Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Author Interview: Pat McDermott

Yesterday, I posted my review of A Band of Roses, by Pat McDermott.
Today, I had the chance to find out a little more about her. Read on!

Tune in tomorrow for a guest blog post from Pat about the writing process.

Author Interview: Pat McDermott

Jennifer Walker: Please tell us about any other book projects you have, past, present and future.

Pat McDermott: A Band of Roses is my first full-length novel, though I’ve been writing short stories forever. One of my tales received an honorable mention for children’s fiction. That award gave me the boost I needed to finish A Band of Roses. The sequel, Fiery Roses, is with the editors now and is set for release around the end of the year. The inspiration for Fiery Roses came from an ongoing struggle in Ireland over a gas pipeline an oil company wants to run from the ocean to an onshore refinery. My current writing project, the third book in the Roses trilogy, is a pirate story.

Jennifer Walker: A Band of Roses is very detailed! Did you spend much time conducting research before writing the story?

Pat McDermott: Yes, both before and during the writing, as questions arose as I wrote. Whether I was writing about Japanese kimonos, attack helicopters, or Irish mythology, I wanted to get it right. As for Brian Boru, I knew enough about him to realize I didn’t know enough. Digging into his history became an enjoyable challenge, one that took me to Ireland. 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.

Jennifer Walker: You seem to have a great grasp of British and Irish culture, language and people. What is your background--education, family, interesting places you've lived?

Pat McDermott: I attended Catholic schools and the University of Massachusetts and have taken several writing classes over the years, but the wealth of stories I heard as a child is something schools simply don’t teach. My grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from County Sligo in the 1920s, and I grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood in Boston hearing the tales, loving the music, wanting to see Ireland. I finally did after my kids were in college.

Jennifer Walker: Are any of the people, organizations or events in A Band of Roses based in reality?

Pat McDermott:
The Boru clan is a cast of completely imaginary characters who sprang unbidden from a blend of old legends and current events. A Band of Roses opens with English commandos claiming a tiny uninhabited island hundreds of miles off the Irish coast. Sounds ridiculous, but it happened. Current events drive my plots, though I tailor the facts to fit the story.

Jennifer Walker: How did you get started on your writing career? Have you always wanted to write, or is this a recent development? How did A Band of Roses come about?

Pat McDermott:
Back to those family stories. I have two wonderful aunts who are devotees of Irish history. From one of their trips to Ireland, they brought me a copper statue of Brian Boru. In my quest to learn more about him, I found several opinions stating how sad it was that he perished at Clontarf, that Ireland would be a very different place today if he’d survived. I couldn’t help thinking . . . what if he had survived?

Jennifer Walker: Do you have a "day job,” or do you write for a living?

Pat McDermott:
I’ve taken a hiatus from “real work” to dedicate time to finishing the “Roses” trilogy. At this stage, writing is a full-time hobby.

Jennifer Walker: What is your favorite movie? Book?

Pat McDermott: My favorite flick is an oldie: Casablanca. It’s my kind of story, as it has a touch of everything: action/adventure, romance, mystery, comedy. I named my son Rick after Humphrey Bogart’s character. As for a favorite book, how can anyone have a favorite with so many wonderful authors out there? I enjoy historical novelists like Leon Uris, Edward Rutherford, and Diana Gabaldon, but I like to think I haven’t read my favorite book yet.

Jennifer Walker: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be, and with whom?

Pat McDermott: Again, so many choices! Besides visiting the pyramids with my husband, I’d love to have my grandparents back long enough to treat me to a tour of the Ireland of their youth.


  1. Jennifer, Even though I'm a tea addict, I'm enjoying my visit to A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book. Thanks so much for hosting A Band of Roses on your wonderful blog!

  2. Thank you so much! It's been great having you here...and don't forget, a guest blog from the author tomorrow!

  3. Wonderful interview! It was great to get to know you a bit better Pat, and to learn about your inspirations. I love the same authors that you do and I'm sure if we were in a room together we could talk for hours upon hours about Ireland! I've always wanted to visit Boston too. One of these days...

  4. Thanks so much, Christine. One of these days we'll have to meet in a Dublin pub!