Saturday, June 19, 2010
Interview With Deirdre Dougherty, Heroine of OUT OF THE BLUE
Yes, I do realize that to others, Deirdre Dougherty from OUT OF THE BLUE is not a real person. She is very real to me, though, and the cover image of her is very much like my mental image for her--long dark hair, pale skin, and light brown eyes.. To help you understand her (and in the hope you'll buy the book) here is an interview with Deirdre.
CC: How did you come to be an herbal healer?
DD: The women in my family have been healers as far back as we know. We grow many herbs, but we buy others in Galway City. We're also clairvoyants. Some call it he gift of sight, but for us it's been a curse. No one trusts another who has the sight. Oh, but let them have sickness, and they come running to us then.
CC: How did your father and grandfather feel about your gift and your healing?
DD: Da was that proud of ma and me. Grandad, too, but he died in the rebellion of 1798 when Ma was a babe.
CC: Tell us about growing up in Ireland.
DD: Oh, it's a grand place is Ballymish. Right on the Atlantic, it is. How I loved to sit on a huge rock and look out over the ocean. The sea breeze tasted of salt and promise. Out cottage was small--only two rooms and a bit of a loft--but it was filled with love. Flowers grew everywhere except the vegetable garden. Thinking on it makes my heart glad
CC: What sort of industry was nearby?
DD: Only the marble quarry. The marble there is that pretty you wouldn't believe it. Many shades and colors. The green was my favorite. Da worked in the quarry until Eoghan the Elder killed him.
CC: Heavens, did you say someone murdered your father? What happened?
DD: No one could prove it, but we all knew who was responsible for the rock slide that crushed poor Da. His mates took a collection for Da's burial and stone, for Da was well-liked by everyone but Eoghan. The evil man had wanted to marry Ma, but she turned him down and married Da. Eoghan harbored a grudge every day. You know the saying, "He might forget a favor, but he'll never forget a grudge." That sums up Eoghan and his son Eoghan the Younger. When I was ten, Da was raised up—you’d say promoted--it was too much for Eoghan. He killed Da.
CC: What about your Ma and your Gran?
DD: The women in our family married late. By the time I was twenty, Gran was growing feeble. Ma and I went to Galway City to buy herbs that we couldn't grow, but Gran didn't feel up to walking that far. Da had cousins there and we stayed with them for two nights. It was like what you call a holiday vacation. When we returned, we found Gran laid out on out kitchen table and Mrs. Fraser sitting with her. The kind lady said Gran was found that morning by the road. Her head had been smashed with a large rock. Guilt and sorrow wracked Ma and me. We knew we should never have left Gran alone, and we were that sure Eoghan or his son had killed Gran.
CC: How did you come to travel through time from 1845 Ireland to 2010 Texas?
DD: Before I was born Gran had a terrifying vision. She insisted that Da and Ma dig a tunnel from the center of the cottage floor, under the cottage, and coming out about twenty yards behind the cottage. They dug a couple of hours each evening all winter long. Before dawn, Da spread the dirt on the garden. When the tunnel was completed, they planted shrubs to conceal the exit. That was the first vision that helped me.
When I was twelve, Ma made me learn to swim. Do you know they say that if a woman can swim it proves she's a witch? So Ma rented a boat at Ishkerrig and we rowed out so no one could see us from shore. Then Ma taught me to swim in the ocean. We took off our dresses and swam wearing only our underclothes. I was that shocked the first time Ma told me, but it was wonderful. That was the second vision that saved me.
After Ma died, I had visions of a man reaching for me. Oh, he was a handsome one, but I thought he intended to choke me. That was the third vision that affected me leaving Ballymish. Let me tell you, I was frightened. I was alone, and Eoghan the Younger had started calling me a witch. He was turning the villagers against me, when I had done no one harm. He said I cursed their potato crops and that's why the plants were dying. I knew I had to leave so I planned to walk to Galway City and stay with my cousins until I could find me own place. I packed my carryall and readied myself to leave as soon as the village was quiet. It didn't get quiet, though. Eoghan the Younger banged on the door just before full dark. He had a mob with him and they had torches. He told me to come out, but I wasn't stupid. I scooped up my cat Cathbad and shoved him into the carryall. Quickly as I could, I moved the rug over the trap door to the tunnel and slid inside. Already I smelled the roof thatch of our lovely cottage burning. I emerged in the brush and headed for the road to Galway City. Someone spied me and the mob gave chase. They cut me off from all escape except to leap off the cliff into the Atlantic. I was so scared I prayed to Saint Brendan and Saint Brigid to deliver me. Eoghan almost caught me, but I leaped off into the sea.
CC: What a terrible series of events you've endured.
DD: Ah, but I've found the place I belong now. I like this Texas and my job. I won't tell too much about that or it will spoil the book for readers.
CC: Thank you, Deirdre, for sharing your past. I'm glad to know your future is peaceful.
DD: Peaceful? No, not atall. Well, maybe now it is, but there was such trouble getting to the peaceful part. So many times Brendan almost died. I was near kidnapped and then almost killed. Whew, this was a scary book you wrote.
CC: Hey, it ends happily-ever-after. What more do you want?
You can find OUT OF THE BLUE at www.thewildrosepress.com and Amazon.in print and e-book.
Happy Father's Day weekend to everyone!