Behind the Banshee Lore: Guest Post by Laura L. Zimmerman

A few weeks ago I shared the cover reveal for Keen, a YA fantasy about a half-faerie struggling to control her banshee song and uncover the Unseelie Prince’s identity while struggling to find her place among her peers in high school. And today I’m excited to share a guest post by the author. Are you ready to learn about banshees and the inspiration behind Keen? And now, I turn over the blog to Laura L. Zimmerman!


Laura-L-Zimmerman-Headshot

One of the main influences of KEEN came from a TV show my daughter and I were watching that featured a banshee. When the concept was first introduced, I was intrigued. I’d heard the term but didn’t know the exact definition. As I researched banshee lore, I knew there was a story waiting to be told!

So what exactly is a banshee? A banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology who announces a death–usually of a family member–by wailing or keening (sometimes called the “caoine”).

There are two traditional depictions of a banshee in Irish lore. The woman may be young and beautiful with long flowing hair (often red), dressed in white, wearing a cloak, and singing a breathtaking lament filled with love and comfort. She’s also described as being an old hag with a veiled face hiding in the trees, crying or shrieking bitterly. The word banshee is translated “fairy woman,” and, although described as a spirit, she is considered part of the fae world. There is debate as to whether a banshee is truly a faerie, though.

So where did KEEN’s main character, Caoine, come from?

Well, the first decision I had to make was what kind of banshee she would be. Since I knew this would be a YA novel, I immediately leaned toward the young girl who sings a breathtaking lament. There’s very little information regarding the banshee’s cloak, so most of what I’ve written was made up. I did, however, like the idea of her inhabiting the frightening shriek, so in KEEN, whenever Caoine forgets to wear her cloak, her song will no longer be a song but will be a cry that can shatter windows. Literally.

My next obstacle was to decide on Caoine’s heritage. I knew she was going to be a mix–half-human and half-banshee. To avoid confusion, I decided to place her nature firmly within the Faerie Realm, making banshees full faeries instead of spirits.

From here, all I had to do was ask the question: What would life be like for a teenage girl in high school who was half-human and half-faerie? And KEEN was born!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek inside the world of KEEN! I had so much fun researching the lore behind banshees and faeries to create this book. Feel free to comment below with thoughts or questions. I’d love to talk banshee lore!


Thanks, Laura, for sharing the inspiration behind Keen!

Keep scrolling for links to the rest of the blog tour. Interested in the book? Buy it here! Paperback: $16.99, eBook: $4.99 (Pre-order price $2.99)

 Blurb: You must walk the darkness to find the light.

Half-faerie Caoine has no control over the banshee lament she sings each night, predicting the death of others. A senior in a brand new high school, she expects the same response she’s received at every other school: judgment from fellow students over her unusual eyes and unnaturally white skin and hair. However, when Caoine arrives at West Lincoln High, for the first time in her life she finds friends. Real friends.

But being a teenager is never easy, especially when the star soccer player, Oliver, sets his sights on her. Allowing him to get close means revealing her curse to the human world. She can’t let that happen. Life spins further out of control when her lament comes out during the day, those whose death she predicts die right in front of her, and a dark faerie known only as the Unseelie prince blames Caoine by leaving her the creepiest notes ever. Her curse is not supposed to work like that.

In a race against time, Caoine must uncover the Unseelie prince’s identity and stop a spell before it unleashes hell on earth, all while trying to control her banshee song and finding a place among her peers.

Senior year just got real.


Laura L. Zimmerman lives in a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, three daughters, and three furbaby felines. Besides writing, she’s passionate about loving Jesus, anything Star Wars, and singing loudly. She takes her coffee black and spends her days pretending to do yoga. This is her debut novel. Find out more about her at www.lauralzimmerman.wordpress.com.

You can connect with Laura on her website/blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.

11 comments

  1. Ooo that was fascinating!! I admit I didn’t know what a banshee really was except for the singing part because of Becky Gaines. I’m SO excited to read Keen and love this about the inspiration behind Laura’s character!

    Liked by 1 person

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