Saturday, August 11, 2012
Devils Mountain Review, Interview & Writing Exercise!
Caroline Collins married the love of her life. Bobby Connelly was perfect for her. It was like a fairytale, right up to the rehearsal dinner. That’s when things started to get ugly.
The arrival of Bobby’s beautiful mother, Mary, sparked some old memories…or were they old “wives tales”? Caroline’s mother, Nellie, suddenly began spouting superstitions, accusing Mary of having made a pact with the devil. Apparently Nellie and Mary had grown up in the same mountain society in Ireland. Nellie tried to warn Caroline of the danger.
Caroline brushed off her mother’s warnings and the wedding took place. Her mother was never the same. In fact, Nellie even moved out of state, creating more distance from the couple.
Life was wonderful for the newlyweds until they faced the devastating news that Caroline could not conceive a child. She saw the finest specialists in Manhattan. They all agreed she would never get pregnant. Caroline was distraught. She would do anything to get pregnant…anything. She quickly spiraled into a black depression.
Bobby only wanted happiness for Caroline. He couldn’t watch her slip away. He knew there was only one answer.
The newlyweds decided to take a trip back to Ireland. A change of scenery would do them good. Life on the mountain was like entering another world. There was something very frightening, and yet there was so much beauty and pleasure to be had. Most importantly, Bobby was able to get Mary’s promise that she would arrange for Caroline to become pregnant. However, she insisted that Caroline could only have one baby... no more. That was the deal.
Caroline conceived on the mountain.
The couple returned to Manhattan and life continued happily for the family of three. With the addition of their lovely baby boy, it appears that their family is complete. Caroline felt differently. She feels a strong desire for another child and she unknowingly makes her own deal with the devil-. the Slanaintheoir. Once the deal is done, life will never be the same. There are a series of ugly events that lead to Carolinas return to the mountain.
Because of Caroline’s actions, Mary must try to stop the chain of events that will end in horror for an innocent girl. She blames Caroline and makes no secret of it. Caroline had inadvertently given Slanaintheoir even more power. He now held more lives in his hands and his diabolical plans would ruin lives for centuries.
Will Mary be able to bargain with Slanaintheoir? Is it too late?
You’ll have to visit Devil's Mountain to find the answers.
Interview with Bernadette Walsh
K- Thank you so much for joining us, Bernadette. I absolutely loved ‘Devil’s Mountain’ and I can’t wait to read the sequels!
The book was very intriguing. With much of the story based in Ireland, one has to wonder how much of this “Irish Folklore” is or perhaps based on something closer to reality. How did you research for this book, and was there any personal inspiration for this story?
B: I didn’t really do much research at all. In terms of the locale, DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN is set in both New York City and a fictional town in the southwest of Ireland. I am a native New Yorker and have lived and worked in Manhattan. My mother is from Limerick, Ireland and my parents used to have a holiday home on a mountain in Ireland. I would fly from the high pressure-cooker of Manhattan to this remote otherworldly place and would feel almost transformed. When I was thinking of a location for my magical mountain I of course based it on my parent’s mountain home. With DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN I was able to include the setting of two places that I love.
I did incorporate a few things from Irish mythology. I mention in several places in the book a Hawthorne tree. Hawthorne trees are believed to be sacred to faeries and bad luck is thought to befall anyone who cuts one down. I also did some research on the plants that grow in Ireland and are believed to have supernatural protective properties and I included those plants in the garden that surrounds Mary’s cottage. In terms of the Irish words, I used an online English to Irish translator. I am sure I completely messed up the grammar, but I sprinkled the Irish words sparingly because I just wanted to give a flavor.
And that was pretty much it in terms of research for DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN, the rest of the story came exclusively from my very twisted brain. For the next two books in the series I incorporated more elements of witchcraft and the only research I did there was reading some books and attending the New York Witches festival which was held here on Long Island last fall, and believe me that was a total trip!
K: I know what you mean about that “otherworldly” feeling. I feel that when I visit my mother’s birthplace in Mayo, on the West coast of Ireland. Since you are fellow Irishwoman I have to ask: Do you believe in the fairies & such? Are any of your scenes are based on real experiences?
B: I am a New Yorker, born and bred. My Irish born husband would be horrified to hear anyone call his Yank wife an Irishwoman!! But I am Irish-American and am very proud of my Irish heritage. I would say that the only scene in DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN based on a real experience was the opening wedding scene which I based on my own wedding. Luckily, there were no family witches or faeries at my wedding, at least none that I know of :)
K: (Laughing) You’re right, my Irish born readers would have probably called me on that “Irishwoman” bit.
There were no witches of faeries at your wedding. That you know of…
You lead a busy life as an attorney and author; can you describe your writing style? What is a typical day in the life of Bernadette Walsh?
B: I don’t want to bore your readers by describing my typical work day. Let’s just say I get up at 5AM and it goes downhill after that :) In terms of my writing process, I usually spend a month or two just thinking about my book. I try to enter the head of my main character. I do a lot of my thinking during my daily commute on the Long Island Rail Road, staring out the window. Once I have a feel for my characters, I then put pen to paper, or rather fingers to the keyboard. During the work week I have at most twenty minutes to write at night after my family goes to bed. Before I sit down, I always have a very specific goal for the scene I am about to write (i.e. at the end of this scene Character X has to accomplish Y). I sneak an hour here and there for writing, and as a result need to be very disciplined and get the most out of my writing time. I don’t have the luxury of writing just to see where things go.
My writing tends to be very concise. I am not sure whether that is because of my legal background or my limited available writing time. The result is I tend to write short. My first two books were around 60K with my latest novella being under 30K. Because I write so short, that has limited my publishing options. Fortunately, I have been able to place my work with two fine e-publishers, Lyrical Press and Echelon Press.
K: I think the shorter books appeal to people in this day and age. With the hectic schedules and busy lives, reading a book is many times a luxury.
If this book was made into a movie, who would you like to see cast in the roles?
B: I could definitely see Angeline Jolie playing one of the witches, but I see my witches as curvy and womanly so Angelina would need to eat a sandwich to prepare for the role!
K: Funny you mention Angeline Jolie. As I read the book, I could see her playing Mary. And I agree, she definitely needs to eat a sandwich or two : )
I like to engage my guests in a little game I the “writing exercise” I give you a scene and you rewrite it in your own fabulous style. Are up for it?
B: Sure!!! To date I only write in the first person and I only write from the perspective of female characters, so I will need to change Anil to Anilla.
K: Okay, here is your scene:
Anil sat quietly in the dark room, staring down into the amber liquid in the glass he held in his hand. He quickly swallowed the whiskey, in one gulp. Then he screamed out filthy obscenities, while he hurled the glass to the floor. He grimaced as a large glass shard bounced up and lodged in his bare ankle. He reached down and grabbed the glass shard, and pushed it deeply in to his skin, and then pulled the shard through his leg, all the way up to his knee.
He screamed out in pain and then grabbed the glass shard and threw it back on the floor. He didn't notice the blood gushing down his leg and pooling on the floor. He felt a little better now. He had discovered that cutting himself seemed to calm him down. Sometimes he became so irate and agitated it took more than just a few cuts. It was starting to escalate. Like a drug, he needed more and more. The month before he was not able to soothe himself until he had sliced off his pinky finger
B: OK, here I go!
In the bedroom’s low light, I could barely make out the amber liquid in the tumbler I gripped in my hand. Whiskey, Danny’s $200 whiskey. Well fuck him, I thought as I gulped it down. The whiskey burned my throat and brought tears to my eyes. I poured myself another glass and soon made it disappear. I lifted the bottle to pour myself a third, but it was empty. I drank a bottle of $200 whisky and I could still hear Danny’s oh-so-sympathetic voice echo in my head. “I’m so sorry, Anilla. You know how special I think you are, but my parents introduced me to Maura, and I don’t know, it was love at first sight.” Special? I wasn’t feeling very special at the moment. Danny O’Donnell and Maura Connelly. A pair made in Irish-American heaven. Mrs. O’Donnell must be ecstatic that red-haired Maura will be her future daughter-in-law rather than dark-haired me. Exotic, Danny had called me that first night we spent together. He stroked my black hair, kissed my dark skin and told me that he was always attracted to “exotic” girls.
Well, not anymore.
Damn him! I threw the whiskey bottle with such force that the bottle shattered. A shard of its green glass lodged in my thigh.
I watched the blood spurt from my wound and felt oddly numb. I reached down to pull it out but for some reason pushed it in hoping to feel something, anything. But still I was numb, so I pulled the glass out. Pain. I wanted to feel enough pain to obliterate Danny’s voice in my head.
“You’re so beautiful,” he said that first night. I stabbed my thigh with the glass, and drew a D. Beautiful, the pain was beautiful.
K: I love it- fabulous twist! This is the first time someone wrote from the perspective of a female character. Brilliant.
Thank you so much. It was great having you here. Can you please tell us what’s coming up and where we can find you on the web?
B: Book Two in the Devlin Legacy, DEVIL’S SHORE, will be released by Lyrical Press in December and the third book, DEVIL’S DAUGHTER is expected to be released in early 2013. I am currently working on THE DEVLIN WITCH. I had originally intended the Devlin Legacy to be a trilogy, but those Irish witches still have me under their spell so I am writing a full length stand-alone book that incorporates some of the characters from Book Three. I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft, so not exactly sure where I will wind up.
Thanks so much for hosting me today!
K: Thank you, Bernadette. It was a pleasure having you. I can’t wait to read the future books. I hope you’ll come back and we can celebrate the launch of Devil’s Shore.
Here are some places you can find Bernadette on the web: