|Mom was a raven-haired beauty, with translucent|
blue-green eyes and a dazzling smile.
I've always been extremely enamored of the Irish: of their looks, their wit, their love of music and dancing, their gift for storytelling. (It's not surprising then, is it, that my first novel Finding Grace was a paean to the Irish?) But what I love about them most is their devotion to their faith.
And I've always been fascinated by the story of my mother-in-law's immigrant dad, who came here at nineteen and never saw his family back in Ireland again.
|'Tis himself, my husband's handsome grandfather.|
Erin's Ring is a story about Irish immigrants in my adopted hometown, Dover, NH. We have lived here since late 1989, when our oldest son was half-way through kindergarten, and it didn't take me long to learn that this small city (settled in 1623, it's the oldest permanent settlement in the state) has quite a fascinating history. And that history is very tied in with the 19th-century Irish-Catholic immigrants who came to work in the Dover cotton mills and played a huge role in several key events. When Cheryl Dickow approached me with the opportunity to write another young adult novel for Bezalel Books, I knew almost right away just what I wanted to write about. And I knew I wanted to dedicate this book, in part, to my husband's Irish grandfather.
It is with great joy and satisfaction that I was able to tell Cheryl that I think the galley is ready to go to print on this date. I was up very late last night, skimming through the fourth galley she had sent, trying, as she put it, to make it as "perfect as it can be this side of Heaven." I worked through Halloween night and into the wee hours of this morning; and finally, at about 3:30 a.m., I emailed her to say I think it's a go.
I didn't plan to finish Erin's Ring up today. The original appointed deadline for having the manuscript completed was December 10. But it's so interesting that it worked out this way. Not only is it my mother-in-law's birthday; but there was a tragic incident that actually occurred here in Dover in 1870, late on the night of October 31 and into the wee hours of November 1 (and it will play a part in the story). How fitting that during those very hours, I was busy making a final sweep through my manuscript before giving Cheryl the green light!
When I set out to write this book, I had the idea that it would be "about 15 chapters long." But it ended up being 17. I love the symbolism there, because Saint Patrick's Day is March 17. That's not an important thing, I know; if it had taken 16 or 18 chapters to wrap the story up, that would have been fine. But I'm pleased that it took exactly 17.
I know how thrilled my mother-in-law would have been to see this book dedicated to her beloved dad (along with the son she named after him). Just the fact that I finished today, of all days, feels like a sign that she's had a hand in the whole thing. So thanks, Mom. And Happy Birthday! XO