Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat McDermott Interview

1.What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up the third book in my alternate history trilogy, which supposes that if a key battle in Ireland’s past had a different outcome, kings and queens would still rule the Emerald Isle. In the first book, A Band of Roses, the present king’s daughter, Princess Talty, joins a military mission that explores parallel worlds in which she finds danger and romance. Her “otherworld” adventures continue in Fiery Roses, just released by Red Rose Publishing. I’m polishing the third book now. Salty Roses is a rollicking good pirate story, one I’ve had a fabulous time creating.

2.What inspired you to be a writer?

Hearing and reading fairy tales and poetry as a child. Falling under the spell of a story made me want to be a magician who could create similar spells for others. I’ve been writing short stories for as long as I can remember. One of my tales received an honorable mention for children’s fiction, an award that gave me the boost I needed to write and finish my first novel.

3.How many rejection letters did you get before you got an acceptance? What advice do you give the writers about dealing with rejection letters?

I have a drawer full of rejection letters from agents and publishers. A writing teacher warned me to expect them, though I still found the initial batch of barely legible form letters discouraging. The nicer rejections, more personal and actually signed, stated that my book wasn’t for them but encouraged perseverance.

Authors shouldn’t take rejections personally. Perhaps that particular agent/publisher has met their monthly quota for new submissions when a new query arrives, or the agent is going on leave. Keep at it, attend writing classes and workshops to hone your craft, never stop reading, and read a wide variety of books to learn what makes good writing. Above all, persevere in your quest to become a published author.

4.How did you celebrate your first contract?

I opened a good French burgundy and shared it with my writers’ group.

5.What's your favorite way to advertise?

Through blogs, online interviews, and any internet sites that allow interaction with readers. The whole promotional aspect of writing befuddles me, I’m afraid. I’m still learning about it. While I realize marketing is important, I’m happier creating stories. I’ve attended book marketing seminars and did a couple of book signings, and I loved that a local readers’ group chose A Band of Roses as their book-of-the-month and invited me to be their guest author. Great fun. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the marketing process.

6.What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?

Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes, and I enjoy exploring various ethnic cuisines. I’ve recently mastered some delicious Turkish, Spanish, and Irish dishes, and I make a mean risotto. I also love to travel, especially to Ireland.

7.Where do you see your writing going in five years? In ten?

That depends on how well readers receive my stories. I’ll always write, even as a hobby, and I’d love to live in Ireland doing it, at least for a while.

8.What is your favorite "comfort food"?

In the middle of winter in frigid New Hampshire, Guinness Beef Stew and Mashed Potatoes.

9.You've been to Ireland many times. What is your favorite place there?

If I’m going over to write, the Beara Peninsula. I visit a gorgeous writing retreat where all you can hear are cows mooing and the roar of ocean waves. Otherwise, I’m a city kid who loves Dublin. It’s a great base of operations. I’ve also spent time in County Mayo’s Westport, a pretty little market town on Ireland’s west coast. Oh wait, you only asked for one favorite place . . .

10.Who are your favorite authors?

That’s a tough one. With so many wonderful authors out there, how can anyone have a favorite? Simon Winchester conveys facts in an easygoing manner that seems more like fiction that nonfiction, very helpful for research. For fiction, Edward Rutherford and Diana Gabaldon draw me into their historical worlds, John Sanford and John Connolly into their modern day crime scenes. I admire William Trevor’s ability to create vivid images and complex characters from succinct phrases. Overall, I read a wide range of genres, from Dean Koontz to Roddy Doyle to Norah Roberts and Sarah Addison Allen, and I’m not done finding “new” authors yet.

11.It’s plug time. Where can people find out more about your books? Got an excerpt you’d like to share?

I’d be happy to share an excerpt. Before I do, I want to thank you, Honoria, for your gracious hospitality today. Good luck to you and your own writing!

The best to learn about me and my books is my website, I also have a blog called Put the Kettle On, at

See the Fiery Roses Trailer.

Buy links:

A Band of Roses

A Band of Roses On Kindle

Fiery Roses

The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (Anthology Featuring my Novella “By the Light of My Heart” - Release Date January 26, 2010)

In this excerpt, Irish Princess Talty Boru and her husband, Neil, have unexpectedly arrived in a place called Velavesnia. They've accepted the hospitality of Baron Anza Lucini, who thinks Talty is Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. We join her, as will Neil, in a luxurious outdoor bath heated by volcanic springs.


Water rushed over the ledge to the bathing pool below. Rainbows danced in and out of the spray, adding a magical feel to the hot, sultry springs. A serving woman had left clothing and towels nearby, though Talty was in no hurry to use them.
The cascade's gentle roar blocked all sound. She forgot the Peregrine Portal—and her disturbing anger toward Neil—and luxuriated in the refreshing shower pouring from the shadowy rocks above her. Wearing only her wedding and engagement rings, she worked a third lathering of rosemary-scented soap over her hair and skin to remove the last traces of sticky soot.

When Talty lived in Japan, her then husband, Eric Yamada, took her to bathe in onsen, volcanic hot springs that soothed both body and spirit. The bubbling mineral waters behind Anza Lucini's hunting lodge were similar: steamy, salty and mildly sulphuric. Anza had said his ancestors discovered the springs generations earlier.

Today, a wall of hewn black stone and cypress trees surrounded the thigh-deep pool. Beyond it stood a terra cotta hunting lodge, Anza's base while he and his men scoured the forest to supply his small domain with meat.

Squeaky clean and dry at last, Talty wiggled her way into the Velavesnian garments. The woolen top, a knee-length tunic embroidered with colorful designs, was more finely woven than those Anza's two serving women wore.

"It belonged to the baroness," Renen, the younger of the women, had said. "Her clothing is still here. I think it will fit you well, ma'am."

The tunic fit incredibly well, as did the soft leather boots. Renen had also left a bronze comb wrought with leaves and tiny horse-drawn chariots. Dressed and rejuvenated, Talty sat on a seat carved from stone and worked the tangles from her hair. Suspecting that the comb, too, had belonged to the baroness, she wondered who the woman was and what had happened to her.

"I was afraid you'd melted away, you were out here so long."

Smiling at the sound of Neil's gentle baritone, Talty twisted her head. He stood at the arched entrance to the baths looking delicious in his Velavesnian attire. The well-cut wool and leather emphasized his brawny arms and shoulders. Her approving gaze trailed downward, lingering over his trim waist and the muscular thighs stretching his gray leggings. Waves of pleasure rippled through her. How could she have been angry with him?

She glanced up at his handsome face. His raven hair, still damp from his bath, set off his fair skin. His familiar smile was absent, however. Uncertainty clouded his keen blue eyes.

Some reconciliation seemed in order. "I don't believe I've ever been so filthy."
He circled the pool and sat beside her. The pleasant scent of rosemary soap hovered between them. "Why didn't you let the women help you? They seemed miffed when you sent them away."

"There are only two of them, and they had enough to do to prepare the meal. Besides, I didn't know how to explain why a goddess would have such awful scars."

His fingers brushed the top of her tunic. "Nick is helping them fix the food. Richard told Anza that Nick is sworn to feed your mortal body, while I'm sworn to see to that mortal body's more amorous requirements."

Smothering a grin, Talty cocked her head. "Oh?"

A corner of Neil's mouth turned up in the tiniest smile. "I thought it was ingenious of him. Nick will see that we're fed well, and I am your husband." He tugged her tangled hair. "Even if you are angry with me."

"I am not!"

"Come on, Tal. I know you too well. I suspect we're about to have our first real quarrel."

She opened her mouth to deny it; the truth in his eyes drew a sigh of resignation from her lips instead. "I don't want to argue, but you can't keep being so protective of me. At home I try to ignore it, but in a place like this, your interference could get someone hurt, or even killed."

"I'm your Shivail, Tal. All my life I've learned it's my duty to protect you." He reached for her left hand and rubbed his thumb over her rings. "Even if I weren't in love with you, I'd still be your Shivail. I try not to be overbearing about it, but I can't forget how badly you were hurt. I never want to see that again."

Neither did Talty. The memory of Roger Wessex's assault put an edge in her voice not meant for Neil. "That was a long time ago. I'm a warrior now. Don't treat me like some useless prima donna. We all have to do our share if we're to survive here, and I can do my share very well. You know that. You're my training partner, and you've read those reports."

Sighing silently, he took the comb from her and studied its intricate design. "A pretty thing," he said, and shifted to sit behind her. He ran the comb and the fingers of his free hand through her hair, a very unfair tactic during an argument, she thought. His gentle strokes were wonderfully soothing—and distracting.

So was his intimate tone: "I was just getting used to you being Crown Princess again. Now you're a goddess—and a fierce one at that. I've had a bad day, Tal. I've gone from crossing Ireland in the Morrigan to crossing your portal into who knows where. I thought we were all going to die in that lab, and then I thought I'd die from being sick. You and Richard and Nick have done this before. I haven't. I don't know the rules."

He was right. While they were alone together, she should give him a crash course, teach him how the Peregrine Team worked . . . but his stroking fingers felt so good.

"We should talk about the rules, Neily."

He set the comb down and pushed her hair away to kiss the spot where her neck and shoulders met. Taking his time, he embedded a string of nuzzling kisses up to her ear. "Don't be angry with me, Tal. I can't bear it."

Her eyes closed. She savored the thrills shooting down her back. The strange clothing she'd just put on suddenly grew warm. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be angry.

But you—"

He seized her chin and twisted her head to his. The intimacy of his kiss cut short any further lecturing. Sorry for the rift between them, she kissed him back, an utmost kiss that sought to reassure and reconcile.

When at last they broke apart, the confidence had returned to his eyes. "I'll let you go round trouncing whoever you like if it'll get me kisses like that. I'm sorry, Tal. I'll try my best not to be such a ninny-hammer." He stood and pulled her to her feet.

She squeezed his hands. "You're no such thing. You're a fine man, and I love you well. I only wish we were in a more private place just now."

"So do I. First chance we have, I'm going to give you a proper bedding. Right now we'd best get back to the house."


Pat McDermott said...

Thanks for your hospitality today, Honoria. I'm happy to be visiting!

Marie said...

Exciting excerpt! Can't wait to read the rest of the book!!!

Nicole North said...

Pat, great interview!! Exciting and romantic excerpt!! I enjoyed it!

Pat McDermott said...

Marie and Nicole, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it!

David Duford said...

Great interview Pat! It's hard to believe that you find the process "befuddling", as you handled this part of it wonderfully!

You chose a great excerpt also, and it brings back happy memories of reading Fiery Roses, such a great sequel:)


Pat McDermott said...

Hi, Dave! So nice to see my wonderful Beta reader here. Thanks so much for taking the time to pop in, and thanks for your kind words.

Sarah McNeal said...

Pat, i always love hearing about you and what you have to say. I agree with you about promotion. Salty Roses looks rascally good. LOL
Sarah McNeal

Pat McDermott said...

Hi, Sarah. I appreciate the ego boost :-) The promotion can be tedious, but I've made some great cyber-friends in the process. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Julie Robinson said...

Congrats, Pat, on your book, being chosen Book of the Month, and the informative interview.