Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meet Guest Author Pat McDermott

My guest author is Pat McDermott whose new YA novel, Glancing Through the Glimmer is releasing in November. In keeping with my highlighting MuseItUp authors, Pat is also a Muse author.


I’m from the Mission Hill section of Boston, which, during my childhood (I’m not telling when), was a mostly Irish neighborhood. My earliest years were spent on the top floor of a three-decker house owned by my O’Brien grandparents, who occupied the first floor along with my mother’s two sisters. Another aunt and two cousins lived only a few doors away. Sadly, that close-knit way of life has changed for most American families these days. My kids are both married and have moved to different states, and I now live near the New Hampshire seacoast with my husband and three vocal Tonkinese cats. I spend most mornings writing, a pleasure I couldn’t indulge when I was “Mom on Call.” When I’m not writing or trying to finagle another trip to Ireland, I’m usually reading or cooking. I love to cook and have my own cooking blog. On Monday evenings, I host a casual but effective writers’ group, and for most of the year, I attend a weekly writing class to help keep my imaginary story friends under control.

One of my short stories received an Honorable Mention for children’s fiction in the 74th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing competition. That award gave me the confidence to complete my first full-length novel, A Band of Roses, the first in a trilogy scheduled for release in 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. The stories are set in an Ireland that might have been, and Glancing Through the Glimmer is the young adult “prequel” to that trilogy. I’m currently working on the sequel to “Glimmer.”

Pat, I have to agree with you. We used to get together every Sunday with my relatives. Now, unfortunately many are gone or they have moved away. Now we see each other at weddings, funerals and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

I asked Pat a few questions. Here are her answers:                                                                                     
Your book is about the problem the fairies have because people don’t believe in them.
Do you believe in fairies?  
                              I've read and heard enough about them to give them the benefit of the doubt. My grandmother once told me that when she was a child in Ireland, her father would seek the fairies' permission before making any changes to his farm. He did this by setting out rows of stones at night, and he would check them the next morning. If the stones weren't disturbed, he would build his new fence or storage shed. If the stones had been disturbed, he would pick another spot and try again.                                                   

Please tell my readers how you decided to become a writer.

When we were growing up, my siblings and I enjoyed the tales of our talented family storytellers. My father made up the bedtime stories he told us. His tales often kept me awake for hours, they left me so enchanted. I wanted to tell enchanting stories too. I’ve attended writing classes over the years, but my own children were nearly grown before I started putting ideas on paper seriously. I entered one of my short stories in the 74th Writer's Digest Annual Writing contest and received an Honorable Mention for children's fiction, an award that gave my confidence a big boost.

Have you ever visited Ireland? If you did visit where would you go?

I've lost count of the number of times I've "crossed the pond." My grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from County Sligo in the 1920s, and I grew up hearing the stories, loving the music, wanting to go. I finally went after my kids were in college, and I’ve been visiting at least once a year since. As for where I'd go, if I'm looking for new books or want to hit the museums, I visit the cities, and always manage to get to Dublin (just returned from a week there). If I want to chill out and see some gorgeous scenery, it's the fairy-infested countryside. If I'm going to write, I visit a retreat on the Beara Peninsula, where the only sounds are the mooing cows and the waves rolling in from the ocean. Wherever I am, I'm never far from the sea, and the castles and abandoned homesteads dotting the land are constant reminders that Ireland has been around for a long, long time.

In keeping with the last question, did you do a lot of research for this novel?

For this story, based primarily on Irish mythology, I went straight to Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to visit my O'Brien aunts. Over the years, they've amassed a spectacular collection of Irish books, and more than a few are over one hundred years old. I also did some digging into the duties of the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. My heroine, Janet, is his sixteen-year-old granddaughter, and I had to know where she lived, why she hated it so much, and how her grandparents' formal social life affected her.

What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a little of both, though mostly a pantser. I start a story with research, which I now know will give me plenty of ideas for subplots. The outline approach helps organize my thoughts, but outlines aren't written in stone, and they become quite useless when my characters take over the story.

Please describe a typical writing day for you.

I try to write every day, usually early in the morning when it’s quiet and my only interruptions are a cat or two in need of a hug. Whether I’m struggling with something new or revising pages I've already written, I find that quiet time of day most productive. I spend time in the afternoon reading for research and/or pleasure, usually with a cat or two in my lap. On Monday evenings, I host a writers’ group, which gives me an incentive to spruce up a chapter or two each week. For most of the year, I attend a writing class on Tuesday nights to polish those pages. Then there are the usual household chores and family and social commitments. When my children were younger, I doubt I could have managed all this. I have great respect for writers with growing families who find time to write, and write well.

What was the inspiration for this novel?
Glancing Through the Glimmer is the young adult “prequel” to my “Band of Roses” trilogy (A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses), coming in 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing. I’d already written the trilogy when an acquaintance suggested the YA angle, and I found I loved writing about my characters as teenagers. The Scottish legend of Tam Lin and the myths surrounding Finvarra, the King of the Connaught Fairies inspired many of the story's scenes.

Do you write in any other genre? Which genre is your favorite? Why?

My stories include all sorts of genres, fantasy, action/adventure, sci-fi, and romance. If I had to choose, I'd say I like the action/adventure aspect of writing best. I would like to try writing a straight romance one of these days, though I'm betting it would end up romantic suspense.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Which is your favorite genre?

Depends on my mood or why I'm reading. Having just written "The End" on my current WIP, I'm rewarding myself by reading for pleasure. I'm halfway through The Mark of the Golden Dragon, the 9th and newest "Bloody Jack" book by L.A. Meyers. I love his adventure series starring Mary/Jackie Faber, a street urchin in 18th century London who dresses up as a boy and joins the British navy.

Do you have any WIP’s ready to publish?

As I mentioned earlier, MuseItUp Publishing will release my "Band of Roses" trilogy in 2012. I am currently tweaking Autumn Glimmer, the YA sequel to Glancing Through the Glimmer.

Explain why you decided to go with a small press like MuseItUp Publishing.

Not only is MuseItUp rapidly becoming known as an author-friendly company, the publisher, Lea Schizas, is an old editing friend. She and her staff are responsive to my questions, amenable to my opinions, and more interested in good stories than in genre formulas. I feel quite at home with MuseItUp.                          

Is there anything else you wanted to say about yourself?        Only to thank you, Barbara, for hosting me on your blog today. I've enjoyed visiting!

Well, I have enjoyed visiting with you too and now for a little about your book. Here is the book cover:

It looks really spooky with that castle on the hill. I can't wait to see what this book is all about!!


In the modern Kingdom of Ireland, few mortals believe in the fairy folk. Without that belief, the fairies are dying. Finvarra, the King of the Fairies, would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.

When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. An invitation to a royal ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.

Seventeen-year-old Prince Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another spoiled American girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and finds himself on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. Intrigued, he asks to see her again, and she willingly agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they arrange to meet. When they do, the fairies steal Janet away.

Liam’s attempts to find her trigger a series of frustrating misadventures. Can he and Janet outwit a treacherous fairy king who’s been hoodwinking mortals for centuries?

Ah, it's a love story too! I hope you have brought us an excerpt too! Yes, thank you!


      The first time Liam slipped and fell, he cursed the rain-damp grass. He blamed his second tumble on his haste to catch up with Janet. What on earth had possessed the girl to run off like that? She couldn’t possibly want to find music that badly.
      Music only she could hear.
     The third time he lost his balance, he’d swear someone had pushed him, but no one was there. He landed on his hands and knees and cursed again. He might not be a muscleman, but he was far from a clumsy dolt. A lifetime of sports and outdoor treks had surely left him fit enough to climb a scrubby little hillside.
      Something strange was afoot.
      I’m being ridiculous. The breeze must have kept him from hearing the music she heard. She’d likely gone after the owner of whatever was playing the tune to learn its name.
     Yet the Nose of Howth seemed deserted. How odd for a sunny Sunday morning. Even if Janet had gone off seeking the source of the music, no amount of rationalizing could explain why she’d left so abruptly. The chilling sense that she was in danger had Liam’s heart thumping high in his throat.
Should he call his cousin? If Kevin was still on the pier, it would take him a while to get here. And practical Kevin would surely think Liam astray in the head.
     Maybe he was, but something told him he had to find Janet, and fast. Keeping close to the ground as if he were dodging radar, he clambered monkey-like up the hill. This time he reached the top of the rise. Lumps in the landscape surrounded him, clumps of rock and rolling masses of heather and gorse that encircled the level spot where he stood. He knew the place well. Except for the curious lack of weekend hill walkers, nothing seemed amiss.
      He listened hard. A seagull cried in the distance. Otherwise, all was silent. No, wait! Music drifted toward him, a plucky harp tune he might have enjoyed under different circumstances. Was that what Janet had heard?
      Where was it? He turned in a circle, squinting in the sunlight, scanning, straining to hear. When he returned to the spot where he’d started, a jolt of fear set his pulse racing.
      A round stone hut had appeared on the highest part of the clearing. Its low thatched roof rose to a ridiculously high point. It resembled a roundhouse, the sort of dwelling that belonged in a prehistoric ring fort.
      Or a fairy fort.
      Liam swallowed hard. He’d seen replicas of such huts in Ireland’s folk parks. He’d also viewed ruins of the original ring forts, all that remained of the structures built by the mysterious peoples who’d lived and died in prehistoric Ireland thousands of years ago.
     Where had this one come from? Why was it on the Nose of Howth? Liam had never seen it before, nor had he heard of any gimmicky tourism plans for the cliff walk. Of course, he didn’t know everything.       Convincing himself that he’d failed to see the hut at first because the sun had blinded him, he ventured toward the structure.
      He spotted a doorway and relaxed. Janet was there, speaking to a woman wearing a period costume, medieval or older. That’s what it was, he thought: tourism come to tarnish Howth. How could Uncle Peadar have allowed such nonsense?
      Liam called Janet’s name again, but neither she nor the woman showed any sign that they’d heard him. The wind must have carried his voice away. He stalked toward the roundhouse. As he approached, the costumed woman placed a necklace over Janet’s head.
     The roundhouse flickered, faded, and reappeared. Alarmed, Liam stopped. This was no tourist gimmick. As his thoughts scrambled for an explanation, the woman grabbed Janet’s arm and pulled her into the hut.
      “Janet, no!” His ferocious roar proved useless. Unbelievably, the roundhouse began to dissolve. No longer doubting his horrified senses, he dove at the hut and charged through the disappearing door.
The world around him melted away.

Are you going to leave us wondering whether or not he finds Janet? I know I am going to want to read more to know this. Good luck with your book launch in November, Pat. It has been a pleasure having you as my guest and learning more about you. Thank you for being my guest author. Are you giving away anything to our readers?

Readers can find you on your Author Page and in The Muse Bookstore.

Until the next time, I have posted all of the reviews I have gotten for my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, which you can find on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CoffeeTime Romance, The Muse Bookstore and a few other ebook sites. The exciting news is this will be out in print in November!!! So everyone who has wanted a copy but did not have an e-reader can enjoy it.

Also, my Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages will have Roseanne Dowell and Nancy Bell, two other authors from MuseItUp Publishing. Nancy is also my copy editor and both of them are delightful! I hope you will tune into the show at 3PM Central Time, 4PM EST on Thursday, October 27th.

Thank you to my new followers and of course, to the people who continue to come over here to read my meanderings. I haven't been posting as much, but it isn't due to any real problems. Yay!! My husband's feet are healing and he is getting back to work again. Any of you who have followed the problems he had will understand what a big change this is. He is now on Facebook if you want to see what he looks like. Just look for Harold Ehrentreu. There is only one and even now he still doesn't understand why I can spend so much time online.:) 

One more thing before I go. I want you all to know about the Muse Retreat, which is happening on November 4th, 5th and 6th in Montreal, Canada. We are all getting together to celebrate the first anniversary of this awesome publishing company. I will have photos to let you all see. We are going to have a mass book signing at Zeller's too. Very exciting!!! I will be signing copies of my own book and as a special addition I am going to be giving away a copy to the lucky winner. More about this contest next blog post. Have fun and enjoy the fall days that are coming our way.


  1. This sounds wonderful!! I'll definitely check this book out. Love the story about Pat's father putting out the stones before making changes to the farm. :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing this interview, Barbara.

    Pat, Glancing through the Glimmer sounds really interesting to me. It makes me think of Brian Froud and Alan Lee's wonderful illustrated guide called Faeries, which I've loved since I was a kid and still own a copy of.

    Also, I just love your cover!

  3. 'Twas my grandfather, actually, V.R., but I love that story too! Thanks for dropping by, and thank you, Barbara, for featuring my forthcoming book on your beautiful blog. The cover looks great here!

  4. 'Twas my grandfather, actually, V.R., but I love that story too! Thanks for dropping by, and thank you, Barbara, for featuring my forthcoming book on your beautiful blog. The cover looks great here!

  5. Anne, I amazed at how many fairy books and ways of spelling fairy are out there. I always loved Andrew Lang's books, and my grownup collection keeps on growing. Thank you for visiting.

  6. I usually don't read YA books, but your 'Band of Roses' sound so interesting! After I read those I might have to go back and read the 'glimmer' books. :) Very nice interview!

  7. Wonderful interview, ladies.
    Sounds like a great read!

  8. Dianne, thanks for stopping by. The "Band of Roses" books aren't YA at all. They're more for adult readers. It's the "Glimmer" books that are YA. It's not necessary to read them in any particular order, as long as you enjoy them :-)

  9. I'll clap my hands! If you don't know this reference, then you've got some catching up to do.

    Nice interview. I enjoy fantasies based on Celtic mythologies. There's so much that can be done with them.

  10. Pat, you are simply delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your interview and learning more about you. Irish? Cooking? What a fabulous combination. Your story sounds intriguing as well. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself today and best wishes for your story(s).

  11. I love the idea of a hoodwinking fairy. It sounds like a very interesting read.

    And I loved the story of the rocks. Maybe we all need to believe a little more. :)

    Concilium, 2012

  12. Karen, it's true that "Irish" and "cooking" aren't usually found in the same sentence, though Ireland does have some great restaurants now. My food preferences, however, tend to lie more to the south, in the Mediterranean region. Glad you enjoyed the post and interview. Barbara did another great job!

  13. Marva, I agree, and I've seen some wonderful stories based on Celtic myths. They don't write 'em like that anymore! Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Enjoyed reading the interview, ladies. I'm looking forward to reading the book. Good luck, Pat!

  15. First of all, thank you Pat for coming in and being the hostess. I have been busy and couldn't get here.

    Thank you for the beautiful words about my blog! I'm glad you liked your interview. I really enjoyed learning more about you.

    Thank you everyone for visiting and I'm glad you were all as captivated by Pat's story as I was. I must learn more about it!

    Pat's interview will be up all weekend. She is still deciding about a giveaway.

  16. Dawn, great to see you here. Thanks for your good wishes!

  17. Okay, I just got word that since the book isn't out yet there is no copy to give away. I am going to invite Pat back when her book is released so we can do that then!!

    Meanwhile, thank you again to everyone who has left a comment.

  18. Sandra, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I think it's a great read, but I'm prejudiced :-)

  19. Michelle, I too love that story about the stones my great-grandfather set down. I've heard reports even in these modern times of roads built at strange angles because the workers refused to cut down "fairy" trees. I'm with Marva - I'm clapping my hands. Thank you for stopping by.

  20. Congrats on your upcoming YA book, Pat. I really enjoyed learning more about you. I wish you best of luck with Glimmer and the Band of Roses trilogy.

  21. Angela, I really appreciate your good wishes. Thanks for visiting Barbara's blog!

  22. Barbara, thank you so much for opening your blog home to me these last few days. I've enjoyed my visit and loved chatting with both new and old friends. All the best to you and your writing! Pat

  23. What a lovely post. I love a chance to get to know an author.


Visit the Home of the Fightin’ Bookworms!
Visit the National Gallery of Writing
Shop Indie Bookstores



Discover Writing