Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Appeal of the Irishman by P.M. Terrell, author of 'The Tempest Murders'


Detective Ryan O’Clery has always had dreams of a beautiful woman he’d loved and lost but when he discovers his ancestor’s journals from his native Ireland, he realizes his dreams are really the other man’s memories. Now he is working a series of murders in North Carolina that are eerily similar to cases Rian Kelly was working when his soul mate was murdered during one of Ireland’s most horrific storms, in which the Atlantic Ocean swept over the island all the way to the Irish Sea. As Hurricane Irene barrels toward the North Carolina coastline, Ryan discovers the serial killer’s real target is a reporter who bears a striking resemblance to the woman of his dreams—a woman with whom Ryan O’Clery is falling deeply in love. Is history destined to repeat itself? Or can Ryan save Cathleen Reilly from a killer intent on destroying everything he ever loved? You can follow her blog at

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I’ve noticed something interesting since I introduced the characters of Dylan Maguire in my Black Swamp Mysteries series and Ryan O’Clery in The Tempest Murders. I can be talking about the books and my audience is listening politely, but as soon as I mention that they’re Irish, their eyes get wide and they don’t need to hear anything else. They want the books.

Just what is it about the Irish that we love so much?

Ancestors on both sides of my family were from Ireland. My father’s family was from what is now Northern Ireland, having arrived on America’s shores long before the Emerald Isle was divided into two countries. They all had jet black hair and vivid green eyes. My mother’s family, however, was filled with red-heads. It turned out that when the Vikings came south and raided Ireland, many of them remained and became more Irish than the Irish. It was the Vikings who brought the red hair to Ireland, so those towns and villages on the east coast were more likely to have red-heads since those were the landing sites of the Vikings. Those on the far west coast were more isolated and were more likely to have black or dark brown hair.

I learned from my mother that the Irish are a happy lot. “The luck of the Irish” is actually tongue-in-cheek because anyone who knows the Irish know they tend to have the worst luck of just about anybody. But they are incredibly resilient. They live in a country where it rains almost constantly and yet they’re the first to point out how green everything is, how fresh the air smells, and what a wonderful day they’re having. When I developed the character of Dylan Maguire, I gave him the personality of the happy Irishman; the one who is always ready for an ale and a laugh and a bit of craic (conversation). Conversation, as it turns out, is another character trait of the Irish. It’s said if you ever kiss the Blarney Stone, you’ll be given the gift of gab. But you won’t find many Irish kissing it, because if they did they might never shut up.

I learned from my father that the Irish can also be fierce defenders of their families and homes. Both Dylan Maguire and Ryan O’Clery are very strong, very capable and as it turns out, able to kill when the situation warrants it. They would both rather be passionately in love and having a romping good time but when CIA operative Dylan Maguire or Detective Ryan O’Clery are at work, they are all work. Physically fit and robust, no one could be more serious about keeping their families safe.

But let’s face it. One reason we love the Irish is because of their awesome accents. In a recent survey, the Scottish have the number 1 most admired accent in the world followed by the Irish and then the Australians. They have a lilt to their voices that make them easy to listen to; it’s sexy, it’s melodious and we just can’t get enough of it.

So tell me, what do you like most about an Irish character?


P.M. Terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 18 books in 4 genres. A full-time author since 2002, she previously opened and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her specialties were in the areas of computer crime and computer intelligence and her clients included the Secret Service, CIA and Department of Defense as well as local law enforcement. Computer and spy technology are two themes that recur throughout her books. She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation, whose mission is to raise awareness of the link between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. And she founded the annual Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair which takes place each February. She is also an animal advocate and helped to start the New Leash on Life program in which dogs destined for euthanasia are rescued and paired with prison inmates in Robeson County, North Carolina, who train them. The dogs are then adopted into loving homes.  

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