You’re in the right place: Here, friends of Irish Firebrands can explore the adventure of stepping through a portal into the Parallel Universe of writing fiction….
Back in mid-February 2009 I awoke with a snippet of dialogue in my head. When I enquired of the Muse as to where this conversation had taken place, I was stunned to receive the answer, “Ireland.” At the time, what I knew about Ireland could have been written on the back of a postage stamp—and a small one, at that. St Patrick and the snakes. The Potato Famine. Vague childhood memories of televised news stories about internecine warfare. And that Margaret Mitchell’s fictional character Gerald O’Hara had named his ante-bellum Georgia plantation “Tara,” after some place in “County Meath”—wherever the heck that was.
So, I started out by scribbling with a number 2 pencil every impression that came to mind. After about six weeks, I began typing, and discovered that I had about 45,000 words of interpersonal stuff: beginnings, middles and ends of scenes, including the final scene—I knew what came just before those iconic words, “The End,” although didn’t know how the story would get there.
Then I set out to fill in my 32,595-square-mile knowledge deficit. I committed to memory the names of every Irish county (South and North), and practiced writing them in the correct places on a blank outline map of the island until I could do it in less than three minutes. I made a two-week pilgrimage that took me from Dublin to the shores of Connemara. I bought Irish cookbooks and cooked Irish recipes. I wrote arrangements for lap harp of tunes by Turlough O’Carolan. I acquired seven shelves of books, plus music, video discs and Gaeilge lesson recordings. I now know more about Irish history, culture, geography, wildlife, weather, agriculture, politics, psychology, religion and whatever you’re having yourself, than I ever imagined knowing—and in some cases, more than I wanted to know.
This research dunged the kudzu-like growth of a nearly 200,000-word novel. The first snippet of dialogue became part of Chapter 24. The last big plot hole closed on 27 January, 2012. After nearly three years of writing and more than nine months of editing, the first (Beta) edition of Irish Firebrands went into print via the CreateSpace independent publishing platform, and as a Barnes & Noble Nook Book.
So, come along, and we’ll figure out how and why the novel Irish Firebrands happened—and perhaps find more portals to the Parallel Universe, along the way….