I’m delighted to welcome Pat McDermott here today for an interview and a look at her romantic action/adventures, Salty Roses, Book Three in her Band of Roses Trilogy. Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win in Pat’s giveaway!
Hi Pat, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Salty Roses:
Salty Roses, a pirate adventure set mostly in Ireland and Brittany, takes readers both above and below the waves. As mentioned, it’s the third book in the Band of Roses Trilogy, a series of romantic action/adventures starring modern Ireland’s delightful royal family. As head of state, the current King Brian upholds ancient traditions, as does his daughter, Crown Princess Talty, though Talty has a knack for landing in trouble.
In A Band of Roses, the indomitable princess must leave Ireland to thwart assassins. She travels from Japan to California to an eleventh century Ireland, yet all she wants is to return to her family and Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and cannot have—or so she thinks. In Fiery Roses, the residents of rural County Mayo object to plans to run gas pipelines over their pristine bogs, and an arsonist tries to change their minds. One of his fires sends newlyweds Talty and Neil to an ancient world beset by a waking volcano.
A ride aboard a luxury submarine leads to oceans of trouble for Ireland’s Crown Princess . . .
Warrior princess Talty Boru and her noble Irish clan have outwitted all sorts of scoundrels. A wife and a mother at last, the dynamic heir to the Irish throne believes her days of exotic adventure are all done and dusted. Yet her royal duties seem endless, and a day off with handsome husband Neil is looking good. Former naval officer Talty eagerly accepts an eccentric billionaire’s invitation for a jaunt aboard his luxury submarine, but as she and Neil dive beneath the waves to view an eerie shipwreck, a sinister plot unfolds. An unknown enemy lures them to an ancient tomb and sends them to a world infested with treacherous pirates. Talty takes charge of a pirate ship and its mangy crew, while Neil matches wits with a steamy temptress who jeopardizes his wedding vows. As he and Talty fight to save their marriage, they learn that the door to parallel worlds swings both ways…
What inspired this story?
When I was a little girl, my O’Brien aunts, who claim descent from High King Brian Boru, gave me a copper statue of King Brian. Much of what I read about him suggested that if he hadn’t perished at the Battle of Clontarf, Ireland would be a very different place today. I spent years wondering how different, and then I started writing.
How do you come up with ideas?
Current events inspire a lot in my stories. I know my “Roses” characters well and enjoy placing them in real life situations, which are often more incredible than any writer could ever invent. A Band of Roses opens with English commandos claiming a tiny uninhabited island hundreds of miles off the Irish coast. Sounds absurd, but it happened. The ongoing protests of County Mayo’s residents against an oil company looking to mine offshore gas set the stage for Fiery Roses, and Ireland’s status as one of the world’s top ocean exploring nations inspired much of Salty Roses, though Talty sees things beneath the waves no scientist ever imagined.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being in total command of the world I’m creating—at least until the characters take over.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
Early morning works best for me. My head isn’t filled with grocery lists and appointments yet, and I love the sense of potential that comes with a new day.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
My modern-day King Brian is an obvious choice. For the third “Roses” book, I was going to have him die so Talty could become queen and finish off the trilogy, but both my writing group and writing class threatened to finish me off if I did that. He’s a hero for sure, but my favorite hero is his nephew, handsome Neil Boru. Being an adopted member of the royal Boru clan causes Neil to feel unworthy of his noble station in life. He’s an Air Corps pilot and a warrior sworn to protect Ireland. He’s also Princess Talty’s personal protector, an honorary title she thinks he takes far too seriously. He’s faced with many twists and turns, including falling illicitly in love with Talty, but his struggle to choose the honorable path exhibits ingrained nobility that transcends royal bloodlines.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
Not very well. I often need to be pried from my computer.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I’m content in New Hampshire, but I’d love to spend more time in Ireland, especially in Westport, a small town in western Mayo. My soon-to-be released contemporary romance, The Rosewood Whistle, is set in Westport.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
To cook, risotto, any kind. I love the soothing rhythm of stirring everything together. To eat, depends on the season. Right now, late winter, I’d love a bowl of Guinness Beef Stew, preferably in front of a peat fire in a pub somewhere in Dublin, with live traditional music playing in the background.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?
Almost always, though I can’t listen to singing when I’m writing. Right now, I’m listening to a CD called “The Peacock’s Dance – Celtic music for Harp and Guitar.”
These are few of my favorite things:
1. My three Tonkinese cats, Neko, Jojo, and Milo
2. Playing whist
In this excerpt, Talty and Neil are in County Mayo for the opening of the Grace O’Malley Museum:
The wind fills the rigging and whips my hair. Salt spray dampens my face. The men at the oars propel my galley over the sea to capture the foolish merchant ship that dared to invade my waters. She sits low in the waves, weighed down with gold and silver, packed with silk and spices from the Far East. She’s mine.
“Man the cannons!” I shout from the gun deck. “Prepare to board her!”
“Your Highness? We have here a model of Granuaile’s galley. Not an exact reproduction, but assembled as closely as possible from the descriptions in the existing records.”
The droning words seeped into Talty’s daydream like ink drops clouding a pool of water. The invigorating tang of briny air gave way to the scent of new wood and fresh paint. Talty was back in the Grace O’Malley museum in Louisburg, Mayo.
“You’ll walk the plank for this, me bucko!”
Though miffed that the curator’s ongoing narrative had spoiled her imagined adventure, Talty smiled courteously at the gangly, white-haired man. “The ship looks quite authentic, Mr. Gavin.”
The raisin-like eyes behind his glasses squinted back at her. “Grania had several galleys under her command.” Gavin walked on, babbling away about tribal warfare in sixteenth century Ireland.
Talty knew the story of Granuaile, also known as Pirate Queen Grania “Grace” O’Malley, yet she listened politely, ambling along after Gavin to the next display. Neil stopped beside her, biting his lip the way he did when trying not to laugh. The merry gleam in his eye said he’d caught her daydreaming.
She stepped on his foot. “I understand Grania divorced one of her husbands and locked him out of his castle.”
Gavin didn’t miss a beat. “Richard Bourke. Sometimes known as Iron Dick.”
Neil’s polite cough barely muffled a snort of laughter. “The fella possessed exceptional marital skills, did he?”
Talty stepped harder on his foot, somehow managing to keep her public smile in place. “Isn’t the name from the armor he wore?”
Gavin’s unsmiling face betrayed no awareness of their playful interaction. His attention seemed riveted on the exhibit before him. He clasped his hands behind his back. “That’s one theory. The name may have referred to an ironworks on his property. Unfortunately, we have more folklore than fact about the history of this time. It’s folklore that tells us how Grania herself became known as Granuaile. ‘Gráinne Mhaol’ means ‘Bald Grace’ in Irish. Legend has it she cut her hair after her father refused to take her along on his voyages. He claimed her hair was so long, it would get caught in the rigging.”
Neil tugged Talty’s shoulder length hair. “Obviously he let her sail with him after that.”
“Obviously. This ends the tour, ma’am. If you’re ready, we’ll officially open the museum.” Gavin started for the door.
Talty followed, recalling one of her favorite stories about Grania O’Malley. Only hours after the Pirate Queen gave birth to a son in her cabin, foreign pirates attacked her galley. Grania appeared on deck clad only in a blanket. She shot the pirate captain with her blunderbuss pistol and led her men to victory. Having recently experienced childbirth herself, Talty found her admiration of the legendary woman turning to awe.
The wax figures of Granuaile and her husbands, sons, and enemies positioned throughout the room appeared ready to step down and strike up a conversation. Colorful murals on the walls portrayed seascapes and sixteenth century sailing vessels, adding to the fanciful mood.
This morning’s formalities would be modest compared to the afternoon gala at the Marine Foundation, yet Talty suspected the most enjoyable part of her day would be spent here in Mayo. The Marine Foundation was important, yes, but the reception following its opening ceremony was “by invitation only.” She dreaded facing the fawning, praise-seeking politicians who’d have the run of the place, and she didn’t care a whit if she ever met the billionaire tycoon, Roxy what’s-his-name.
The Granuaile event was open to the public. Talty looked forward to her allotted forty-five minutes of shaking hands and chatting with the people before the Morrigan whisked her south to Galway. Silently rehearsing her short speech, she walked between Neil and Gavin to the Granuaile Center’s humble lobby. The standing crowd enthusiastically applauded her entry.
Despite the warm welcome, Barry and Rory stood guard on either side of the packed little room. Their eagle-eyed vigilance was more than adequate for this quiet corner of Mayo. Security at the Marine Foundation would be tighter than a goatskin on a drum.
Her public smile firmly in place, Talty cordially greeted the well-wishers, who had no way of knowing she was already back on her pirate ship, shouting orders to man the cannons and prepare to board.
A Giveaway! Pat is giving one lucky commenter an e-copy of Salty Roses. What is your favorite place in the world to travel to?
Massachusetts native Pat McDermott writes romantic action/adventure stories set in an Ireland that might have been. Born and educated in Boston, Pat grew up in a family full of music and myths that have found their way into her stories. She 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.
You can find Pat at:
Travel/Writing Blog (Put the Kettle On): http://pat-mcdermott.blogspot.com/
Salty Roses: Book Three in the Band of Roses Trilogy / is available from: