Magical Musings is proud to welcome Pat McDermott for our Debut Author Interview this month. Pat recently celebrated her debut novel, BAND OF ROSES, a Tiger Publications release. I know you’ll enjoy Pat’s story!
We’d love to hear your call story.
After I’d amassed a drawer full of agent rejection letters, the romance writer/good friend in my writing group bullied me into joining Romance Writers of America. “But I’m not a romance writer,” I said, though I joined to make her happy. “RWA has a Celtic group,” she said, “and your story is set in Ireland. You should join that, too.” “But I don’t write about sexy sixteenth century men with bare chests and plaid kilts,” I said, though I joined that one, too. I browsed the Celtic loop and grew more certain each moment that I didn’t belong there – until the name of a publisher in the signature line of one of the authors caught my eye. I emailed her privately and asked about her publisher. Her kind response and rave reviews prompted me to query them via e-mail. The next day I received a request for three chapters, and then a request for the entire manuscript. Not long after, a contract was on its way, thanks to my good friend the romance writer!
Did you have an agent? If not, did you send this to an agent before you sold?
I do not have an agent. One kindly called after I queried her to say the story was too long, which I knew. I had actually just dropped it off to a professional editor, whom I hired to help me put the pages on a diet. The trimmed down version was the one that got the contract.
How long were you writing, how many books before you sold?
I’ve been writing short stories forever. I moved to the New Hampshire seacoast so I could take writing classes at UNH. One of my tales, “The Back Porch,” received an honorable mention for children’s fiction from a Writers’ Digest annual contest. That award gave me the boost I needed to finish A Band of Roses, my first full-length novel and my first sale.
What type of books do you write?
I like imaginative stories with no rules about genre, no limits on where the plot can go. I hated being told by one writing teacher that stories that didn’t fit into current genre formulas would never be published. Thankfully, my publisher was more interested in good stories than formulas.
I see no reason why history, sci-fi, adventure, romance, and fantasy can’t be components of the same story. Reading such stories has always been a treat for me. Writing one was an enjoyable challenge, one I hope will provide readers with an entertaining escape. When people tell me “I couldn’t put your book down till I finished it,” I’m happier than if they’d set a hot fudge sundae in front of me, and that’s happy!
Can you tell us about your debut book? What is it about and what genre?
I spent five years researching and writing A Band of Roses. It’s an alternate history/action adventure set in modern day Ireland. The story’s “what if” premise supposes what Ireland would be like today if High 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 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.
What are your plans for the future? What can we look forward to with you?
I’m presently polishing up Fiery Roses, a sequel to A Band of Roses based on the current struggle in Ireland’s County Mayo over the unpopular routing of an offshore gas pipeline to an onshore refinery. And I’ve already written several chapters for Salty Roses, a pirate story and the third book in what I hope will be a Roses trilogy. I love my pirates!
Do you have a website?
I do, and I welcome visitors and comments – http://www.patmcdermott.net