Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts, Pat McDermott grew up in a family full of music and inspiring Irish tales. Before the kids came along, she had fun in between real jobs as a singer and guitarist in an Irish-American band. She has attended various writing classes over the years and studied science fiction writing with the late Harry Clement Smith (Hal Clement). Besides creating rousing adventure stories, Pat enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, hiking, and traveling—especially to Ireland. She lives and writes in New Hampshire, where she is currently working on her next novel.
Vonda Sinclair: Welcome, Pat! Congratulations on your new release from Tiger Publications! What a beautiful cover! Please tell us about your book, A Band of Roses.
Pat McDermott: A Band of Roses is an alternate history set in modern day Ireland. The story’s “what if” premise supposes what Ireland would be like today if King Brian Boru hadn’t perished at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 AD. I’ve created an Ireland that’s still a monarchy, one where the present King Brian is a descendant of the first Brian Boru, and his daughter Talty is a princess in trouble.
Talty Boru becomes a pawn not only in the high-stakes gamble for offshore oil, but in a scheme to seize the throne of England that escalates into murder and treason. From Japan to California to an eleventh century Ireland preparing for the Battle of Clontarf, she finds romance and adventure and brings back a discovery worth more than any oil well. Yet all she wants is to return to her family and her lifelong friend and protector, Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves but can’t have—or so she thinks. Talty’s warrior cousin has a secret of his own, one that emerges as the Boru clan scrambles to thwart an invasion of Ireland and bring Talty home..
VS: Sounds exciting, full of adventure and action! What is the story behind the story?
PM: I’m blessed to have two wonderful aunts who happen to be devotees of Irish history. When I was a little girl, they entertained me with all sorts of legends and assured me that we were descended from Irish royalty. (Isn’t everyone who’s Irish?) From one of their trips to Ireland, they brought me a gift of a copper statue of Brian Boru, and I wanted to know more about him than I already did. Everything I found said how sad it was that Brian didn’t survive Clontarf, as Ireland would be a very different place today. So, I started thinking . . . what if he had survived?
VS: How fascinating! Isn't it amazing how things like this from our childhood can influence our adult lives so much. What element of this story was hardest for you?
PM: Writing the chapter where Talty visited the aftermath of the Battle of Clontarf. Weaving the historical details around the characters without bogging down the story was a challenge.
VS: That does sound difficult. Please tell us about your favorite character in this book.
PM: “Roses” has quite a cast of characters, and I love them all, even the villains. To answer the question, I’ll choose Neil Boru. Being an adopted member of the royal Boru clan causes Neil to feel less than worthy of his noble station in life. He’s an Air Corps pilot and a warrior sworn to protect his cousin, Princess Talty. When she comes to harm, he feels a failure. He loathes himself for falling in love with her, as she is his adoptive cousin and such feelings are forbidden. Neil’s struggle to choose the honorable path shows a nobility that transcends bloodlines.
VS: Forbidden love is one of my favorite elements. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
PM: Getting stories on paper has always been a sporadic hobby for me. For years, those pesky ideas and characters made me drive by my exit on the highway. My kids were away at college when I finally enrolled in writing classes to deal with my imaginary friends, and I made some wonderful flesh-and-blood friends along the way.
VS: I'm glad you decided to pursue writing seriously. What's next for you?
PM: I’m currently finalizing a sequel to A Band of Roses, and the third book in the “Roses” trilogy is in the works. For me, the sound of a fiddle in a real Irish pub often helps the writing process along. A trip or two to Ireland may be in order . . .
VS: Wonderful idea! That would inspire me too. Would you like to ask blog readers a question?
PM: Yes! Does knowing too many personal details about an author interfere with your enjoyment of a story?
VS: Interesting question. Thanks again, Pat, for being here to talk to us today! Everyone, please visit Pat's website
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