Today I’m interviewing Pat McDermott. Her book, Glancing Through the Glimmer, a young adult romantic adventure set in an Ireland that might have been, debuts today.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Thanks so much for hosting me and my new release today, Sarah. 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 (the first two books will be re-releases) when an acquaintance suggested the YA angle. I found I loved writing about my “Roses” characters as teenagers. The Scottish legend of Tam Lin and the Irish myths surrounding Finvarra, the King of the Connaught Fairies helped inspire the story, which takes place in a modern Ireland ruled by kings descended from High King Brian Boru. The title is a phrase from The Fairy Thorn, an old Irish poem by Samuel Ferguson about four “merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green” whose evening stroll is ruined by thieving fairies.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
I dislike genre rules, as I dabble in a bit of everything. Most of my stories contain elements of fantasy, action/adventure, sci-fi, and romance. Glancing Through the Glimmer is no exception.
When did you start writing toward publication?
Not until my kids were grown. I have great respect for writers who juggle the jobs of writing and parenting. I’ve written short stories and attended writing classes over the years, but my kids were in college before I pursued publication. I worked up the courage to enter a short story in the 74th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing competition and received an Honorable Mention for children’s fiction. That award gave my confidence a serious boost, enough to finish my first novel, A Band of Roses.
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
My first novel was under contract before I finished the second. I have four under contract now, all submitted without an agent.
Why have you become a published author?
Because of a combination of persistence, networking, finding a publisher who liked my stories, and good luck—though I believe the first three factors conjured that good luck.
Do you have any rejection stories to share?
What writer doesn’t? I attended a lecture by a noted author who said that after successfully publishing stories for over thirty years, she still receives rejections. I once had a drawer full of rejection letters from agents and publishers. A writing teacher warned me to expect them, though I still found the initial batch of barely legible form letters discouraging. The nicer rejections, more personal and actually signed, stated that my book wasn’t for them but encouraged perseverance. I recently cleaned out that drawer. Tore up the letters and tossed them out. It felt wonderful.
What is your writing routine like?
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 starting 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 or pleasure, usually with a cat or two in my lap. On Monday evenings, I host a writers’ group, which gives me a deadline to finish a chapter or two each week. For most of the year, I attend a writing class on Tuesday evenings.
What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I wish I had help. The promotional aspect of writing bewilders me. I’ve attended book marketing seminars and did a couple of book signings, and I loved that a local readers’ group chose A Band of Roses as their book-of-the-month and invited me to be their guest author. Great fun. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the marketing process. Marketing is important, yes, but I’m happier creating stories. Right now, I’m promoting Glancing Through the Glimmer through my web site, blog, and online interviews, by word of mouth, and through various internet sites.
Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
Having my kids think I’m smart? Seriously, I loved holding my published novel in my hands for the first time, and that’s a response with which I think most authors would agree.
Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I am a member of the New Hampshire Writers' Project, Seacoast Writers' Association, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Then there’s Sip, my Monday night writers’ group, a key writing organization for me.
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
You’re the only one with the ultimate vision of the story you’re trying to tell. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Join a writers' group, take classes or workshops, and never stop reading. Go out on a limb and read books 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. Don’t be afraid other authors will influence your personal style. And exercise those writing muscles! The more you write, the easier it is to get your vision onto a printed page. Set goals and deadlines for yourself, and meet them. Persevere in your quest to become a published author, and enjoy the ride!
What’s next for you?
I’m sprucing up the sequel to Glancing Through the Glimmer. Liam and Janet return in Autumn Glimmer for a Halloween weekend they’ll never forget.
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?
A little bit about the author
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 lives near the New Hampshire seacoast with her husband and three devious Tonkinese cats. Her favorite non-writing activities include hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling, especially to Ireland.
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 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.
How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can visit the book’s buy page on the MuseItUp Publishing site:
Glancing Through the Glimmer Page
You can find more information about Pat and Glancing Through the Glimmer by
visiting her web site: http://www.patmcdermott.net
Writing/Travel Blog (Put the Kettle On): http://pat-mcdermott.blogspot.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pat.mcdermott1
Facebook page for Glancing Through the Glimmer (feel free to “Like” it!):
MuseItUp Author Page: http://museituppublishing.com/musepub/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=168&Itemid=82
MuseItUp Bookstore Page for Glancing Through the Glimmer:
My cooking blog (Kitchen Excursions): http://kitchenexcursions.blogspot.com