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Thursday, October 6, 2011

INDULGING OUR FANTASIES

19th Century cabin
One of the greatest things about writing is that authors are able to indulge their own fantasies. One of mine is that I would have loved living in the West during the last part of the 1800’s. Maybe! At least until the weather was severe and I had no central heat/air, no clean bathroom with running water, no antibiotics, and on and on. It’s a romantic time to consider, which is why I love writing romances set in the American West (probably much more than I would like returning to that time).

Maureen O'Hara
Another of my fantasies is that I wanted to look like the young Maureen O’Hara. More’s the pity, for I look nothing like her. But we’re talking about fantasies, right? This is why Cenora Rose O’Neill, the heroine of my 2010 western romance, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, strongly resembles Miss O’Hara in appearance. What authors can’t accomplish ourselves, we accomplish through our characters.


When the infamous 1845 Irish potato famine struck and millions in Ireland literally starved to death, there was a mass immigration of Irish into the United States. But the O’Neill family didn’t lose their land in the famine. They were turned off many years later by a spiteful landlord. Due to her lack of schooling, Cenora cannot read cursive and reads only a few words in print. Her father, Sean O’Neill, can read a newspaper (slowly), and has done all the reading for his family and their traveling companions. On the other hand, the McClintocks value education, and Dallas McClintock reads most evenings. This difference causes only one of the many conflicts that arise in the book.



Irish cottage
When forced off their plot of Irish land with only what they could carry, Cenora and her family fell in with a group of Irish Travelers. The Travelers, or tinkers, are not gypsies but are descended from medieval minstrels and poets who traveled Ireland telling myths and stories. In medieval times, the minstrels and poets were respected and learned. Many Irish families turned out of their homes drifted in with the traveling minstrels, eventually becoming the Irish Travelers--not so respected or learned. Travelers have their own language (cant), Sheldroo, which--amazingly enough--is linked by scholars to medieval language. They camped in fields at first. Later they acquired tents, then the colorful wagons that resemble gypsy wagons, such as the ones used in my novel. Like people everywhere, some Irish Travelers are good, some are bad. The same is true for those portrayed in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE.


Irish fields
The 19th and early 20th century Traveler wagons are unbelievably compact, and are brightly painted inside and out in red, blue and green with yellow pinstripes. Seeing them in several museums brought home the skill and functionality of these wagons. That describes the two wagons acquired by the O’Neills through their ability to play instruments while Cenora sings for crowds when they pass through towns. Unfortunately, Sean O’Neill’s only abilities are playing music and the gift of gab--not much to supply a family’s needs. His sons Finn and Mac trade ponies for a bit of extra coin and the family barely gets by. On the other hand, rancher Dallas McClintock has a strong work ethic and sense of honor. You can see more trouble looming, can’t you?
 In THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas McClintock, but she agrees to wed the handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. She believes a fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Williams.




Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who ever goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything—even when her wild, eccentric family nearly drives him crazy.


I hope you’ll read and enjoy THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. The gorgeous cover is one of my favorites. The buy link for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE is www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html in print and e-download, and it’s also available at Amazon and other online stores. My website is http://www.carolineclemmons.com/. Other books at The Wild Rose Press are the contemporary romance HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME, historical SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME, and paranormal time travel OUT OF THE BLUE. My backlist is now available on Smashwords and Amazon Kindle for 99 cents each, and so is my new mystery, ALMOST HOME.

7 comments:

Virginia C said...

Hi, Caroline! Maureen O'Hara is a favorite of mine. To me, she is the most beautiful of all the Hollywood ladies. She is outwardly lovely--that bone structure! Today, at age 80+, she is even more beautiful. However, I think her inner spirit shines through. She stands tall. She and John Wayne were a marvelous movie duo, and in real life, they were the greatest of friends. Their film, "The Quiet Man", is beyond classic--it's magic! If you and I both looked like Maureen, and we lived in the fabulous Old West, wouldn't we have had a grand time! Maybe we would each been romanced by a "Duke"--Duke Wayne, that is! You are such a wonderful storyteller : ) "The Texan's Irish Bride" looks gorgeous and sounds like a great romance read!

Susan Macatee said...

The Texans Irish Bride was a great story, Caroline!

After reading historical romances, I fantasized about traveling through time and living in the past. And after joining a Civil War reenactment group, that was the time period I most would want to visit.

That's why my first romance, a time travel, is set during the American Civil War. I used a lot of my own observances and reactions after spending the weekend in Civil War camp to my modern-day time traveling heroine.

derekd said...

I wonder if we could write fiction if we didn't indulge our fantasies? Scenes roll though my head like movies. After watching a compelling film, or reading a book that hooks me, I find myself daydreaming sometimes for weeks after, coming up with alternative storylines.

Virginia mentioned The Quiet Man. That is my favorite O'Hara movie also. Never ceases to entertain. Sounds like your Texan's Irish Bride is an entertaining story as well. Good luck with it.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I don't know what it is about your cover, maybe the colors, but I just love seeing it.

I stand on the fifth on revealing my fantasies. You'd get to know way too much about me. :)

We do have flush toilets up here in the mountains, but no heater or air conditioner. I guess living in these gorgeous trees was one of my fantasies and it's come true.

christicorbett said...

I LOVE Maureen O'Hara, especially in the movie "McLintock". She definitely held her own against John Wayne in that one!

Great post!

Christi Corbett

Jacquie Rogers said...

I just loved The Texan's Irish Bride! And I've always admired Maureen O'Hara, too. She's in the third Much Ado book--because no other actress could begin to fill that role other than Ms. O'Hara.

I guess what stirs my fantasies about the Old West is all the variables--people from all over the world came to make their fortunes. Most didn't. The ones who didn't, but managed to carve good lives for themselves intrigue me the most.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks so much for your comments. My husband and I have watched "The Quiet Man" so many times we know most of the dialogue. We also love "McClintock." When we were in Ireland once, we ate lunch at the B&B where Maureen O'Hara stayed during the filming of "The Quiet Man." I was thrilled even to see the place because of the connection to her.