Out in the Parallel Universe, it’s been eleven years since American genealogist Lana Pedersen climbed through the kitchen window in Drumcarroll farmhouse, the ancestral home of Irish journalist Dillon Carroll, and into a series of romantic adventures that she’d never imagined having. About two years later, after Lana’s dust had settled, a Muse traveled from the Parallel Universe to our Universe, and told me to start writing Lana’s story.
That was an adventure I never imagined having: experience of documenting what happened to Lana when she arrived on the inside of that window. The result was a minor-epic-length multi-genre novel, which I published in its current edition five years ago this month: Irish Firebrands.
Some may wonder why I chose that name for the book. Well, the story is full of firebrands who contributed the sparks that turned Lana’s genealogical research trip to Ireland into a wildfire she couldn’t control: Dillon, Frank, Medb – even Dillon’s deceased father and his friend, Fr Ó Tuathail.
Others may wonder, if the story is a romantic adventure, why I didn’t choose a conventional bared-bodies piece of cover art. Well, it’s not that kind of romance. Irish Firebrands is literary fiction, and the love story is only one of several inflammatory subplots it contains; thus the painting of a Celtic cross grave marker (suggesting Lana’s profession) on the background of a fiery sunset (suggesting the trouble she gets into).
And what has a wellie filled with wildflowers to do with all this? Well, Lana has two love interests, both of whom are classic bad boys, one of whom turns out to be the nice guy who finishes last. It was only when I wrote “The End” that I found out for sure which one was which – but that’s what I get for being an organic writer (a “pantser,” not a “planner”): I was the novel’s first reader, and every chapter held in store another surprise. Even now, when I re-read Irish Firebrands, I’m astonished that such a story could have emerged from my own fingertips.