I have a treat for everyone one today, I am lucky enough to be interviewing Ms Sharon Donovan a lady who should inspire us all being blind cannot be easy but to be an author as well is just amazing.
Hello Sharon and welcome to Coffee Time Romance and More. You captured a soft spot in me with your book. I love Ireland, I was born there but we left when I was about six weeks old and I haven’t been back since. One day I will.
Hi Hollie, Thanks for interviewing me! I guess being so young when you left your homeland, you wouldn’t remember anything about Ireland. It’s such a whimsical land, full of legend and lore, the perfect setting for a romance book. I hope you have the chance to go some day. You won’t be sorry; it’s a trip of a life time.
Maybe next year we are doing Scotland again this year but not until October.
Can you introduce us to your hero in The Claddagh Ring?
The hero of The Claddagh Ring is Rork McGuire. He’s ruggedly handsome, sings Celtic music straight from the soul, and has a wicked sense of humor. He’s incredibly mischievous and very upbeat. Rork is also a very talented and gifted musician, and can play the heather harp like a fallen angel. He speaks his mind, no matter what. You always know what he’s thinking because the words roll off his tongue in spades. And he gets away with it…until he meets the feisty Meghan Shannon O’Malley at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
With his Irish heritage, Rork is no stranger to The Claddagh Ring and its mystical powers. And being a hopeless romantic, Rork believes in the magic bestowed in the ring. And when he sees Meghan tending bar while he’s singing at her waterfront cafe, he falls head over heels after just one look. He wants nothing more than to give her his heart. But Rork has a deep secret, something he covers with his charming façade. But before the Claddagh Ring can work its magic, Rork’s dark secret must come out.
Do any of your characters represent people you know or have met even indirectly?
Funny you should ask. The heroine of The Claddagh Ring took on the personality of a friend. I attended a writing workshop where the speaker suggested using friends and acquaintances as role models for characters. By using the dialect and dialogue of real people, it’s amazing how characters come to life on a page. And while Meghan Shannon O’Malley has flaming red hair and a fresh freckled face, her personality strongly resembles a friend. She is high spirited, fiercely determined, and stubborn as the day is long. But she is deeply emotional with strong ties and a sense of commitment.
And because of a promise Meghan made to her mother on her death bed, to carry on with her prayer chain at her church, Meghan does so. But her heart isn’t in it. The prayer chain was her mother’s mission, not hers. The night Meghan’s mother died, she left her Claddagh Ring to her daughter, promising by wearing it, everything would come full circle. The Claddagh consists of two hands holding a heart and a crown. The heart is for love, the hands for friendship, and the crown for loyalty. And according to the magic bestowed in the ring, the wearer will find eternal love and friendship. And when Meghan loses herself in pools of midnight blue when she meets Rork, the heart on her ring becomes as hot as molten glass.
Why did you pick Ireland? Is there any special reason?
Although Rork lives in Ireland, County Clare, Meghan is from Chicago’s waterfront. But as the story unfolds and Meghan learns Rork’s deep dark secret, she flies to the heathery hills of Ireland and the second half of the book takes place in the Emerald Isle. There are a few reasons why I wanted to use Ireland as a setting. First of all, I have Irish blood running through my veins, on my dad’s side. My mother is Polish. But I seemed to have inherited the Irish ways, including spinning a tale from time to time. Whimsical castles and fairy tale endings intrigue me, and I can never get enough legend and lore. St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays and I look forward to celebrating.
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland. And it is truly a land of enchantment, rich in culture and tradition. Castles loom high in the rolling green hills over rugged rocks and cliffs. And with sheep grazing high in misty mountains, it’s like stepping back in time.
Being part Irish, I was born with a superstitious nature. Totally awed by this land, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. Because I had the pleasure of touring the Atlantic Breakers and the Cliffs of Moher, part of my book takes place in County Clare.
The Atlantic Breakers pound the west coast of the county, sculpting the grey limestone into a myriad of shapes, the most notorious the Cliffs of Moher. A rich plethora of birdlife as puffins and shags dominate these rugged cliffs, adding to the savage grandeur. Beneath the rocks, the waves have spread a thin dusting of golden sand, said to be sprinkled by angel wings. Standing on these cliffs with the wind at my back and the sun on my face, I truly enjoyed writing The Claddagh Ring.
Which of the characters was the most difficult to write?
I can honestly say none of my characters gave me a hard time in The Claddagh Ring. Usually, it takes me an incredibly long time to find my character’s voice. They have been known to argue with me in my dreams, demand makeovers and trendier fashions, and you just wouldn’t believe how mouthy some get. But Meghan and Rork were so fun to create and work with, it was like a play going off without a hitch. They truly came to life on the page.
Rork is a musician is there a reason you picked that or was it random?
Rork had to be a musician. When I created the story, it was written for the St. Patrick’s Day theme at The Wild Rose Press. And since Celtic music is so much an Irish tradition, I knew Rork would sing and play a heather harp. I love Irish music and can never get enough of it. And not the brassy kind for celebrations, but the more classical, the whimsical. Danny Boy never fails to get me all misty-eyed.
What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?
Hmm. I don’t know if it is romantic in the true sense of the word, but there is something a man did for me that is hopelessly embedded in my memory. I am a type 1 diabetic and have been since the age of six. A doctor predicted I’d be blind by time I was twenty-five. His cruel words changed the entire course of my life, affecting every decision I made for years to come. His words haunted me, shadowed my every move. To escape, I began taking art lessons. Painting became my sanctuary, my haven. And as fate would have it, I had the initial bout of blindness in my early twenties. In the beginning, the sun was twice as bright and nights were twice as dark. When I began dating this guy, I wanted to be upfront with him in the event of not seeing a step or curb. On our first date, he took me to a romantic restaurant overlooking the city. That was very nice, but that memory came and went. What touched me were his words over dinner. “I went out and bought a book about the retina so I’d have some vague idea of what you’re going through.”
How important is readers opinions to you? Do you enjoy readers contacting you about your books?
Readers’ opinion is very important to me. I write for the pleasure of the reader. It’s an author’s job to entertain the reader and hearing from them is more emotionally rewarding than the monetary value. I love to hear from readers—it makes my day, truly. I can be reached by my email or visit my website
Readers can also sign up for my newsletter. And until St. Patrick’s Day, I am running a Claddagh Ring contest. Details are on my website. The prize is a Claddagh Ring. So if you believe in magic, don’t forget to enter. You can also see a trailer for The Claddagh Ring on my website.
What was your favourite book as a child? And why?
I absolutely loved Little Women. I read it again and again, never tiring of the old classic. And I’m pleased to say my sister and I have a collection of the original Madam Alexander dolls. I can still remember what a thrill it was to unwrap one as a birthday or Christmas gift.
Do you have any pet peeves in writing?
How long do you have? All kidding aside, I guess my biggest pet peeve is computer problems. I’m not all that computer savvy and when something gets lost in cyber space…or better yet disappears…it can be devastating. But I thank God for modern technology. Nine years ago, after one final and very traumatic eye surgery, I lost all remaining vision. But after a long and winding road, a new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting my pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words. I use a computer with adaptive software which converts text to synthesized speech. The disembodied voice that narrates my program speaks in a monotone voice, but I don’t mind. He’s a real trooper and never bugs me for a raise. I’d be lost without him.
What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I write romantic suspense with a twist of faith. While my first three books are inspirational, I also write suspense. Two of my suspense stories are currently under review, one about a serial killer and the other about an author being stalked by a fan. Then there is my memoir about my struggles with diabetic retinopathy and the loss of my vision. For a sneak preview, visit my website.
Thank you so much for giving your time to answer my questions is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much, Hollie for interviewing me. It was a pleasure. And from one Irish lass to the next, I’ll leave you with the Irish blessing.
May the blessings of St. Patrick behold you.
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
Walls for the wind,
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks beside the fire—
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!
That is beautiful thank you. And I hope you get the opportunity to visit us here in the British Isles again one day.