Many thanks! to the friends of Irish Firebrands who have paused during the resumption of post-holiday business-as-usual and making new habits out of resolutions, to find time to visit and follow the new blog that’s recently joined the Firebrands family: The Passions of Patriots.
Here’s a bit of background for the curious (and for bloggers who may not be novelists):
The Old: You’re writing a sprawling historical, this time. Are you trying to reinvent the great Russian novel?
I’ve always enjoyed history. On the rare occasions when I watch television, the program’s going to be historical, archaeological or biographical. Maybe The Passions of Patriots will also help early twentieth century history to be more accessible to the imaginations of subsequent generations who (perhaps despite their having known some relatives who lived through that time) never thought about the events of those days, except in terms of dates in a textbook. (BTW, I’ve never read War and Peace, nor have I seen any film adaptation of it.)
The New: Here’s a question put by my youngest son, during his visit over the holidays: Why start a separate blog for your next book?
All of the books I have ideas about can stand alone, although they’re connected in a “family saga” way. But I’m not writing the sort of series that’s popular these days (collections of novelettes or novellas). The kind of books I write are in the minor epic range: substantial enough for detailed analysis or discussion over an extended period (the Irish Firebrands blog has just begun its third year). There’s some topical crossover that translates into re-blogs between them, but they each need their own space.
The Borrowed: Irish Firebrands is a contemporary novel. Why change genres?
For one thing, Irish Firebrands is fusion fiction (there’s a new blog for that, too), so crossing genre lines (whether within or between books) is natural to me. I don’t read just one kind of book, so I don’t write just one kind, either.
For another, I can’t not write The Passions of Patriots. Like its predecessor, its characters want to get out from between my ears, and find new places to live, inside other people’s heads.
It also has to do with things that seemed to be like Chekhov’s Guns, when I was writing Irish Firebrands:
- After the iron stove was installed on the kitchen hearth, why were the meat spits and their cleevy never removed from above the fireplace?
- Why was the flagstone floor overlaid with hardwood floorboards? (I don’t think it was necessarily because they were easier to stand on than rock).
- In a land that was never known for haute cuisine, how did Mamó (Dillon Carroll’s grandmother) get a reputation as an excellent cook?
- Why did Mamó still keep the old china toilet sets, even after the bathroom plumbing was put in?
- Why did Daideo (Dillon Carroll’s grandfather) grow an apple orchard instead of other crops, sheep, or cattle?
- Is there a story behind Daideo’s curly meerschaum pipe? What about that strange piece of furniture, called a settle bed?
(If you’re looking for a synopsis of the new book, it’s moved to the new blog.)
Out of the Blue: You’re writing about the First World War. Is that because of the centennial?
The centennial of the war happening now is just a coincidence. I’m an “organic” or instinctive writer (aka a “pantser”), so I don’t plan anything about my writing. but the topic does happen to address my curiosity about what Father O’Toole told Dillon (in Chapter 30 of Irish Firebrands) about Daideo’s activities between 1916 and 1918: it was an important time in Ireland*, but Daideo wasn’t in Ireland.
* The Passions of Patriots is also about that bit of Irish history, and it deals with events in the Weimar Republic, too. Was I surprised when that came up! It’s been 39 years since the time I lived in Germany.
In the Pipeline: Fed up with leftovers? Would you like to test ethnic recipes? Reply below, or via Feedback>Guestbook. All recipes will be gluten-free adaptations.