The Story Behind The Story

What started out as a hypnotherapy session with the ‘dreadlocks guy’ from the local five-a-side football team, quickly turned into so much more…


It’s not your typical ‘meet cute’, but this is how my debut novel, The Heirloom, starts out.  Set in my hometown of Galway, it follows the story of Amanda, a young woman whose cynical outlook on life has her stuck in a job she is neither qualified for nor interested in and in a relationship which is entirely conducted in hotel rooms.  With a married man.  With two kids.

Xavier, an unemployed philologist (yes, philologist), finds himself literally drifting on the ocean as an impromptu member of a global yacht race.  Destiny brings him ashore on the West Coast of Ireland and straight into the path of Amanda, whose dreams of drowning are becoming unnervingly real.

What ensues is a story of contemporary love, historical mysteries and the struggle to find one’s true path in life.

The Heirloom opens with lines from a poem by Lucian Blaga:-

They say that ancestors, dead before their time,
with young blood still in their veins,
with great passion in their blood,
with the sun still burning in their blood
come to continue to live
within us
their unfinished lives.

These lines hold the seed of the entire novel… is it possible that we carry within us, a soul from another time?  I’ve often wondered why I have such an affinity with things or places, even languages I’ve never spoken.  Where does that desire come from?  Or that feeling of arriving home when you visit a place you’ve never been?  Are we holding onto fears and maybe even love, from another life?  And what if those memories could be accessed through a talisman, or an heirloom…

I loved telling this story.  Juxtaposing the historical aspects alongside a contemporary narrative was a challenge I relished and I loved exploring the idea of finding tangible connections with the past.  If you like authors like Kate Mosse, Rachel Hore, Diana Gabaldon or Kate Morton, with a healthy portion of Irish wit thrown in, this book is for you!

I feel so fortunate that this book is having something of a second wind in the Amazon charts and just goes to show, people can discover your book at any time.  The Heirloom might just achieve immortality yet!

Click below for a free preview…


heirloom reviews

Could Saint Valentine be a little bit Irish?


Okay, I wasn’t sure about this story either, but it’s true, I swear!  While Saint Valentine might not be Irish exactly, his remains (or at least some of them) are buried in a small chapel in Dublin, called Whitefriar Street Church.  So if you’re in the neighbourhood this weekend, you might want to stop by and visit the man who started this whole crazy hearts and flowers racket.  But how did his remains end up in Ireland I hear you ask?

In 1835 an Irish Carmelite by the name of John Spratt was visiting Rome. Apparently his fame as a preacher had gone before him, and the elite of Rome flocked to hear him. In return, he received many tokens of esteem from the doyens of the Church. One such token came from Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) and were the remains of Saint Valentine.

The patron saint of lovers, it is said he secretly married couples who, presumably wanted to be married. At the time, the Roman Emperor Claudius wasn’t really feeling the love for the Christians, and our hero ended up in jail.  And according to legend, St. Valentine signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and healed from blindness. They still cut off his head though, so I suppose no good deed goes unpunished. And that’s why today we still try our best to be romantic, even if it will all end in disaster. Or something.

On the other hand, if it’s chocolate, champagne and châteaux you’re after, why not pick up a copy of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, which is now on special offer at 99 cents.  Or if you prefer an historical epic of love through the ages, The Heirloom is for you.


And now for the original (and still the best in my opinion) the sweet, sad and soulful voice of Chet Baker.

Happy Valentines Day 🙂