Courage and Other Demons (Book 1) Synopsis:
The end of the world will start in the suburbs of Denver with a faery transfer student from Ireland. If you think that’s totally ridiculous, then you understand how Maggie O’Neill feels. In all of her sixteen years, faeries were something you read about in children’s books. They didn’t actually show up on your doorstep. They didn’t kiss you and make your knees go weak and whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Until Simon Brady, that is. Simon changed everything. He makes her heart race and her skin burn with excitement, but he has also changed her core beliefs about the world and made her see it as a dark and dangerous place filled with monsters that belong only in the lines of faery tales. There is no doubt in Maggie’s mind that she loves Simon, but can she see past who he is and find a place for him in her heart?
Abandoned Courage (Book 2) Synopsis:
Maggie O’Neill had a rough junior year… She fell in love with Simon. She found out Simon was a faery. She spent some time with her dead ancestors. An evil faery with control issues came after her and brought his groupies to kill her. …but that was nothing compared to what’s in store for senior year. She’s the new girl at faery boarding school and is subjected to something she never thought she’d have to deal with in her entire life—mean girls. To make matters worse, she’s seeing less and less of Simon, her faery guard is smothering her in their efforts to protect her, and the evil faery is still stalking her, determined to kill her before she can kill him. She starts to wonder if she’ll make it to graduation. Then the unthinkable happens and she wonders if she’ll be able to survive even one more day.
Defining Courage (Book 3) Synopsis:
Eighteen-year-old Maggie O’Neill is a high school dropout. If her parents knew, they’d probably kill her, but that’s the least of her worries. Balor—the evil faery from hell—is still stalking her, someone is still betraying her, and the mean girl at school is still mean. The worst part of her life, however, is figuring out how to live it without Simon. Will Maggie discover a way to defeat Balor? Will she ever be able to out-snark the mean girl? Will she find Simon? Tune in next week—uh, read the book—to find out.
Purchase on Amazon
Courage and Other Demons will be free on Amazon from July 17 – 22!
Jill Daugherty lives in Denver with Bailey, the world’s cutest dog. By day, she works with gifted children and their teachers. By night, she writes. A lot. She is the author of the Courage series, which has received glowing reviews. At the insistence of her readers, she has started work on a spin-off series.
Guest Post – How the series got started, and the inspiration behind it.
A few years ago, I read a book of Irish folklore (“West Irish Folktales and Romances”). This book was published in the 1800’s and is a compilation of stories that had been passed on for many generations – so they’re super old. One of the stories (Simon and Margaret) is about a girl who saves a boy from the evil giant. We don’t have enough stories NOW that have the girl saving the boy, but it was almost unheard of a few hundred years ago and I knew I wanted to do something with it. Unfortunately, the original story is only a few pages long, so I decided to use the story as the springboard for my novel, and researched Irish folklore and mythology so that I could incorporate that, as well. My mom bought a book about Irish mythology at a garage sale a few weeks ago. After reading through it, she called me, very surprised, and told me she didn’t realize I had used actual mythological figures in my books. I told her that I’m just not original enough to come up with all of those people on my own, so I had to depend on ancient stories to help me out. Anyway, I figure at least a few of my ancestors contributed to those original pieces of folklore and mythology, and if you can’t steal from your own family, what good is it to have one?
I originally wrote Maggie as a very strong, independent young woman with a clear sense of who she is and where she wants to go in her life. While I was writing the first draft, I worked as a gifted specialist in a 6th – 12th grade school. When I talked with the students (both boys and girls) about what they were reading, I found that they typically had a difficult time identifying with characters who start off strong at the beginning of the book. Most teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and what they want in life. The students I worked with seemed to identify more with characters who were unsure and awkward. So, I went back and did a complete rewrite of the book. Now, in the beginning, Maggie is a typical teenager. She’s insecure and struggling to figure out who she is. When she discovers her destiny, she fights it. She doesn’t want to be courageous. She wants to be an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life. Slowly, by the end of the book (and more in the 2nd and 3rd books), she comes to terms with what she has to do, and she discovers the courage within her that will allow her to do it. Instead of giving teens a book with a strong character, I wanted to give them a book with a character who is a little weak at the beginning, and take them on the journey with her as she figures out how to be strong.
The original title for the book was “Shattered” because Maggie’s simple and easy life is completely shattered by the realization of what she must do. Once I finished the book, I looked up the title on Amazon and discovered that there were seventeen books titled “Shattered.” I wanted my book to stand out, so I decided to change the title. More than anything, the first book is about Maggie’s journey to discover, and accept, her own courage. There are also some really evil people in the book who border on demonic, so I eventually landed on “Courage and Other Demons.” For Maggie, courage is a demon. She doesn’t believe she’s courageous, nor does she want to be courageous. For a long time, she chooses to fight against her own courage rather than fight the evil people who have entered her life.
I went back and forth on how I should write Maggie’s best friend. As Maggie’s personality evolved, so did Lexie’s. When Maggie was confident and outgoing, Lexie was a little bit of a flake. When Maggie evolved to be unsure and awkward, I knew a flaky best friend might be tempted to take advantage of her or to convince her to do things that she wouldn’t otherwise do. I finally decided that Maggie needed a strong and confident best friend. Lexie is an overachiever with a solid sense of who she is and what her future will be. She keeps Maggie grounded and helps her to stay focused on her priorities, but not in a way that is unkind or overly pushy. While Maggie is a reflection of who I was in high school, Lexie is more of a reflection of who I am now. In high school, I was totally awkward, easily swayed and very happy to go unnoticed. Now, I can be a little bit of an overachiever, and, like Lexie, I use research as a coping mechanism.
Most of the first book is set in Denver. I’ve lived here since I was thirteen and it’s a place I know well, so it seemed like the most logical setting. I knew I wanted the high school Maggie attended to be fictitious (mainly because I’m lazy and didn’t want to have to worry too much about getting every detail exactly correct), so I named it Castlewood. When I was writing the books, however, I always thought of my own high school, Arapahoe, whenever I was writing a scene at the school. Maggie mentions that she lives in the southern suburbs of Denver, which is where I spent my teen years, so when I’m describing her neighborhood, I always have that area in my mind.
I have four brothers, and a couple of nephews, and knew Maggie also needed a brother. Her little brother, Brandon, is an amalgam of all of my brothers and my nephews. He is goofy, and funny, and super annoying. He goes out of his way to annoy and embarrass Maggie, but he loves her. I loved writing Brandon so much that I decided to do a spin off series with Brandon as the romantic lead. It’s the project that I’m currently working on, and I’m really having fun with Brandon and his romantic counterpart, Abbey. Maggie and Simon are still a part of the story, but they fade to the background and allow Abbey and Brandon to take the spotlight. When I originally had the idea for this story, Brandon wasn’t a part of it, but after writing the Courage series, I decided to move around my original ideas for the book so that I could include him.