Author Interview: Pat McDermott


Welcome Readers, to another Author Interview! Today we are talking with Pat McDermott about history, writing and her books! 


JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Pat. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

PM-Thank you for welcoming me aboard, Jeanie. New England is home to my husband and me. We both grew up in Boston, though we’ve lived in New Hampshire for years. Great location, right near the seacoast, and the mountains are only a short drive north. When I’m not writing, my favorite activities include cooking, reading, gardening, and hiking. And I love to travel, especially to Ireland, though the pandemic has sadly curtailed travel lately. I also miss our weekly whist games with longtime friends. I can’t wait until we can shuffle the cards again. On that day, we’ll open champagne for sure! For now, my day is perfect if I have a good book, lots of tea, and a wonderful homemade dinner accompanied by a glass of great wine.


JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

PM-I could name several, though for now I’ll go with Ireland’s early medieval years. My childhood vision of Ireland was one of magic, legends, banshees and leprechauns, rebels, heroes, and ancient kings, especially High King Brian Boru, born around 941 AD. My late O’Brien aunts assured me that our family was royal, as King Brian gave his name to all the O’Briens. I didn’t believe them, of course, but curiosity led me to learn more about King Brian. I found more than one comment stating that if Brian Boru had survived the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 AD, Ireland would be a different place today. This idea fueled my first three books, The Band of Roses Trilogy, alternate histories in which King Brian’s descendants still grace a modern Irish throne.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

PM-With all due respect to King Brian, my favorite historical figure is Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s legendary Pirate Queen. This dynamic 16th century lady not only commanded the seas around Ireland, she also ruled her clan as chieftain and navigated her way through the prevailing politics of the day to challenge Tudor oppression. I would love to ask her what she thought when she met Queen Elizabeth I.

JMR- Many of your books blend ancient Irish myths, historical fiction and modern settings. How would you describe your writing?

PM-My writing is multi genre. My books, ten to date, are laced with Irish folklore and history, though no one has to know a thing about Irish history to enjoy them. The speculative fiction I’ve mentioned blends action/adventure, science fiction, and romance. My other books include a young adult adventure trilogy starring Ireland’s fairies, a contemporary romance trilogy inspired by traditional Irish music, and a ghost story set in 1912.

JMR- The Irish, compared to the British, have preserved a complex mythology full of Gods/Goddesses, ancient kings and fairies. Why do think that is? What or who is your favorite myth? What is your go to resource for research?

PM-The Christian religion was introduced in England with a more authoritarian hand than it was in Ireland, where St. Patrick and his contemporaries blended the new religion with the old rather than forbid it altogether. The missionaries in Ireland renamed pagan healing wells with the names of Christian saints; pagan festivals became holy days but were still observed. Hence, the Irish managed to preserve their ancient history in myth and music to the point where it’s hard to tell what’s fact and what’s legend. Were the fairies really an army of human invaders defeated in turn by the Celts when they arrived? Did St. Patrick really banish the snakes from Ireland, or was that a consequence of the Ice Age? And let’s not forget the lake monsters and leprechauns. I couldn’t choose a favorite myth. There are so many. As for my go to resource for research, I mentioned my late O’Brien aunts earlier. Over the years, they gathered one of the finest collections of antique Irish books this side of the Atlantic, and they let me borrow them freely. The books covered poetry, literature, music, ancient laws and customs, folklore, mythology, history, biography, politics, and current events. I’ve inherited most of that library, and I’ve also started my own collection of more modern writing. My biggest go to resource for research, however, is to “go to” Ireland. This is the first year I haven’t visited in nearly twenty years. I’m really missing it, but I do have all those books…

JMR- Pat, tell us about your new book, The Cherrywood Banjo.

PM-The Cherrywood Banjo is the third installment in my contemporary romance trilogy, set in Westport, County Mayo. The series begins with The Rosewood Whistle and The Bogwood Horse, stand-alone stories featuring the incomparable Connigan clan, whose members treat readers to “Music, Myth, Laughter, Love, and a Visit to the Pub.” In The Cherrywood Banjo, Connigan cousin Ronan Swanton, an Irish army veteran and a talented banjo player, comes home to Westport for Christmas. Ronan served with the UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon. He’s now tormented by mysterious PTSD issues. Only his banjo helps, until he meets Gabrielle Roy, an American photographer who’s visiting Ireland for the holidays. (I was fortunate to visit pre-pandemic Ireland in December, 2019 to view the holiday scenery. Research, of course.)

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

PM-I’m currently working with my writing group to compile an anthology of our short stories. I’ve also started another Band of Roses adventure, which will require tons of research. I look forward to that.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

PM-My website:
My Amazon Author Page:

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

PM-“Do you play music when you write?” I do indeed. From Bach to bluegrass, the right kind of music helps me to envision an action scene, a violent argument, or a tender romantic encounter. It also helps me to complete interview questions. Thanks again for inviting me to visit your lovely blog.

JMR- Thank you, Pat for stopping by the Books Delight and sharing your books with us. Readers, I have included a link, below, to Pat’s books. 


  1. Jean, I've enjoyed the interview and your kind hospitality today. Thank you so much!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts