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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Pat McDermott Asks What If?

What If?

Some argue that “Alternative History” is more grammatically correct, but “Alternate History” has emerged as the common name for this interesting sub-genre of fantasy fiction. The “what if” asked by so many authors has produced a wealth of thought-provoking tales.

What if the Roman Empire hadn’t fallen? What if the American Revolution had failed? What if Germany had won World War II, or if Russia had reached the moon first?

In The Story of Ireland, a gem published in 1894, historian Standish O’Grady wrote:

The kings of all our European nations came up as the result of an immense amount of fighting between small kings and between powerful families, each of which thought it had the best right to be the Royal Family… If Ireland had been left to herself a King of Ireland and a Royal Family of Ireland would have come up in the long run out of those wars, just as out of the wars of the Saxon nations of England the King of the English at last appeared.

What if Ireland had been left to herself?

I wondered about that long before I found Mr. O’Grady’s work in my aunts’ amazing library of Irish books. As a second generation Irish American, I will 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, rebels and outlaw heroes. The first time I saw the real Emerald Isle, the palm trees astonished me—and that wasn’t the only jolt to my flawed concept of modern Ireland.

I longed for the Ireland I knew through song and story. My aunts had assured me our family had descended from Irish royalty, kings and queens long gone but hardly forgotten. How could such great men and women simply vanish?

What if they were still around?

            In 1002 A.D., the chieftain of an obscure Irish clan rose to claim the High Kingship of Ireland. Brian Boru united Ireland’s warring tribes under one leader for the first and only time in Irish history. A scholar as well as a warrior, King Brian rebuilt churches, encouraged education, repaired roads and bridges, and roused the country to rise against the Norse invaders who had ravaged Ireland for centuries.

On Good Friday in 1014 A.D., Brian’s army challenged a host of Vikings and their allies on the plains of Clontarf. Though his troops were victorious, Brian’s son and grandson perished in the battle. Brian himself died as he prayed in his tent, murdered by fleeing Vikings who stumbled upon his camp.

Many historians have speculated that Ireland would be a different place today if Brian Boru and his heirs had survived the Battle of Clontarf. A Band of Roses presents one possible scenario.

So begins the preface of A Band of Roses, the first of a trilogy of tales set in an Ireland that might have been. Similar introductions kick off the other two books in the trilogy, Fiery Roses and Salty Roses, as well as their young adult “prequels,” Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer. In each of these stories, King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf and founded a dynasty that still rules modern Ireland. Along with a lovable cast of heroes and villains, the Boru clan encounters adventure, intrigue, and romance one reviewer called “a well-written and fascinating package that will appeal to a wide range of readers.”

I hope you’ll give them a try. What if you like them?






Author Bio:

Boston, Massachusetts native Pat McDermott writes romantic action/adventure stories set in an Ireland that might have been. Glancing Through the Glimmer and its sequel, Autumn Glimmer, are young adult paranormal adventures featuring Ireland’s mischievous fairies. Both books are “prequels” to her popular Band of Roses Trilogy: A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses. The Rosewood Whistle is her first contemporary romance.

Pat is a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Her favorite non-writing activities include cooking, hiking, reading, and traveling, especially to Ireland. She lives and writes in New Hampshire, USA.

Pat’s Web Site:
http://www.patmcdermott.net/

Pat’s Travel/Writing Blog (Put the Kettle On):

13 comments:

  1. Marva, I'm delighted to be kicking off your "When Do You Want to Be?" series. Such a great idea! I look forward to a September of creative posts on time travel and "what if."

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  2. Thanks for being the lead-off poster, Pat.

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    1. My pleasure, Marva. Always a treat to visit The Cellophane Queen!

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  3. Wonderful story. Brian Boru is one of my favourite Irish heroes. Love your book.

    Nancy

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. I grew up hearing stories about King Brian. I understand that next year, 2014, the 1000-year anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf, promises some interesting celebrations in Ireland. Might need to pop over for "research" :-)

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  4. Hi Pat, Marva,

    What an interesting theme for this month. I'll have to check back often.
    Your books look fantastic, Pat. Who doesn't love books about Ireland with all those wee people running around. A place so rich with lore that tales can be told forever with fresh fervor. Count me in as a reader and good luck with the sales.

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    1. Hi, Lorrie. I'm quite sure the Irish fairies, who appear in my YAs, have given their permission for me to write about them. I hope so. They're not all "wee" by any means, and some are downright nasty! I'm doing my best to stay on their good side :-) Thanks for the good wishes!

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  5. I'm with Lorrie. What an interesting theme for the month and the books look great. Good luck with this! What MIGHT have been, wonderful.

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    1. Heather, I'm really looking forward to the next posts in this series. They all sound fantastic. Who knows what might have been? Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Pat, your books all look fabulous. Nora Roberts got me hooked on reading about the Irish. I am definately going to check yours out!

    Such a great idea here Marva!

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    1. Hi, Penny. I've read one of Nora Roberts' Irish romance trilogies. Very sweet. Can't go wrong setting a story in Ireland, IMHO :-) Thanks so much for visiting!

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  7. Great idea. I've been to Ireland three times. Love the place - and its history. Good luck with this series.

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    1. Thanks, Renee. I've been there a few times. Heading back next month to hit the bookstores :-)

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