Mary Lindsey

Ashes on the Waves - Extras

Frequently Asked Questions about Ashes on the Waves

Mary has gotten lots of fantastic emails from readers and wants to share some of the most frequently asked questions she has received:

There are unusual words and names in the book. How do you pronounce them?

Ashes on the Waves contains words derived from Scottish and Irish Gaelic.Though pronunciations vary from region to region, below are common pronunciations of significant Gaelic words in the book:

Bealtaine -
Bean Sidhe -
Celtic -
"kell tick"
Dòchas -
Manannán mac Lir -
Muireann -
"Mure (rhymes with pure) -een"
Na Fir Gorhm -
Selkie -
Taibhreamh -
“tai-rvuv" or "tow (rhymes with wow)-rev”

Fun bit: When I was developing the plot, my daughter and I had nicknames for the creatures. When we discussed the Bean Sidhes, Na Fir Ghorm and Manannán mac Lir, we referred to them as the "Bean Seeds," "Blue Meanies," and "Banana Man."

Why is the island off the coast of the United States (Maine) rather than somewhere more organic for Celtic mythology, like the Scottish Isles, for example?

Ashes on the Waves is a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe's life and works. In keeping with that, I set it in the U.S. because Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer--one of our greatest.

So, since Poe was American, why the Celtic lore?

I wanted a different spin on the "winged seraphs of Heaven" and the "demons down under the sea," so after some research, I decided to nod to John Allan's Scottish roots as well as my own and use the amazing mythology of that culture. I felt like it fit beautifully with the Gothic feel of the source poem and Scotch and Irish craftsmen and laborers were used in the construction of many of the American "castles" built in the mid and late 1800's. The narrator in Poe's poem could certainly refer the shiny, larger than life Bean Sidhes as angels and the Na Fir Ghorm as sea demons to suit his story.

Is the island of Dòchas a real place?

No. I had already roughed out the story on an isolated island off the coast of Maine or Canada when I decided I needed to go up there and get a feel for that part of the country (Texas is nothing like it). The internet is great, but there not as powerful as experiencing a place in person.

I Googled "Maine islands" and found the most amazing place! There is an island very much like my fictitious island named Monhegan Island. When I read up on it, I discovered I only had a week left before it closed down for the winter season. I booked airfare and my husband and I flew into the closest airport, rented a car, stayed overnight in a port town and then took a ferry over to the little island and stayed there for twenty four hours. It has an indiginous lobster fishing community, but thrives due to tourists in the form of artists and birdwatchers (Andrew Wyeth painted there). I rewrote parts of the book, especially the description of where the characters lived after visiting the island.

Pictures of Monhegan Island can be viewed on the Ashes on the Waves Photo Page.

Liam's speech patterns and vocabulary are old fashioned and anachronistic. Much of the narrative could be considered overly descriptive and even melodramatic by today's standards. Why didn't you just make him modern like Anna?

The reason I wrote this book was to pay tribute to one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe. Not only has Poe been credited with pioneering several genres, he was a tremendous wordsmith. His enduring appeal comes not only from the subject matter he chose, but from the way he told the story. The words he used are as much a part of his style as the atmosphere and stories he created with them. Some works in the gothic style tend to be descriptive, melodramatic, and romantic, and Poe was a master of the style. (I suggest checking out Ligeia or The Fall of the House of Usher to see this at its most pronounced).

I chose to have Liam's speech and narrative touch (though primitively) on the style of Poe's own writing. I wanted the reader to believe that Liam could write or create that poem himself. That the poem is in HIS voice. Also, if you are familiar with Poe's life, you will notice many biographical ties between Liam and Edgar Allan Poe.

Each chapter's tone, vocabulary, and pace is reflective of the piece used in the epigraph at the top of every chapter. Before I began a chapter, I would read the piece from which the chapter quote was chosen in order to get into the "feel" of that work for the chapter.

Ashes on the Waves not only nods to the source poem, "Annabel Lee," but to dozens of other works as well. I am hopeful that readers will be interested enough by the epigraphs to seek out the complete works from which they are quoted and read them again, or perhaps for the first time.

Fun bit: I did not use a thesaurus or dictionary a single time when writing the book, but had a dictionary by my side and used it often when reading Poe's works. Wow, what a vocabulary he possessed!

Epigraphs/quotes in Ashes on the Waves

Ashes on the Waves was inspired not only by the poem, "Annabel Lee," but by dozens of works by Edgar Allan Poe quoted throughout the book.

Mary read thousands of pages of Poe's works including short stories, poems, letters, essays, and critical analyses, in addition to several biographies of Edgar Allan Poe before constructing the story for Ashes on the Waves.

Not only are the mood, tempo and style of each chapter determined by the epigraph at the beginning, when lined up and read in order, the quotes used are a rough outline for the story.

Edgar Allan Poe quotes used in Ashes on the Waves by Chapter:

The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably,

the most poetical topic in the world—and equally is it

beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are

those of a bereaved lover.

~ from “The Philosophy of Composition,” 1846

Chapter 1

There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him,

who shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a Plunge.

To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost;

for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot.

If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to

prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed.

~ from “The Imp of the Perverse,” 1845

Chapter 2

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were—I have not seen

As others saw—I could not bring

My passions from a common spring—

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow—I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone—

And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—

~ from “Alone,” 1830

Chapter 3

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things

which escape those who dream only by night.

~ from “Eleonora,” 1841

Chapter 4

Just as the day dawns to the friendless and houseless beggar who roams

the streets throughout the long desolate winter night—just so tardily—

just so wearily—just so cheerily came back the light of the Soul to me.

~ from “The Premature Burial,” 1844

Chapter 5

There are surely other worlds than this—other thoughts than the thoughts of the multitude—other speculations than the speculations of the sophist.

~ from “The Assignation,” 1834

Chapter 6

I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of

insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.

~ from “The Fall of the House of Usher,” 1839

Chapter 7

Instinct, so far from being an inferior reason, is perhaps the most exacted intellect of all.

~ from “Instinct vs. Reason–A Black Cat” 1840

Chapter 8

Invisible things are the only realities.

~ from “Loss of Breath,” 1832

Chapter 9

Yet what business had I with hope?

~ from “The Pit and the Pendulum,” 1842

Chapter 10

It is not impossible that man, the individual, under certain unusual

and highly fortuitous conditions may be happy.

~ from “The Landscape Garden” (The Domain of Arnheim), 1842

Chapter 11

The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My

original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than

fiendish malevolence . . . thrilled every fibre of my frame.

~ from “The Black Cat,“ 1843

Chapter 12

A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul.

~ from “Ms. Found in a Bottle,” 1833

Chapter 13

There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told.

~ from “The Man of the Crowd,” 1840

Chapter 14

Thou wouldst be loved?—then let thy heart

from its present pathway part not!

Being everything which thou art,

Be nothing which thou art not.

~ from “To F—S S. O—D,” 1835

Chapter 15

Oh, the bells, bells, bells!

What a tale their terror tells

of despair!

~ from “The Bells,” 1848

Chapter 16

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand—

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep—while I weep!

O God! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

~ from “A Dream Within a Dream,” 1827

Chapter 17

I have no time to dote or dream:

You call it hope—that fire of fire!

It is but agony of desire.

~ from “Tamerlane,” 1827

Chapter 18

Though I turn, I fly not—

I cannot depart;

I would try, but try not

To release my heart

And my hopes are dying

While, on dreams relying,

I am spelled by art.

~ from “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter,” 1847

Chapter 19

The appearance of the ocean, in the space between the more

distant island and the shore, had something very unusual about it.

~ from “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” 1841

Chapter 20

Near neighbors are seldom friends.

~ from “Metzengerstein,” 1832

Chapter 21

Hear the loud alarum bells—

Brazen bells

What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

In the startled ear of night

How they scream out their affright!

Too much horrified to speak,

They can only shriek, shriek,

Out of tune

In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire—

In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,

Leaping higher, higher, higher.

~ from “The Bells,” 1848

Chapter 22

No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,

Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven!—oh, God!

How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)

Save only thee and me.

~ from “To Helen,” 1848

Chapter 23

Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain.

~ from “The Imp of the Perverse,” 1845

Chapter 24

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.

~ from “The Raven,” 1845

Chapter 25

The wild—the terrible conspire.

~ from “Tamerlane,” 1827

Chapter 26

The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.

~ from “Marginalia,” 1849

Chapter 27

Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast,

perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the apparently irrelevant.

~ from “Doings of Gotham [Letter VI],” 1844

Chapter 28

We loved with a love that was more than love.

~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849

Chapter 29

There was something in the tone of this note that gave me great uneasiness.

~ from “The Gold-Bug,” 1843

Chapter 30

Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow,

its hues are as various as the hues of that arch—as distinct too, yet as intimately blended.

~ from “Berenice,” 1835

Chapter 31

he angels are not more pure than the heart of a young man who loves with fervor.

~ from “Byron and Miss Chaworth,” 1844

Chapter 32

O craving heart, for the lost flowers

And sunshine of my summer hours!

The undying voice of that dead time,

With its interminable chime,

Rings in the spirit of a spell,

Upon thy emptiness—a knell.

I have not always been as now.

~ from “Tamerlane,” 1827

hapter 33

We gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present,

weaving the dull world around us into dreams.

~ from “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” 1842

Chapter 34

If you will have faith in me, I can and will satisfy your wildest desires.

~ from a letter to Helen Whitman, 1848

Chapter 35

“Villains!” I shrieked. “Dissemble no more!”

~ from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” 1843

Chapter 36

The wind came out of the cloud by night

Chilling . . . my Annabel Lee.

~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849

Chapter 37

We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us,—of the definite with the

indefinite—of the substance with the shadow.

~ from “The Imp of the Perverse,” 1845

Chapter 38

Her high-born kinsmen came

And bore her away from me.

~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849

Chapter 39

Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

~ from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” 1843

Chapter 40

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In the sepulchre there by the sea,

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849

Chapter 41

Fearful indeed the suspicion–but more fearful the doom! It may be asserted,

without hesitation, that no event is so terribly well adapted to inspire the

supremeness of bodily and of mental distress, as is burial before death.

~ from “The Premature Burial,” 1844

Chapter 42

The agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long and final scream of despair.

~ from “The Pit and the Pendulum,” 1842

Chapter 43

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.

~ from “The Premature Burial,” 1844

Chapter 44

And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849

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