Posts Tagged ‘Chasing Eternity’

Ireland…home of fairies and long lost birth-ancestors!

January 10th, 2014

I can’t say why I’ve always been drawn to the country of Ireland. I chose it as the setting for my second novel, Chasing Eternity, without really knowing why. Often in my writing, things like plot lines, character traits, and settings choose themselves, regardless of my best intentions. I usually just roll with it, knowing that my subconscious is where my true intellect resides. Those islands off the western coast of Ireland seemed the perfect spot for my very, very, very elderly characters: remote, entrenched in the old, Gaelic culture, removed from the whims and niceties of modern society. I did a ton of research on those islands…the Aran Islands, Inishbofin, the Blasket Islands.

I never traveled there, although I really wanted to, mostly because I believed that an author needs to truly know an area if she’s chosen it as a setting. But alas, life with a family has a way of rendering international travel a Santa-list wish, so I contented myself with the internet and books…besides, those islands had become almost fictional in my mind. Craggy, foggy, lonely, magical, pure of soul. Actually setting foot on one of those islands seemed outlandish, like stepping back in time or into the pages of a book.

If you’ve been following my adoption journey, you’ll know that I’ve recently connected with my birth mother, Lori. It has been a life-altering, heart-warming experience for me. Since our face-to-face visit (with her awesome sister Darla!) last March, I’ve been toeing into the waters of a family and heritage I didn’t know I had. I’ve been exchanging letters and photos with my birth grandmother, Winona, a stunningly pretty almost-90-year-old living in Indiana! Lori also helped me to connect with my birth father’s sister, but unfortunately their family hasn’t communicated with him a very long time and no one knows where he is. He is a Vietnam veteran, and it sounds like the war did a number on him, post-combat. This is in fact a primary reason he and Lori chose to put me up for adoption, and soon afterward, divorce.

But I am now a Facebook friend to his sister, another lovely birth-aunt. She has given me some much-appreciated information about their family’s heritage and medical background. For instance, (drum roll please) my ancestors were very much IRISH! I just knew it. You only have to look at my blue-eyed, red-haired, freckly son Dorsey to see that there must be some luck-of-the-Irish in the blood, and now we know. In fact, my birth great-great-grandmother was from County Clare, Ireland, on the west coast, and married a fellow Irishman, a man whose last name (the same last name I would have had had I not been adopted) now adorns many spots in his Ireland hometown, not the least of which is a book shop. Now my husband and I are in the process of planning a trip to Ireland with the kids for the summer, completing a large and stretchy circle that began back in the 19th century. Isn’t it amazing how life really can be as magical as an Irish fairy tale?

Some autobiography in my book Chasing Eternity

July 22nd, 2012

I haven’t yet mentioned the fact that there are some significant autobiographical elements in my e-book, Chasing Eternity. I have been holding out, mainly because I recently connected with my birth mother, and I didn’t want to write anything here that might concern her! She is, I believe, currently reading Chasing Eternity, and she has likely figured out how I came upon the idea of a character who was adopted at birth and knows nothing of his background, which compels his overwhelming interest in the magic of genetics and the mysteries of aging.

At the time I wrote Chasing Eternity, I too was an adopted child from birth, and had no real information about my ancestral or genetic background. I was a happy person in general, but I always felt pieces of my puzzle were missing. This  blank slate was, I thought, a perfect canvas for creating my geneticist character Ryan. He too wished that he knew more about himself–where he came from, who he really was genetically. As much as the field of genetics intrigued him, he knew nothing about his own genetic makeup! A perfect set-up for dramatic tension, I thought.

I find it kind of strange that now I know much more about myself than when I wrote the book. (See previous blog entries for more info!) Most of the maternal pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place, and I am very grateful. There is a peace, a settling, a connection inside me now, where before there were shadows and closed doors. But if I’d have know all that I now know before I wrote the book, I doubt that the angst inside me would have propelled me to write the character of Ryan so convincingly.

I’d love to know what you think! Chasing Eternity is now available on Amazon, B&, Kobo and iBooks for $2.99! Happy summer e-reading!

Excerpt from Chasing Eternity on my website!

June 11th, 2012

Now that I have TWO published novels, I thought it was a good time to upgrade the website to accomodate my growing repertoire. My website was designed by Brian Landis of Richmond-based The Hatchery back in 2009, when my first novel, The Outer Banks House, was in production at Crown. He had done fellow author Dean King’s website, which I drooled over every time I clicked on it, so he was my first choice. And come to find out, he plays and sings in the band Lorem Ipsum and likes Radiohead even more than I do. It was a perfect fit.

No surprises, I absolutely loved the look of the site–seagulls, blue sky, simplicity!–and all of the cool things it could do. Then when I wanted to start a blog, he helped me get it going through the website. So of course I went to Brian when I wanted to add my ebook Chasing Eternity  to it. Thank you Brian for all of your technical and visual powers! You’re like a super-hero for website designers. I might have to buy you your own white cape with your little egg and exclamation mark on the back.

You’ll have to click over to Works section to be able to read the excerpt from Chapter 10…I think you’ll find it intriguing since it deals with really old grave markers in an ancient Irish cemetery that indicate that one of the buried lived for a few decades past the age of 100! Don’t you just love supercentenarians?? I find them magical, as you’ll find when reading the book. Like hobbits, or dragons, or vampires…my elderly characters possess the element of fantasy about them, making them perfect subjects for transportive summer reading.

You can download the book on Amazon, B&, iBooks, and Kobo today for the low price of $2.99! Cheers to summer and squinting at our ereaders on the beach! Enjoy!

Here is the cover of my e-book, Chasing Eternity!

May 31st, 2012

I think the cover of my upcoming e-book, Chasing Eternity, is truly beautiful! What do you think?

Gorgeous Irish lassie on the cover of my e-book!

May 29th, 2012

I just approved the cover of my e-book, Chasing Eternity! It features a red-headed young woman in a green sleeveless dress, looking out on Irish-type cliffs and blue sea. You can’t see what the woman’s face looks like, but she looks just gorgeous from the back. I think she looks just like my character Aisling, without her thick, wool sweater of course. And she looks like just the kind of woman who has unbelievable longevity in her blood, the kind of woman that can even peak the interest of an ambitious American geneticist! Well done, Diversion Publishing graphic artist! It was exactly what I had in mind.

 I wanted to show you the cover here on my blog and on my website, but I have to wait for the high-resolution photos to be sent to me. Any day now though! My editor is still shooting for a July release date for the e-book, but if anything changes, I will let you know!

I’m going to have an eBook!

April 29th, 2012

I’m so excited…I signed a contract with Diversion Books this week for my upcoming ebook Chasing Eternity! It’s my second novel, but it isn’t a thing like my first novel, the historical fiction novel The Outer Banks House. It’s set in the present day, on a remote island off the western coast of Ireland, and it’s about genetics, longevity and really, really old people! Here is a plot synopsis:

In his quest to increase lifespan and fight age-related diseases, longevity researcher Ryan Abernathy travels to an isolated island off the western coast of Ireland to meet with two elderly twin sisters, whose DNA holds potential for his research, but he is distracted by a beautiful storyteller and her tales of an old island clan, once comprised of the world’s oldest people.

Genetics doctoral student and longevity researcher Ryan Abernathy restricts his calories and his social life; he is terrified of death, but his life, governed by study and exercise, is hollow. The longevity study that he works for receives a tip from an Irish doctor regarding two elderly twin sisters, Cleona and Catherine Owen, who live on a remote island off the western coast ofIreland. Ryan volunteers to investigate, hoping to get DNA samples from the women.

On the island, Ryan meets Cleona’s beautiful yet child-like great-granddaughter, Aisling, who cares for the elderly women but is able to offer Ryan no official age documentation for them. Aisling, lonely for companionship and exhausted from the care-taking of the sick women, draws Ryan into her world by telling him a story that she learned when she was young: that she and her relatives are the final known descendants of an old island clan that, through thousands of years of inbreeding and isolation, managed to achieve remarkable longevity. Ryan doesn’t believe Aisling, but by asking questions of the bar man at the local pub and by stumbling across a time-worn gravestone in the old cemetery, he becomes more curious about the unusual family. As his curiosity increases, so does that of sick Irish nun Sister Ignatius, who believes that she recognizes Catherine as a nun who disappeared from her convent sixty years ago. Both scientist and nun must grapple with their own beliefs in order to determine the truth about the people, both past and present, of the Celtic island.

I hope that sounds intriguing to you! My agent Byrd Leavell loved the manuscript when I first sent it to him over 2 years ago. I edited it a bit for him, then he sent it out to around 12 big publishing houses. It got a little look from Harper Collins and some valuable constructive criticism, but in the end, it got passed on by all. Bummer! So in my computer it sat for 2 lonely years until my agent inquired if I would want to try to sell it as an ebook. Scott Waxman, who founded the Waxman Literary Agency, started up Diversion a couple of years ago as a way of producing, selling and marketing quality ebooks. Check out the website at Mark Cuban is a client! So Byrd passed Chasing Eternity to Mary Cummings, the editor there, and I soon found out that my dusty little novel would be published as an ebook, hopefully in July! I will keep everyone posted on its developments as they happen…but in the meantime, fire up those ereaders!