Xlibris Publishing introduces Anne Durand-Athy, author of Secrets of the Nire.
Please briefly describe your book:
Secrets of The Nire is a fictional novel set both in modern-day and thirteenth century Ireland. The book centers around the Athy Clan, an ancient, Irish family with a secret to protect. A secret that when revealed, will surely cause the House of Windsor to fear for their survival as the British Monarchy. Set in the beautiful country of Ireland, the Athy Family were the predominate Clan of The Tribes of Galway, some of the very first to settle on the Emerald Isle. Documentation dating all the way back to the Ninth Century, is presented in ‘Secrets of The Nire’ and tells the story of the rightful “Royal Family of The CELTIC Isles”, (the true name of the British Isles).
Who is the author “behind” the book?
Born, Robin Anne Johnston to Tom and Elaine Johnston from Santa Rosa, California, I took the pen name ‘Anne Athy’ for obvious reasons. Athy was my grandmother’s maiden name and the name of the family in which my novel is based. After the death of my mother, my brother presented me with a small, black binder filled with a plethora of information pertaining to the Athy Family heritage. Dating as far back as the tenth century, Clan Athy was one of the original members of the Fourteen Tribes of Galway. From the rich heritage and awe-inspiring pages of that small, black binder comes an unforgettable story of the Athy Family, past and present.
I am a musician, songwriter, vocalist and now, novelist. Raised by my WWII Veteran/Policeman father and ‘Rosie The Riveter’ mother who worked in Oakland, California for the WWII cause, I had a wonderful childhood, filled with stories of wartime, family heritage on both sides and interesting tales of an Irish Clan that piqued my interest in genealogy. But I had no idea just how interesting that heritage was until I read about the Athy Family in that little, black binder. My literary experience up until that point was several short stories and a few college essays. In high school, creative writing was my niche, where I felt most comfortable. That continued throughout my life, as I became a wife and mother, I continued to educate myself through online courses and even entered a few writing contests.
I am married to a retired military man and reside on the Southern Oregon Coast. I am the mother of three adult children and grandmother to five, as well as being active as a worship leader in my church where I currently serve, playing guitar, singing and song-writing.
I retired from teaching music in 2009.
Do you have any particular literary influences that have helped you develop in your genre, subject and style?
I adore Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James and many other writers. But my influence for Secrets of The Nire, came in the form of a little, black binder filled with my Grandmother Athy’s family history. I have no particular “influence” per se, when it comes to my writing style. Once an idea comes to me, I simply let the words pour out as they may and then edit later! That and a vivid imagination, make writing fairly fluent for me. Being a song writer for many years also lends a certain amount of foundation to my literary style.
What inspired you to write your book, and how long did it take you to finish it?
As I have already stated, the inspiration for my book, Secrets of The Nire, was a little, black binder chockful of ancestral history. But actually, traveling to Ireland and staying in several different areas of that beautiful, Emerald Isle, was the biggest influence, now that I think about it. As I traveled all over “Eire” and walked where my ancestors once lived, the premise for the story began to unfold. The characters began to jump off the pages of my family book and before I knew it, I was twelve chapters into a full-fledged fictional novel. I began to be drawn in to the historical aspects of the story and the research part piqued my devout interest even more. I spent two and a half months in Ireland and one day, while in Galway, I actually saw the castle where my ancestors lived, in person. I touched it’s walls and could almost hear their voices, harkening unto me a rich history and amazing story of an ancient family. My family. The process lasted two years, start to finish. Taking many breaks in the writing to research more.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
The ONE message? You’re asking a writer with a vivid imagination to pick ONE message? I guess then, that ONE message is to never give up. That may sound cliché but it is powerful. Because sometimes, the enormity of the novel itself and all the work it takes to produce a quality work, can be exhausting and overwhelming. You must determine to finish what you started, no matter how much you want to quit.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
Yes, Secrets of The Nire is most definitely a series. How many books is TBD. I am letting the story unfold naturally and my readers and myself will find out together, where the Nire leads us.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with Xlibris?
Thus far, seeing my book and illustrations come together and polished was amazing. The creative phase is great fun.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Let me reiterate here: I guess then, that ONE message is to never give up. That may sound cliché but it is powerful. Because sometimes, the enormity of the novel itself and all the work it takes to produce a quality work, can be exhausting and overwhelming. You must determine to finish what you started, no matter how much you want to quit. And I will add, trust your instincts and have confidence in your abilities. Do your very best….that’s all anyone can ask of you.
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