A Tale of the Antrim Cycle
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sunday Morning Publishing
Date of Publication: March 1, 2015
Number of pages: 277
Word Count: 96,003
Cover Artist: N.W.Moors
Taisie MacDonnell loves Celtic music and when a traditional Irish group moves to her small town of Antrim, Maine, she's thrilled. She has no idea that becoming involved with Conn McLaren, the handsome pipe player will enmesh her in magic, a centuries-old enchantment and pursuit by the Fae.
This is a modern retelling of the Irish story "The Children of Lir".
Each book in the series can be read as a standalone.
“Maybe I should put some lime green color on the other side, to contrast with the magenta.” Nola had pulled the rear view mirror over to the passenger side, her long black hair pulled down in front of her face. She was peeking through the strands over her eyes, studying herself in the dim light of the dashboard.
She tilted her head to the side, then pulled hair from each side of her head and held it out in front of her. The hair on the right side of her head had swathes of purple. “What do you think?” she asked, studying him from under her hair.
Owen had been driving the van for five hours without any breaks. The way from Montreal was mostly highway, but once he crossed into the United States, he was on two lane roads that climbed up and down mountains and were lined by thick brush and trees, occasionally marked by small towns and farms. He was mostly following the white line marking the middle of the road at this point, just trying to make it to his destination, and wasn’t paying all that much attention to what Nola was saying to him.
Nola squinted and frowned at Owen, then tried again. “Hmm, I wonder if I cut my hair like Finn’s….” This time she got his attention. He looked over at her, just in time to catch the grin as she swept her hair back behind her ears.
“I don’t believe it would look as good on you as that haircut does on Finn, but, hey, if it’s what you want, go for it,” Owen played along. Nola grunted and pushed the rear view mirror back over to an approximation of where it should be.
Owen reached up and positioned the mirror in place again. He used it to look in the back seat to where Finn sat, headset in his ears, listening to his iPod, his head bouncing to the music. His hair was a mess of colors and stuck up in short spikes. While it was a hairstyle that worked for Finn, Nola would definitely not be cutting her hair like her brother, not if Owen had anything to say about it. He liked her hair long and silky way too much.
There was a street light blinking up ahead and Owen braked, gradually slowing the van. They were approaching another small town or maybe it was just a crossroads. This one looked like it was a gas station combined with a dilapidated general store. Owen glanced down at the dashboard. There was about half a tank of gasoline left according to the gauge. And it was a good thing he didn’t need gas because the station was closed up tight. No one seemed to be around, just a dim light in the store and a crooked “Closed” sign on the front door. The only thing in the parking lot was a rusty pickup truck, parked over on the edge of the asphalt. He wheeled in anyway and stopped the van in front of the pump.
“I need to stretch a minute,” he announced and turned off the key.
Heads popped up in the back seat. “What are we doing?” said Finn who couldn’t hear Owen over the music from his iPod. Conn, who was sitting next to his twin in the middle seat, pulled his earphones off, mussing his long hair, and waited patiently, looking around the dimly lit parking area. He had been working on his laptop, probably on an arrangement for one of their songs, Owen guessed. There was no sign of Hugh who had been stretched out sleeping in the bench seat in the very back of the van.
“I need to get out and walk around a little,” Owen restated. “And I want to check the trailer.” Nola had already opened her door and was standing on the pavement, stretching her arms over her head, getting the kinks out of her back.
Owen got out, headed around the back of the building and stepped back into the trees. He was joined by the rest of the lads, Hugh wandering back last. He must have woken up with the slamming of the doors. It had been a long ride with no stops and Owen had drunk at least three cups of coffee out of the thermos jug that Nola kept in the front seat for him.
Once they had finished their business, Conn and Owen went back out front to check on the trailer. Owen crouched down and looked under the frame while Conn pushed on the tires. The rig looked fine. The trailer wasn’t very heavy, loaded mostly with sound equipment and camping supplies. Their instruments and personal items were in the way back of the van. Nola wandered out from the other side of the garage where she had gone to find a bit of privacy away from the guys.
“How much further is it to the pub?” Conn asked.
“I think that we have a couple more hours to go. It’s going to be late when we get there,” Owen answered. Nola came over and wrapped her arms around Owen’s waist, snuggling under the denim jean jacket he wore. He stood there, resting his chin on her head, while she rubbed the lower part of his back, pulling up his tee shirt to get at his stiff muscles.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes or a musician.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I considered myself a writer when I first finished my book. It was the completion, getting it done, that made me feel like a real writer.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I sent it to a few publishers, but they weren’t interested, so I self-published.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I’m retired now, but for many years I worked in IT, doing coding and analysis.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Black Swans – it is the story of a young woman who meets an Irish musician hiding a secret curse from an ancient legend and helps him break it.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I self-publish under Sunday Morning Publishing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
6 months to a year.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I have at least 4 more books in the Antrim Cycle planned. I am also working on a Regency romance.
What genre would you place your books into?
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I started it as a fantasy and realized that it was also a paranormal romance. While Conn is not the usual Alpha werewolf, he is a shapeshifter.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Both Conn and Taisie are my favorites. They are so compatible and yet are different from each other.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve written for a long time as I’m also a major reader and often been inspired by what I’ve read. I’ve mostly kept it to myself with the exception of some fan fiction until now.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I definitely listen to music, mostly Celtic, but also folk, bluegrass, alternative bands like the Avett Brothers, and some classical.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, I love to see what the readers think. They’ve made some good points and the reviews also encourage me.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
For most of the book the working title was The Heapstown Cairn, but I changed it to The Black Swans by the end. While the Heapstown Cairn plays a role in reversing the curse, I felt it was too dark for the story. The Black Swans is also the name of the Irish band that Conn plays in and it made more sense.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Antrim, Maine is based on the Oxford Hills of western Maine. While I’ve changed some of the place names, you can visit most of the places in the book. The characters names mostly come from my own family tree with a few exceptions.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
It’s a symbiosis of both. I know the places and people that I’m going to use in the story and pick the names at the same time.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
It’s probably more as I go along. The story seems to tell me how a character is going to react or behave.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Love conquers all.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I don’t have a preference, although I love my ereader when I travel since I can have a variety of books at hand.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Persuasion by Jane Austen. I’ve read it several times and I’ve seen all the TV adaptions.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Generally, I think they transfer well, especially if the casting is done right. Right now I’m loving Outlander.
Your favorite food is?
Your favorite singer/group is?
Kate Rusby, a singer from Yorkshire
Your favorite color is?
Coral or peach
Your favorite Author is?
Classic is Jane Austen, Contemporary is Grace Burrowes or Anne Bishop
N.W. Moors lives in Portland, Maine, land of lobster and pine trees. She is a voracious reader and avid traveler. She loves visiting Great Britain and Ireland especially. Researching trips meant that she tries to learn as much about the area as possible and uses those tidbits in her books. She enjoys interacting with readers.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/blackswansantrim