Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pat McDermott, Autumn Glimmer

AUTHOR:                Pat McDermott
BOOK TITLE:         Autumn Glimmer
PUBLISHER:          MuseItUp Publishing

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
First of all, Penny, thanks for your hospitality today. I always enjoy visiting One Writer’s Journey. I’m a Boston, Massachusetts native, but I now live in New Hampshire. I’m the author of a series of romantic action/adventure stories set in an Ireland that might have been.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.
Autumn Glimmer, the Young Adult sequel to Glancing Through the Glimmer, is a fantasy, an alternate history adventure set in modern Ireland. What if High King Brian Boru hadn’t perished at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 AD, but survived to establish a royal dynasty that rules Ireland to this day? And what if Ireland’s fairies are still around causing mischief? The present King Brian’s son, seventeen-year-old Prince Liam, and his American friend, sixteen-year-old Janet Gleason star in both books. Along with the fairies, of course.

In Autumn Glimmer, King Brian invites Janet and her grandparents to Glensheelin, the royal family’s country estate, to celebrate Halloween. Little do they know that a clan of fairies live beneath Glensheelin’s lake. Every seventh Halloween, they must leave their watery home to gather the flowers their queen requires to keep a hungry monster asleep. This year, Blinn, Mell, and Lewy get the job. Blinn wants to see the mortal king’s house. Lewy wants to taste oatcakes again, and Mell goes along on a tragic ride that leaves poor Lewy lost and alone. Can Liam and Janet help him find the flower bag before the monster awakens? Or will Lewy’s misguided glimmer trap the young mortals forever in the palace beneath the lake?

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been creating stories for as long as I can remember. My extended family included some entertaining storytellers, and the fables and myths I heard and read as a child taught me how a story can transport a reader or listener right out of the room. I wanted to be someone who could do that. As a child, I made up lots of stories, but my own children were in college before I started putting ideas on paper seriously.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
I have two wonderful aunts named O’Brien, both Irish history buffs. When I was a child, they told me that we were descended from High King Brian Boru. I wanted to learn more about him, and 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. I started thinking…what if he had survived?
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
When a story idea hits, I do a lot of research and let ideas and subplots emerge from what I uncover. I’ve tried the outline approach, which is helpful to organize my thoughts, but my stories tend to take off on their own and seldom follow an outline.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Depends on the story. For Autumn Glimmer, I already had the characters, so the plot developed around them.
What are some of the challenges in your writing process?
I find it difficult to write from scratch, especially at the start of a new chapter, or even a scene.  I worry if I’ll pick the right opening, point of view, setting, etc.

Describe your writing space.
Cluttered when the writing is flying, neat when I can’t think where the story should go next. My desktop setup includes a slide-out shelf for my tea and overflowing bookcases.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes. I have my own cooking blog, called Kitchen Excursions. I enjoy exploring different ethnic cuisines and the traditions behind them. I also love hiking, reading, and traveling, especially to Ireland.
What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
I enjoy my Kindle. It’s great for travel, though I prefer the feel and smell of a “real” book, especially one of those 1800s antiques from my aunts’ amazing library. But more and more people are using electronic readers, a real revolution for the publishing industry. As my books are currently available as e-books, I hope both reading options will coexist for a long time.

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for
My two Young Adult novels, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer, are ‘prequels’ to my more adult Band of Roses Trilogy. A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses feature the entire Boru clan but focus on Ireland’s Crown Princess, Talty Boru, who has a knack for getting in trouble. All these books are available in e-format. Currently, I’m working on a contemporary romance called The Rosewood Whistle, set—where else?—in Ireland.

What is your marketing plan?
I’m shouting out through my web site and blog, online interviews, word of mouth, and various internet sites. The whole promotional aspect of writing befuddles me. While I realize marketing is important, I’m happier creating stories.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
You’re the only one with the ultimate, grand vision of the story you’re trying to tell. Join a writers' group, take classes or workshops, never stop reading. Go out on a limb and read a book you wouldn’t ordinarily read. To paraphrase an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, a mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions. Don’t be afraid other authors will influence your personal style. And exercise those writing muscles! The more you write, the easier you can put your vision on a printed page. Set goals and deadlines for yourself, and meet them. Persevere in your quest to become a published author, and enjoy the ride!

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My Writing/Travel Blog (Put the Kettle On):  http://pat-mcdermott.blogspot.com

Autumn Glimmer Excerpt:

Below the bubble, the water brightened to a lustrous cobalt blue. Stars seemed to shimmer deep in the lake. A forest of vegetation waved on the lake bed. The impossible sight of crystal towers emerged beyond the greenery, and Liam wanted to dance.

Janet raised a hand to her face. "It's lovely, but why does it smell so bad?"

She was right. A nasty whiff of something vile had seeped into the bubble.

Becula raised her arms. "Hasten!"

The bubble's downward speed increased. The stench intensified. Trying to pinpoint its source, Liam scanned the ghostly lake. An amber mist glowed in the inky water beyond the light and seemed to be pursuing them.

"What is it?" he asked, dreading the answer.

"The Crogall Cú," Becula said, her nonchalant tone at odds with the stiffened sags and bags on her face. "When it hunts, its nostrils blow foul vapors to confuse its prey. Fear not, young prince. It shall not harm us."

A terrible roar tore through the bubble. Janet yipped and clung to Liam. Squashing his lips to keep from yipping himself, he hugged her to him.

The mist billowed into to a putrid fog that poured like custard to sully the water. Another roar, much closer this time, jolted the bubble.

Janet screamed. A blood-red eye as big as an autumn moon stared into the bubble.


  1. Penny, thanks again for hosting me and the fairies here on One Writer's Journey today. Always a pleasure!

    1. It's a pleasure to have you, Pat. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  2. Enjoyed the interview. I can just picture your desk with the steaming cup of tea nearby.

    1. Oh great, Judy. Now I have to go put the kettle on again! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I always enjoy your interviews.

    1. And I always enjoy your visits, Tammy. Thanks for dropping in!

  4. Another great interview, Pat. You grab another cup of tea and so will I. I can't do without my tea like most can't do without coffee. Love you cover.

    1. I need my tea, Lorrie, and none of that herb stuff, thanks. I love my Lyons Original Blend Black Assam. Used to be I could only get it when I visited Ireland, but now it's available here in New Hampshire :-) Isn't the cover great? CA Nika Dixon did it. Love her work. Thanks so much for stopping by. Always great to 'see' you!

  5. Pat, I've yet to meet an author who enjoys marketing. I think we all feel the same way, "Leave me alone and let me write!" Course, a bit more polite than that. Great success to you.

    Hi, Penny. Did I remember to tell you I love the new look to your blog? Very springy and happy looking.

    1. Thanks, Joylene. I thought what you said about marketing was extremely polite, compared to what I usually say :-) Appreciate your visit.

    2. Thanks, Joylene. I thought it was time to celebrate spring. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  6. Nice interview! And some good advice for writers!