Monday, February 21, 2011

Decisions, decisions

Choosing which of my books to epublish was easy. Brigid is by far my favourite. Is is, after all, semi-biographical. The first person narrator is essentially me and I did have a great great aunt called Bridget. Not that I knew much about her when I started writing what I intended to be a story about a middle aged woman travelling clockwise around Ireland on her own. I had chose Bridget to accompany me precisely because no-one knew much about her. I could invent her without my relatives - Mother particularly - being able to say "Well our Bridget wasn't like that!"

I have such wonderful memories of the journeys we took together. There were four all up, each long school vacation from my boarding house mistress position at the school on the leafy North Shore of Sydney. On the first trip I did in fact go clockwise around Ireland after a few days in Dublin seeing the sites and spending a fortune in the bookshops. Then it was down through Wicklow and Wexford, across to Cork where some of my ancestors came from and on up through Killarney to Clare. I visited Glendalough and checked out the sites of the 1798 Rebellion at Enniscorthy, and soaked up the atmosphere in the wonderful little towns I passed through. Some of them I had read about, others would become household names as I delved into the history of Ireland.

And all the time I was learning about the Great Potato Famine! And the role my ancestors might have played in it. Imagining Brigid was exciting. I had so much material on which to create her.

Before we had even reached County Clare, Brigid had taken on a life of her own. She was directing the novel. It was her story and as the time I had available for the journey ran out and the boarding school beckoned, I had to shelve both her and the project until more holidays came around. On subsequent journeys, there was no clockwise touring. it was straight across the middle of the country to Ballyvaughan and Mrs O'Brien's pub so I could start researching close to where Brigid had spent the first part of her life until the famine struck.

Just thinking about those weeks I spent in the Burren around Ballyvaughan, nosing about, asking questions, being shown the places Brigid would have known, thrills me still. And reading Brigid's story again so that it could be converted to an ebook, excited me anew. I hope that now it is available in eformat it will find a whole lot of new readers and be loved by many more people all over again.
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