The COVID-19 pandemic has meant hard times for local artists, with summer festivals and performances cancelled.
Even with Greater Sudbury now in Stage 3 of the reopening, and the province giving the green light for performance venues to reopen, it remains to be seen how the local arts scene will adapt — although artists have already been doing plenty of that during the pandemic.
Given the unusual situation, we decided to put the spotlight on local creators of all kinds this summer, whether they’re musicians, actors, filmmakers, authors or fine artists. Many have been putting out new work amid the pandemic.
Sudbury elementary school teacher Tania Fay released her second self-published book, ”Éile O’Neill: The Coven of Light,” this summer.
She’s hoping that with many activities and outings cancelled, people might be open to spending more of their spare time reading, especially the work of local authors like herself.
“I love reading,” said Fay, a kindergarten teacher at Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School. “There was a quote I heard — you may not be able to fly, but you can read a book.
“The idea that it can take you anywhere at all, and it just depends on your imagination. If you want an escape, you can go anywhere you want to.
“I think it’s always a good time to read, but right now it’s more of a down time, so people aren’t travelling as much. I think people are taking a step back and reassessing their life.
“Books are always a way to escape, and they’re a way to improve and teach something about yourself.”
“The Coven of Light,” and the first book in the series, “Éile O’Neill: The Oracle,” released in 2017, are both youth novels, but Fay said she’s heard from more adults who have read them.
The books combine fantasy and Irish folk tales, and are about a Sudbury tween, Éile, who ends up attending a magic school in Ireland. The second book is about Éile’s second year at the school.
The Amazon description for “The Coven of Light” is as follows:
“The day Éile walked into the faery circle, her life, and the life of everyone around her changed. She was now part of the world of magic. Éile didn’t have a clue what her first semester at Árdghal School of Magic and Witchcraft was going to be like, but she hadn’t expected it to be dangerous — and deadly.
“Now back for her second semester, Éile knows it’s just a matter of time before Badb strikes again. Aside from starting some new classes, Professor Lorethias has decided to bring someone in to train Éile and teach her about a different kind of magic. Will this help her in her quest?
“With secret coven meetings, trying her hand at a wizard game, and her extra training, Éile’s days are packed full… is this why she is seeing things that no one else can see? Is she starting to go crazy, or is it some kind of omen? One thing Éile does know — she is not going to let anyone else risk their life. Unfortunately, this will be a lesson Éile is going to learn — she must rely on her friends' help if she is going to defeat Badb.”
While this plot seems similar to the Harry Potter series, Fay said the idea for the books came to her in a dream.
But she admits she was reading Harry Potter with her two young daughters, Éile and Meallá, at the time (by the way, her book’s main character, Éile, shares her name with Fay’s older daughter).
“It was funny, because we were also reading the Harry Potter series while I was getting these ideas,” Fay said. “I was so worried about going off of her, so i completely stopped reading her books, and just focused on mine.”
The daughter of Irish immigrants to Canada, Fay said she set the story in Ireland because she has always loved the Irish legends.
Fay held a formal book launch for the first book in the series, but hasn’t been able to do this for the second book due to the pandemic.
“Once everything gets up and running, I would like to do a book signing in the future,” she said.
Both books are currently available for purchase through Amazon and Kindle. The first book in the series can also be borrowed through the Greater Sudbury Public Library.
If you or someone you know has a project you think we should write about with our “Inspiring Artists” feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include contact information.