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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blog Tour, Book Review & Author Interview: A Band of Roses by Pat McDermott

I would like to welcome Pat McDermott to Morbid Romantic. I recently had the honor of reading and reviewing her ebook A Band of Roses. If you would like to learn more about Pat McDermott, you can visit her official website

About A Band of Roses

A Band of Roses is an alternate history adventure set in modern day Ireland. The "what if" premise of the story supposes that Irish High King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 A.D. and founded a dynasty that rules Ireland to this day. Crown Princess Talty Boru, the daughter of the current King Brian, is the heir to the throne, though she wishes she weren't. She'd prefer to pursue a military career, but she's resigned to her royal fate until England's Prince Geoffrey seizes a tiny Irish island in the North Atlantic and the oil-rich ocean bed around it. Geoffrey plans to return the island to Ireland in exchange for oil wells in the Irish sea. He proposes a conciliatory treaty that would marry Talty to the unbalanced young English King. Talty agrees, as the terms demand that she relinquish her title as heir to the throne. She believes she's free of her duties as the crown princess, but a murder attempt on her wedding night turns her life upside down. Multiple attempts on Talty's life force King Brian to send her away to protect her, though he unwittingly sends her into further danger. From Japan to California, Talty must hide her true identity until her elders can set things straight. She can't disguise her ingrained training as one of Ireland's ancient Fian warriors, however. Her recruitment into International Security Force's top secret Peregrine Project allows her to visit strange worlds, one an eleventh century Ireland preparing for the Battle of Clontarf. She finds romance and adventure and brings back a discovery worth more than any oil well, yet all she wants is to return to her family and her lifelong friend and protector Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and can't have... or so she thinks. Talty's warrior cousin has a secret of his own, one that emerges as the Boru clan works with England's MI6 to thwart an invasion of Ireland and bring Talty home.

My Review of A Band of Roses

Genre: Fiction - Historical 
Finished: July 23, 2009
Historians love the "what-ifs" of history. We really do sit around tables and discuss... what if Jackson had not been killed during the Civil War? What if Jesus had not been crucified? What if Rome had never expanded? You get the picture. A Band of Roses presents a "what-if," but an obscure one. What is King Brian Boru of Ireland, when he fought against the Vikings at Clontarf, had not died as a result of the battle? How different would Ireland and Irish history be if the King who united the warring tribes of Ireland had lived? That is what McDermott poses and seeks to expand upon. His modern day twentieth century descendant Princess Talty only manages to escape assassination over some off shore oil issues. A grudge held by the Regent of the Kingdom of England, Prince Geoffrey Wessex, puts Ireland into danger and it's almost all the Irish warriors can do behind the scenes to head him off. This book pretty much covers a variety of different genres. There is historical fiction, historical fantasy, fantasy, and science fiction. There is, of course, also the real life elements of international relations and territory rights. Of course, there is also romance in that the princess harbors a secret crush for her cousin, a love she cannot imagine ever coming to fruition. McDremott did a lot of research for her writing, but you can tell that she also at the same time allowed her imagination go. That simultaneous interplay of reality versus fantasy makes A Band of Roses a truly unique novel with a happy ending.

Interview With Pat McDermott

Q: I have a degree in history, so I love imagining the "what if" possibilities. What made you choose your subject to be the death of Brian Boru?
A: My well-read aunts, who are both Irish history buffs, entertained me as a child with all sorts of Irish legends. Their tales of High King Brian Boru compelled me to explore Brian's history. Everything I found said how sad it was that Brian didn't survive the Battle of Clontarf, as Ireland would be a very different place today. The years I spent wondering just how different led to A Band of Roses.

Q: What sort of research went into making this book or is this a subject you know very well?
A: I knew enough about King Brian to realize I didn't know enough about him to write the story. Digging into his history became an enjoyable challenge, one that took me to the bookstores of Dublin and Galway. Not only did I visit Clontarf, the site of Brian's battle with the Vikings and now an upscale Dublin suburb, I also spent a day in Killaloe, his hometown in County Clare, to see the new Brian Boru exhibit.

Q: When you write something based on historical figures or events, do you worry about people finding historical inaccuracies?
A: Not at all. I research those aspects of a story well. I am writing fiction, however, and I do take liberties by placing imaginary characters in actual events, so I'm not as worried as I might be if I were writing a text book.

Q: If you could spend the day as or with any historical figure, who would it be and why?
A: I wouldn't want to be her, but I'd love to meet Granuaile, also known as Grace O'Malley, the sixteenth century Pirate Queen of western Ireland. I first heard of Grace from a priest named O'Malley who proudly claimed descent from her. I've read about her adventures on both land and sea, and I've come to admire the her as a powerful chieftain who defended her territory against all enemies. She locked her husband out of his castle, gave birth to a son at sea, and met Queen Elizabeth I without so much as a curtsey, as Grace considered herself a queen as well. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting the Grace O'Malley Museum in County Mayo, a wonderful exhibit depicting the life and times of this fascinating woman. Grace has inspired my writing: she plays a part in my third novel.

Q: What do you do to prepare to write? What is the process that gets you ready to sit down a lay out a story?
A: Making a good strong cup of tea is the first order of business, and my daily calendar has to display the new day. Whether I'm working on my desktop or my laptop, I'll choose a Quiet Music playlist from my media player, review the previous day's writing, and pick up where I left off.

Q: How much of yourself do you put in your characters? Are they extensions of you, or are they independent creations that take on a life of their own after coming from your imagination?
A: The characters in A Band of Roses are completely imaginary. I may offer suggestions as to how they might react in a given situation (I get to control the situations!), and sometimes they listen. Generally, they do behave as the situation warrants. But occasionally, and to my delight, they'll completely take over a scene.

Q: What is the most valuable piece of knowledge that you've picked up after becoming a published author that you wish you knew from the start?
A: The internet is an incredibly powerful tool.

Q: What is one thing you've never done but would love to do?
A: I would love to live in Ireland for a year.

Q: What would your "theme" song be on the soundtrack of your life?
A: "If I Ruled the World" by Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel

Q: Finally, could you share with all of us a quote that you love?
A: "Man's mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes

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