I have news to share. I'm going to visit Skibbereen this summer. That's the town in Ireland where the main character in my "Rose Of Skibbereen" novel comes from. It's a little town in County Cork, and it happens to be where my great grandmother was born. She left Skibbereen in 1880 and eventually lost contact with her family back in Ireland. I did some family history research on Ancestry.com a year ago and found some very interesting facts about my great grandmother to go along with the family stories my mother told me. I was amazed at how much history I was able to find, and I even made contact with people from the area who had a connection to the family.
The whole thing inspired me to write the "Rose Of Skibbereen" novel, actually to write a series of novels about a fictional family that is somewhat like mine. I'm hard at work on the second novel in the series, and I'm very excited to be able to see the country that I've visualized in my mind to this point. I did a lot of research before writing the first novel, but there's still nothing like visiting a place to get a proper feel for it.
I can't wait to see the actual farmhouse where my great-grandmother grew up, the fields she worked in, the church she worshiped in and the town she walked in. There are no more direct descendents of her line living in Ireland, but there are some distant cousins I can talk to. It promises to be quite an interesting trip. I will be sure to post updates here and pictures when I get back.
In the meantime, you can read the first book in my "Rose Of Skibbereen" series here. I should have the second one available by the end of June. It's been great fun writing this story, and I can't believe the many twists and turns it is taking, and the characters I'm meeting along the way.