AM: Question 1: Tell us about the character Dillon Carroll – who is he and where did he come from in your imagination?
CP: Oh, gee! I don’t know where Dillon came from. One day I had the inside of my head to myself, and the next day, there he was, unpacking his kit. Dillon is a celebrity journalist and political pundit who is in the latter part of a lengthy career, and whose routine becomes a rout after he encounters an American baby-boomer genealogist, camping at his ancestral farm in one of the Gaeilge-speaking areas of Ireland.
I’m what’s called a “pantser” writer, meaning that I don’t outline or “plot,” so everything that happened to Dillon was a complete surprise to me. He’s one of several characters in Irish Firebrands who carry some serious psychological baggage into relationships that can only get worse before they get better.
AM: Question 2: Your background is so varied and interesting – can you share an anecdote from your years in military intelligence?
CP: Yikes! Ask me an easy one. My last duty station was at the National Security Agency. Contrary to popular belief, NSA really isn’t very interested in little people like you and me. I worked in a large room with no windows, many desks, and a huge world map mounted on one long wall, which was covered with black draperies when anyone whose security clearance was inadequate needed to enter the room. My job had to do with drawing charts and graphs about submarine activity, using
colored pencils. The men who worked that desk would throw away the pencils when they were only half ground down, and when I would come on watch, I’d fish the pencils out of the burn bag in the waste basket, and take them home. By the time I got out of the service and started my family, I had a coffee can full of colored pencils that were just the right size for little kids to use: Spy pencils that got a new lease on life, decorating coloring books.
AM: I love that visual of the pencils getting a whole new life!
AM: Question 3: The Passions of Patriots sounds incredible – what can you tell us about that story you are developing? When can we expect in print?
CP: Oh, wow. Another hard one. The idea for The Passions of Patriots came from a scene in Chapter 30 of Irish Firebrands, when Dillon Carroll learns that his grandfather was in the British Army. The story is partly about Dillon’s paternal grandparents, and their struggles to survive the tumultuous years of the early 20th century, in Ireland and
in Europe. The other main character is a young Bavarian whom Dillon’s grandfather meets on the Western Front. I have most of the interpersonal stuff and about half of the First World War stuff roughed out, but I still have all of the Irish history part to do, so
I’m afraid it’s going to be a while yet, before it sees the light of day. (I write epic-length books.) But I’m almost ready to start a dedicated blog for The Passions of Patriots. Right now it’s piggybacking on the Irish Firebrands blog.
AM: Well I can speak for myself at least – can’t wait till you finish your latest epic venture. Thanks for stopping by Christine!