The arsonist I’d created began to merge with the characters I’d created in A Band of Roses. With Princess Talty, my indomitable veteran of “otherworld” adventures, and the rest of her spirited royal clan still fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help wondering how the gallant descendants of High King Brian Boru would deal with the political tangle the Corrib Gas Field had become.
My husband and I had already planned to visit Ireland in the summer of 2005. We decided to visit the Mayo bogs. As we weren’t brave enough to drive on the opposite side of the road back then, we hired a driver and headed north.
We passed through some exquisitely scenic country, the Atlantic Ocean to our left, the Nephin Mountains to our right. I didn’t realize we’d reached the bogs until the driver pointed them out. They might have been rolling meadows, but the blankets of green weren’t grass. They were scraw, the layer of tough fibrous sod that covered the peat, or turf, as it’s called in Ireland. Masses of white bog cotton and yellow buttercups painted the scraw. Cows and sheep roamed everywhere. Rows of shrubbery divided the bumpy land into square patches. New homes and crumbling old cottages dotted the landscape.
On we went until we saw a sign for the Corrib Gas Terminal. Down the road, men in hard hats were hard at work behind a chain link fence, large sections of blue pipe awaited installation, and protestors sat in parked cars. They had set out hand-painted signs that said things like, “We are Irish citizens, not Shell subjects.”
The next morning, we learned that Royal Dutch Shell had sought and obtained a court order for the arrest of five Mayo men who refused the company access to their land. The men spent ninety-four days in prison.
As I worked on Fiery Roses, a story filled with fictitious villains and heroes, I followed the Irish news online, waiting for some resolution to the increasing hostility in the Rossport area. I finished writing the book a year ago, after spending more than three years tidying up all the imaginary plot twists with the help of make-believe characters. Sadly, the real situation in north Mayo remains unresolved.
Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts, Pat grew up in a family full of music and myths that have found their way into her stories. She is a member of The New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Seacoast Writers’ Association, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A frequent visitor to Ireland, she lives in New Hampshire, where she is currently working on her next novel