Monday, November 12, 2012

Interview with Author CYNTHIA OWENS

Hello to everyone, and especially Sarah, my Celtic Hearts Clan sister and friend. Thanks so much for having me here, and thank you for allowing me to talk about my historical romance novel, Coming Home, the second book in my Claddagh Series. I’m so pleased to be here. AND I’ll be giving away an autographed paperback copy of Coming Home to one lucky commenter. So put the kettle on the hob, settle into your favorite chair, and share some of my memories of Ireland.

Coming Home is the unintentional sequel to my first book, In Sunshine or in Shadow. I hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but the characters called me back to Ballycashel, the tiny, wind-swept West-of-Ireland village where both books are set.

Visiting Ireland was a long-held dream of mine, not just for research purposes, but because I’ve always felt connected to the country somehow. And on July 11, 2009, when the ferry docked in Dublin, I felt I’d arrived at my heart’s true home.

We drove off the ferry and into a curtain of magical mist that turned into a true Irish downpour. It rained steadily throughout the day, as we drove from Dublin to the village of Feakle, in County Clare. Our cottage there could have belonged to Ashleen and Cavan Callaghan, hero and heroine of Coming Home. Its stone walls, thatched roof, and the lovely warm hearth sizzling with sods of turf made me feel as if I’d gone back in time. That night, I sat in a rocking chair before the turf fire, listening to Irish music and just absorbing the Irish atmosphere.

And I felt like a character from one of my own stories.

Naturally a visit to Ireland isn’t complete without touring at least one castle. The first one we visited was Bunratty Castle, located in County Clare. It’s a spectacularly beautiful castle dating back to Medieval times, complete with winding staircases and amazing views from the battlements. It was also a gold mine of research opportunities because it has a folk park designed to look like a Nineteenth Century Irish village. It was at Bunratty Castle that I found Tom Flynn’s cottage. Loop Head House was the cottage of a farmer/fisherman, just like Tom Flynn, one of my favorite characters in Coming Home, and one of my favorite secondary characters in the Claddagh Series. A minor character in In Sunshine or in Shadow, Tom plays a major part in the love story in Coming Home.

On another day, we had the great good fortune to visit Thoor Ballylee, a fortified 13th Century Norman tower, once home to the great Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. The grounds were lovely, the “Winding Stair” dizzying, and the view from the very top of the tower was both breathtaking and terrifying – at least for me, as I’ve always been afraid of heights. We even got to see Yeats’s bed! Three years later, I feel incredibly lucky to have visited Ballylee. The autumn and winter of 2009 were severe, and the tower was damaged by heavy flooding. Sadly, the tower remains closed to visitors to this day.

It was hard to leave Ireland. The green fields, the soft mist, the incredibly friendly people, the atmosphere, was sheer magic. Ireland is like a lover, and once you meet her, she’s impossible to forget. She takes your hand in a gentle clasp, urging you forward into a world of mist and magic. She touches your heart, fires your spirit, and fills your soul with a yearning to remain always.

And I can’t wait to go back!

Sarah, thanks so much for hosting me on your beautiful blog!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Coming Home.

And watch for Playing For Keeps, Book III of the Claddagh Series, coming soon from Highland Press!

Book Blurb:
“A woman’s love is strong, more powerful than all the ghosts in Ireland..”

Daughter of an Irish village girl, step-daughter of the landlord, Ashleen O’Brien has lived between two very different worlds. But after a year in America, she yearns to return to the green land that is her heart’s home.

War and betrayal have taken everything from Cavan Callaghan – his home, his family, and the woman he loved. A hero of the Irish Brigade at Antietam, he’s searching for the family he never knew.

Love and deception await Cavan and Ashleen along those emerald shores, as the ghosts of a past that can never quite be forgotten rise to threaten their newfound happiness.

You can find me at my website:
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  1. Lovely post, Cynthia. I can see how Ireland's scenery has inspired the stories you've written, and I suspect it's already inspiring many future tales. I look forward to reading Playing for Keeps, which I know I'll enjoy as much as the first two books in the Claddagh series.

  2. Thanks, Pat, glad you enjoyed my "travelblog!" Yes, Ireland has greatly inspired me, and I do have a few more stories in the works for the Claddagh series. So pleased you enjoyed the first two books! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love your books, Cynthia. "Coming Home" was a glorious story. But then, I suspect I would even read a cereal box if you had written the words on it! Thank you for sharing your talent with us...I will reread your books over and over again as they make me feel a connection to what I consider to be my real homeland.

  4. To capture the Ireland of a bygone age is a real talent and Cynthia Owens has it in abundance, for Ireland and its people those were troubled times, but also there was love, romance, betrayal, the rich, the poor and all of which went into magic of what is no doubt the life and times of this exceptional writer.

  5. TisEyerish, thanks so much for your kind words! So glad you enjoy my books. Although I'm a born-and-bred Canadian girl, I have a smidgen of Irish blood, and I feel like Ireland is my heart's true home. I hope you continue to enjoy my books; whether they're set in Ireland or America, I promise they will always have an Irish soul! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Thank you so much for the compliment, John. I think you know what it means to me, my friend. I hope I've managed to capture the magic that is Ireland, for it truly is a magical place. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Enjoyed reading the comments. Your book sounds really good. I like reading books with a Celtic theme . One of my favorite movies is The Quiet Man and the cottage on the cover reminds me of the one in the movie.JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

  8. Thank you, Joye, I've loved reading everything about Ireland for as long as I can remember, so I suppose it was natural to write about it. The cottage we stayed at in Clare was also very much like the one on the cover of Coming Home. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Thank you everyone for stopping by and visiting with Cynthia!

    John said it very well and I am glad to see some people here, who like me, have read her books and love them!

  10. Thanks for hosting me, Sarah, I had a wonderful time! You're the best!

  11. ... And the winner is ... Joye! Congratulations, Joye!