A Band of Roses by Pat McDermott

About the Author:

Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts, Pat McDermott 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 in New Hampshire, where she is currently working on her next novel.

To find out more about the author and her work visit http://www.patmcdermott.net/

About the Book:

A Band of Roses is an alternate history adventure set in modern day Ireland. The "what if" premise of the story supposes that Irish High King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 A.D. and founded a dynasty that rules Ireland to this day.

Crown Princess Talty Boru, the daughter of the current King Brian, is the heir to the throne, though she wishes she weren’t. She’d prefer to pursue a military career, but she’s resigned to her royal fate until England’s Prince Geoffrey seizes a tiny Irish island in the North Atlantic and the oil-rich ocean bed around it. Geoffrey plans to return the island to Ireland in exchange for oil wells in the Irish sea. He proposes a conciliatory treaty that would marry Talty to the unbalanced young English King. Talty agrees, as the terms demand that she relinquish her title as heir to the throne. She believes she’s free of her duties as crown princess, but a murder attempt on her wedding night turns her life upside down.

Multiple attempts on Talty’s life force King Brian to send her away to protect her, though he unwittingly sends her into further danger. From Japan to California, Talty must hide her true identity until her elders can set things straight. She can’t disguise her ingrained training as one of Ireland’s ancient Fian warriors, however.

Her recruitment into International Security Forces’ top secret Peregrine Project allows her to visit strange worlds, one 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 and can’t have—or so she thinks. Talty’s warrior cousin has a secret of his own, one that emerges as the Boru clan works with England's MI6 to thwart an invasion of Ireland and bring Talty home.

Pat agreed to answer my interview questions. Here's what she had to say:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

A Band of Roses is a rollicking blend of historical fantasy, bittersweet romance, a little sci-fi, and a lot of action and adventure. The story supposes what Ireland would be like today if High King Brian Boru hadn’t perished at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 A.D. His descendant, modern day Princess Talty Boru, wishes she were anyone but the heir to her father’s throne. An arranged marriage offers her an escape from her royal duties and the chance to pursue her dream of becoming a warrior. She quickly learns to be careful what she wishes for when a web of foreign intrigue and murder turns her world upside down. A Band of Roses is the first in a trilogy starring the indomitable Talty, her staunch protector, Neil Boru, and a lovable cast of dauntless heroes and delicious villains.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

I have two extraordinary aunts who are both Irish history buffs. When I was a child, they entertained me with all sorts of legends and assured me we were descended from Irish royalty—as, I’ve since learned, is everyone who’s Irish. One of the many gifts they brought me from the old country was a copper statue of Brian Boru, and I wanted to learn more about him. Everything I read stated 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?

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

I’ve learned how to make paella and colcannon and furthered my education in pirate lore.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

Yes, I do absolutely nothing that requires thinking for at least a week. My novels take several years to write, and I need to reboot my head to clear out all the clutter.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

Doing all the things I want to do before I can’t. Sometimes I have the most awful sense of running out of time.

What are you currently working on?

My present work in progress is Salty Roses, the third book in the "Roses" trilogy. (The second is Fiery Roses.) I’ve nearly completed the first draft.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

For writers - Join a good writers' group, take classes or workshops, never stop reading, and read a wide variety of books. Don’t be afraid other authors will influence your personal style. Whether you read for pleasure or research, you’ll not only learn what makes good writing, you’ll also find new ideas that will lead to dozens of other new ideas. Don’t let armchair writers and critics derail you from your quest to become a published author.

For readers - Go out on a limb and read a book you wouldn’t ordinarily read. To paraphrase an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, a mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?

Not really. I admire many authors, but writing stories is something I’ve always done. Falling under the spell of the fairy tales I heard as a child made me want to create similar spells to enchant others. I did have some great teachers who taught the nuts and bolts of writing well.

What are some of your long term goals?

To travel more, for one. I’d like to live in Ireland for a year, if not forever. And, I should learn to manage my time better.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Hearing people say they couldn’t stop reading A Band of Roses until they finished it makes me ecstatic. I write to entertain, and I love knowing I’ve succeeded.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

I’m a good organizer. I can organize anything from writing a story to planning a trip to throwing a dinner party.

Biggest weakness?

I can be too organized. A little more spontaneity wouldn’t hurt.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

A Band of Roses crosses several genres. Reading cross-genre stories has always been a treat for me. Writing one was an enjoyable challenge, one I believe will offer readers an entertaining escape. One writing teacher told me that no publisher would accept a story that didn’t fit into current genre formulas, and I wondered what the ancient storytellers would have thought about that.

You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?

The Joy of Cooking. Anything edible I find on that island, that book will tell me how to cook it. I might not have all the ingredients, but I won’t starve.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

I’ve already done this once in "A Band of Roses." No need to tempt fate!

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what way/s?

My husband and I have both lost our remaining parents over the last five years. That puts us on the front line, so to speak. Gives you a different perspective of things. On a happier note, my parenting responsibilities have eased now that my two children are responsible young adults. I have more freedom now to explore new paths.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

A little kindness goes a long way.

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

Not yet.

What is your favorite past-time?

Besides cooking, discovering. Whether through travel, taking classes, or meeting new friends, adventure awaits around every corner.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

For those who might be interested in reading A Band of Roses, it’s currently an e-book and is available from Red Rose Publishing either directly or through my website: www.patmcdermott.net I’d like to thank you for having me here today, Tracee. My sincere appreciation to everyone who took the time to stop by.

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Pat McDermott said...

Tracee, thanks again for hosting me and 'A Band of Roses' today. I enjoyed this interview and my visit to your lovely blog