Who are (or were) the Seannachies?
In Gaelic tradition, the seannachie’s (pronounced "shawn-aw-key") chief occupation was not unlike that of a bard. They were the storytellers and the history keepers. Historically, warriors and seannaichies played very different but complementary roles in the survival of the clans: on the one hand, the warrior ensured the physical, day to day survival of his people against hostile clans and armies, whereas the seanaichie ensured that both the warrior and the clan he protected survived the battle against time. I've taken a few creative liberties with the seannachies' particular abilities in my novel, as well as with the spelling (there seems to be a dozen ways to spell it anyway--as an occupation, it out-dates regularized spelling...).
The Storyteller's Daughter is set in Southern Manitoba. It begins in St. Norbert (on the outskirts of Winnipeg) and in Winnipeg itself, then moves on to the village of Manitou, and from there to Pelican Lake (specifically Y Point, for those of you who are familiar with the area).
Manitou is my home town. Most of the places that my characters visit are still there, though the little yellow house that Skye visits exists only in my memory. If you happen to be in Manitou, I strongly recommend that you go to the Manitou Motor Inn for lunch. Ask for the Pepsi Special!
The Manitoba Sanatorium
The Manitoba Sanatorium was a real place, though its original purpose was to house patients with TB. It was started in 1910 and served as a TB hospital until 1972. Between 1973 and 2000, it served as the Pelican Lake training centre. Read more about the Sanatorium on the Manitoba Historical Society's website.
Postcard view of the Ninette Sanatorium (no date) by Ernest Jerrett
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2009-0034