* The most unexpected titbit I learned had nothing to do with corvids, as it happens: in the 19th century, the Hill of Tara was believed by some to be the burial place of the Ark of the Covenant. This theory was held by the British Israelites, who believed that the peoples of Britain and Ireland were descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and between 1899 and 1902 (after many years of cajoling and refusals), they carried out a number of digs at Tara to find proof of it. If the idea had caught on, it might have inspired a much colder and wetter Indiana Jones movie than Raiders.
* My favourite thing about writing for this anthology (aside from the thrill of working with Narrelle and Clan Destine Press again, of course) was writing an unreliable narrator who is believed to be reliable by others around him. Modern society is concerned to an alarming degree with separating the 'normal' from the 'abnormal,' and psychiatry is one of those authorities invoked to draw the dividing line - even though Freud himself cautioned that nobody is really 'normal' at the end of the day. I thought it would be interesting to explore that idea by crashing one of the more terrifying figures of Irish mythology into it at high speed.
* I really do like jackdaws. There was a rookery full of them next to my house growing up, so they fell down our chimney with irritating frequency, and the closer you get to them, the more you realise that there's an alien intelligence going on there: they put individuals on 'trial' and exile the ones that break their unknowable social contract; they have morning and evening routines, and they have communal responses to certain events (if you see scores of screeching jackdaws flying in a circle over a certain spot, you know that one of them is on the ground and in trouble). They're problem-solvers, and they're fiercely loyal to each other - on two occasions, I've had to rescue a foolish hawk from a mob of jackdaws when it made the mistake of trying to snatch one. They're an intelligent species, living alongside us, and always watching. No wonder human culture is fascinated by them!
My website is at jackfennell.com.
Read all the Q&As with our Clamour and Mischief authors.