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Guest: Caroline Clemmons

ROMANCING HISTORY

History is not merely dry facts and dates. History is people involved in romance, creating adventures, meeting danger, surviving heartbreak, and overcoming obstacles. Properly written, historical romance makes history come alive while giving the reader a heartwarming or edge-of-the-seat suspenseful romance. Not dry facts. For instance, if I spent time going on and on explaining about the potato famine of 1842-45, the numbers who died of starvation, the numbers who emigrated to the U.S., you’d soon be yawning. But if you read how some people, although fictional, reacted to the unexplained potato blight in their remote community, perhaps history will come alive for you. Let me share the prologue of my time travel, OUT OF THE BLUE, to be released June 4th as a Faery Rose selection from The Wild Rose Press:

Ireland, 1845

Deirdre Dougherty crept from the brush twenty yards behind her cottage. Gray clouds hid the sun. Tufts of fog drifted close to the ground, but too thin to hide her.

Hurry.

Careful.
Don’t make a sound.

Icy fingers of fear squeezed around her heart. Breath froze in her chest. She forced herself to exhale and move toward the road. Toward safety, escape, and freedom.

“There she goes!”

She recognized Eogan’s loud yell. Merciful heavens, they’d spotted her. She broke into a run. Eogan’s long legs put him in the lead of those who gave chase.

She pleaded, “Saints Brigit and Brendan, give me strength.”

“Stop, witch!”

Foolish people. If only Deirdre were a witch, she could fly far away.

She changed direction and climbed over a low stone fence. Clutching her precious carryall to her body, she ran across the field.

Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe.

Gasping, she pressed her hand against the pain in her chest and kept running. A rock hit her back and she stumbled, regained her balance, and glanced behind her. Flames and smoke billowed from her cottage. She had nowhere to hide, no hope of help. No one would stand up for her against her life-long tormentor Eogan Balor and his mob.

Eogan, the bully, picked up another rock and hurled it. It thudded against her shoulder, but she didn’t stop.  Her carryall’s weight slowed her, but she refused to leave it behind. Already too much had been lost.

Escape. Run. Escape. Don’t fall. Escape.

But where to go? They’d blocked her from all sides. Eogan was gaining on her. Only one route remained.

The cliff.

She reached land’s end and teetered on the rim. Ma had insisted Deirdre learn to swim, but she’d never dived so far. She feared breaking her body against the jagged cliff face before she reached the water. No doubt underwater rocks waited to batter her. An undertow might swirl her away.

But the mob was gaining on her.

No choice.

Jump.

“Blessed Saints, I need your help as never before.”

She looked back once again. A large rock struck her forehead and she fell, almost sliding over the edge.

Scrambling to her feet, she backed up a few yards to gather momentum for her jump.

Eogan held a large rock in one giant fist and reached for her with the other. He grabbed her arm in a crushing grip. She whirled and poked his eyes with her free hand, gouging deep.

Screaming in pain, he released her and covered his eyes. “You’ll pay for that, witch.”

But Deirdre wouldn’t let him catch her again. She dug in her heels to launch. “Saints Brigit and Brendan, I beg you. Deliver me into the arms of your love.”

For a few seconds her giant leap propelled her forward. Briefly, she experienced the elation of freedom, almost as if she really could fly.

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7 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what an opening Caroline! Love it!

    I agree about the history, btw. I think we’d all remember it and enjoy it a lot more if it was presented as people, and the numbers in context. Not just “tuberculosis killed 20 million people” but “Tuberculosis killed 20 million people, roughly twice the current population of New York City, and was one of the reasons people went West, hoping drier air would “cure” the disease. In a small way we may owe the settling of the Western U.S. to a disease.” Something like that.

  2. Denise Eagan says:

    Sorry, that comment was from me. I wasn’t signed in.

    Do love the idea of a book about the Irish Famine. Don’t know why we don’t have more on that. It was so traumatic and made such a difference in the history of the U.S.

  3. Great opening Caroline!

    I remember my grandmother’s cousins sometimes mentioning “the great famine”, it was before their time but they still remembered the stories they were told as children–and why their families came to America.

    Can’t wait to read this one!

    Nic

  4. Great excerpt, Caroline!!

    I agree that history is best experienced through novels.

    Love time travels! Can’t wait to read this one!!

  5. You certainly know how to grab a reader’s attention with this story. I love to have the history sprinkled throughout the stories. It makes them real and makes learning fun.

  6. carolyndee says:

    Thanks for your comments.

    Caroline

  7. Jeanmarie says:

    Carolyn,
    I love the beginning of this book. It’s so vivid I can hardly wait to read it. 🙂

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