Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Guest blog: Caroline Clemmons

I'm lucky to have one of my favorite romance authors back: Caroline Clemmons. I've asked her to talk a little bit about the research she's done for her books, and she happily obliged.


Top O’ The Morning To Ye! It may not be morning where you are, but the best to you no matter what time of day you’re here. The only place I love better than the United States is Ireland. Please let me introduce you to a few facts on Ireland and Irish-Americans before I tell you about my western historical, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE.

Irish-Americans have made considerable contributions in the United States from Charles Carroll III (the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence) to Andrew Jackson to Sandra Day O’Connor. My favorite is Maureen Fitzsimmons, whose name was shortened to O’Hara. (Maureen O’Hara holds dual citizenship with the United States and Ireland.) Irish-Americans fought in our wars from the American Revolution forward. In fact, John Coleman, an Irish sailor on Henry Hudson’s Half Moon was killed by Indians in 1609 at what is now Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

When the infamous potato famine struck and millions in Ireland literally starved, there was a mass immigration of Irish into the United States. Due to their poor education, they were looked down on by many. At the time, it was against the law for Irish to learn to read and write. Only the English could attend Irish schools. The Irish’s only education came from “hedgerow” schools in which someone would teach a small group of children behind a hedgerow by using a stick to draw on the ground. Anyone caught teaching Irish children to read and write was jailed.

What does this have to do with my romance novels? Thank you, I’m so glad you asked.

When I was researching for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, I became even more enthralled with Ireland and the Irish’s role in my home state, Texas. Because of the lack of schooling, the Irish heroine Cenora Rose O’Neill (who may look suspiciously like a young Maureen O’Hara) cannot read cursive and reads only a little in print. Hero Dallas McClintock reads most evenings and values education. This difference causes only one of the many conflicts that arise in the book. (Shameless attempt to coerce you to buy this book.)

Cenora and her family had fallen in with a group of Irish Traveler. The Travelers, or tinkers, are descended from medieval minstrels and poets who traveled Ireland telling myths and stories. At that time, they were respected and learned. Travelers have their own language/cant, Sheldroo, which is linked to a medieval language. At the time of Cromwell’s English occupation, many Irish families were turned out of their homes. Homeless Irish families drifted in with the traveling minstrels and eventually became the Irish Travelers. They camped in fields. Later they acquired tents, then the colorful wagons that resemble gypsy wagons, such as the ones used in my novel. I was fortunate enough to see a couple of these wagons in museums when my husband and I were in Ireland and Scotland. The wagons are unbelievably compact, and brightly painted inside and out.

In THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas McClintock, but she agrees to wed the handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. She believes a fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.

Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything—even when her wild, eccentric family drives crazy.

Here’s an excerpt from the wedding in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE:

Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.

Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.

No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.

Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?

I hope you’ll read and enjoy THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. I’ll donate a free PDF download to someone who comments here and tells me they’ve gone to my blog  to sign up for my Mostly Monthly Newsletter. The buy link for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE is . My other links are , Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon as Caroline Clemmons, and on Twitter as CarolinClemmons (no E in Caroline).

Thanks, Amy, for having me as your guest, today!

Caroline's Bio
Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. Her latest contemporary and historical romance releases in print and e-book include THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, OUT OF THE BLUE, a novella in the Civil War anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, and the upcoming HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME in July. Her novella SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is available as a download only. Her backlist of contemporary and historical romance is now at Smashwords and Kindle. Read about her at or her blog at  She loves to hear from readers at
It was my pleasure to have you here. I really enjoyed hearing a bit about the travelers. I'd read a few books that mentioned them and it was fun to learn a little background.

1 comment:

Sandra Crowley said...

Waving HI, Amy and Caroline. Always good to read your posts.