As an author, I can tell you that the publication of my first book was an amazing time. You make the transition from aspiring author to published author, and suddenly your life isn't the same. You have proof that all that time spent hunched over your computer keyboard has meant something.
I believe others find first book stories fascinating too. At the Write Angles Conference I'll be attending in October, we will have an entire panel dedicated to first book stories.
We kick off off our journey through first book stories with A Band of Roses by Pat McDermott. I hope you enjoy a month of great guest posts.
As the American granddaughter of Irish immigrants, I’ll never know what it is to be truly Irish. My childhood vision of Ireland was one of magical legends and ancient kings, banshees and leprechauns, rebellions and heroes. Among those heroes was my alleged ancestor, Brian Boru.
Born in 941 A.D., Brian Boru became High King of Ireland by 1002 A.D. He achieved economic and educational reform and united most of the lesser tribes against their common enemy, the Viking invaders who terrorized Ireland. Intrigue and tribal disputes led to the bloody Battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday, April 23, 1014. Brian’s armies routed the Norsemen, though Brian and his son and grandson lost their lives in the struggle.
As I learned more about King Brian, I noted that more than one of his biographers speculated that Ireland would be a very different place today if he had survived the Battle of Clontarf. That sentiment merged with my childhood vision of Ireland and gave birth to my first full-length novel and sale, A Band of Roses, an alternate history adventure that crosses several genres.
After I’d amassed a drawer full of rejection letters, the romance writer in my writing group suggested I join Romance Writers of America.
“I’m not a romance writer,” I said, though I joined to make her happy.
“RWA has a Celtic group,” she said. “Your story is set in Ireland. Join that too.”
Celtic Hearts Romance Writers is where I found Tiger Publishing, a new publisher looking for great stories. I queried them, they liked the story, and it debuted in paperback in March, 2008.
The story supposes what Ireland would be like today if Brian Boru hadn’t perished at the Battle of Clontarf. My Ireland is 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 murderous plot to seize the throne of England. 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.
Sadly, Tiger Publications closed its doors shortly after releasing A Band of Roses, but Talty and company are still going strong.
Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts, Pat grew up in a family full of music and myths that have found their way into her stories. She is a member of The New Hampshire Writers' Project, Seacoast Writers' Association, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A frequent visitor to Ireland, she lives and writes in New Hampshire.
Pat’s Web Site: http://www.patmcdermott.net/
Pat’s Blog: http://pat-mcdermott.blogspot.com/
Thanks for sharing your story, Pat. We wish you continued success.
Coming Monday, Tom McLaughlin talks about his first book, Borneo Tom, a travel journal.