • Not born to the Tuatha de Danann
  • A jack-of-all-trades
  • He struck me as a rebel
  • Talented musician

Sound familiar?

When I originally developed the character, I wrote her as a teenaged boy. But then, around that same time, I heard a speaker at a conference suggest imagining your characters with a detail flipped: if their young, what if they were old, if they are upper-class, what if they lived in poverty, if they were male, what if they were female. In that instant I knew my spear bearer would be far more fun and interesting as a girl and Sloan was born.

Much more of Lugh’s story is used in Xander’s Folly, but I don’t want to give too much away. You’ll have to read the book to get the rest!

When naming my fae characters, I usually look for Celtic names that have some meaning that pertains to the character’s story or personality. For this character I also wanted a gender-neutral name. The name Sloan is of Irish Gaelic origin and means warrior.

Murray is an extremely popular surname in both Ireland and Scotland. I picked it not because of its meaning but because it was reminiscent of her family name… but you need to read the series to understand where I’m going with that.

I enjoyed writing about my purple-haired rebel so much; I made her the star of my next series and so, here we are with the first book of The Findale Fae Mysteries. Based in the same small town in the Poconos as the first series. I hope everyone enjoys this story as much as I do.

Thanks for asking such a great question!

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