Friday, March 18, 2016

Traveling to Ireland -- Woohoo! (And Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

By Lisa Alber

Oh! I got confused this month. It feels like the second week of the month, not the third. Too bad, too, because, I was supposed to post yesterday, St. Patrick's Day, and my novels are set in Ireland ... So let's pretend it's still yesterday, OK?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I've been thinking a lot about Ireland lately, and not just because my novels are set there. I'm counting the days until I leave for a novel research trip next week. Woohoo! I'll be heading here:

I inserted the picture extra large so you can see -- see right up there, that little "Kilmoon"? That's where I'm going! It'll be my hub out of which I'll venture for novel research and sightseeing expeditions.

In case you didn't know this, my debut novel, aptly titled KILMOON, was inspired by this lovely early Christian church ruin. I loved this site. It spoke to me, and so a fictionalized version of Kilmoon Church appears in Kilmoon. It's a place where bad things have happened and where secrets fester. It's central to the plot, for sure.
It strikes me funny that Kilmoon appears on the maps because there's nothing there. Literally: nothing. Except Kilmoon Church and rock walls and sheep and cows and houses here and there -- and also the B&B I like to stay at.

Kilmoon is a couple of miles outside of Lisdoonvarna, which was my destination when I first traveled to Ireland. To be honest, when I chose the B&B for that first trip, I didn't know it was two miles outside of Lisdoon (as the locals call it). I thought it was in Lisdoon. But that turned out OK because I discovered Kilmoon Church, which is located just down the lane from the B&B. I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Serendipity at work!

Lisdoon's claim to fame is its annual matchmaking festival. This festival was also an inspiration for Kilmoon, and my protagonist Merrit's adventures as matchmaker-in-training continue in WHISPERS IN THE MIST (August!). At the moment she's a reluctant trainee. She's not sure what she got herself into when she arrived from California in the first novel.

Gotta say, it's fun writing a series. Reeeeally fun to get to know my characters and help them evolve and change and work through conflicts.

When I travel for novel research, odd things grab my attention. Like these silage bundles. They seemed like hibernating alien creatures or something. You never know when some oddball thing like silage bundles will insert their way into a story. Silage bundles like these appear in Whispers in the Mist, in fact, and play an important role.

My number one priority is to remain open. Explore and experience and hang out in pubs (hehe) talking to locals. I can. not. wait. to incite a heated pub debate about our presidential nominee race. Oooh boy, that should be a riot! On my last trip, I noticed that the Irish were 1) vocal in their opinions, 2) apt to think we're a bit nutty in this side of the pond when it comes to politics, and 3) canny in their ability to see through rhetoric and BS.

OK, enough of that. As I was saying, I need to experience Ireland, but I also have particular research topics that will hopefully include me visiting a police station, a hospital ICU, and an elder care facility. This is for Book #3, after Whispers. I'll also be unfurling research tentacles for Book #4. I have a glimmer of an idea that I hope to solidify.

I'll have so much to write about for next month's post! Slainte!

So, what comes to your mind when someone mentions Ireland? Have you been?


Anonymous said...

Your post encourages me to go to Ireland and read your series! Thanks to Tracy Weber for the initial post!

Lisa Alber said...

Hello, Anonymous -- thanks for visiting and commenting. :-) Hope you do make it to Ireland someday. It's just beautiful and there's so much to see.

Kirsten Weiss said...