The O’Donovan Saga: Tales of 19th Century Ireland & America

One of the greatest joys for me since stepping into the publishing world, has been the opportunity to meet and befriend fellow authors, particularly those who write historical fiction. So I am delighted this evening to host Irish-American author, Patricia Hopper Patteson. Earlier this year, Patricia and I met for the first time, face-to-face, on one of her trips home to Dublin. I also had the opportunity to attend Patricia’s Irish book launch for Corrib Red.

Patricia_patteson 300 pixalsPatricia is originally from Dublin and now resides in West Virginia. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. from West Virginia University (WVU) and has received honors from WVU such as the Waitman Barbe Creative Writing Award and the Virginia Butts Sturm Award. She received numerous awards from the West Virginia Writers’ competition. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, reviews, and anthologies. Her debut historical novel Kilpara was published in May 2015. Corrib Red, a sequel in the family saga was released in March 2017.

Patricia, I’d love to hear more about your inspiration for the O’Donovan Saga.

I first started the nineteenth century O’Donovan saga expecting only to write one novel and pour all my energy about emigration, family, and history, both Irish and American, into that novel. Instead of just one novel, the story turned into a family saga and a trilogy. I have finished and published the first two novels in the series, Kilpara and Corrib Red, and I’m working on the third. Kilpara, the first in the trilogy, begins in Maryland in 1866 right after the American Civil War. It’s a story about a returning emigrant. The premise of the story is to give those forgotten emigrants a voice. Many Irish immigrants faced situations in America that were no better, and sometimes worse, than the ones they left behind. Their disappointment left them homesick for the family and country they were forced to leave.

KilKilpara_Coverpara is a complete story in itself. But somehow I couldn’t leave it there and Corrib Red, the second novel in the series, takes place a generation later. While Kilpara embodies both the US and Ireland, Corrib Red takes place in Ireland. However, in Corrib Red, one of the characters must make the choice if his/her future belongs in the US. The story is told from the point of view of Grace; the youngest of two sisters. Even though Kilpara is located in the West of Ireland, one of the hardest hit places by poverty in the nineteenth century, Kilpara is a bit of an oasis in those troubled times. Mostly due to Ellis O’Donovan’s efficient handling of the estate.


Corrib Red -50%

Corrib Red begins when Deirdre arrives home after a year abroad at art school in Switzerland. Sixteen year old Grace is befuddled when her sister returns listless and despondent instead of brimming with adventurous stories, newfound friends, and handsome men. At the same time Grace is becoming an attractive young woman and would-be suitors begin to occupy her thoughts and color her dreams. Romantic intrigue and convoluted relationships begin to evolve, and a tangled web of conspiracy and manipulation wraps itself around Grace and Deirdre as difficult choices loom ahead.

One of the features I added for Corrib Red was a book trailer, now on YouTube Depending on your budget, and if you’re lucky like me to have talented family to help, you can produce a trailer that gives readers a glimpse of what your story is about. Corrib Red was a family effort. My son-in-law, Andrew, likes to dabble in electronics and has the equipment to put the video together. My gran-niece took the part of Grace and my daughter took the part of Deirdre, the two main characters in the novel. Even though Kilpara is meant to be on Lough Corrib in Galway, we videotaped around Howth castle and Howth Head, and down around Portmarnack. We rented the costumes from the Abbey Theatre and were very fortunate the weather cooperated. That can be a bit of a disadvantage too because everyone was out enjoying the good weather and we had to be careful not to get other people in our shots. And we had to move our caravan of brothers, sisters, sister-in-law, parents and the main players between locations. Everyone played a role in quickly setting up for the scenes and moving on to the next location, so it was a cumulative sense of pride when the footage met our requirements to do the trailer. When we returned to the States my son-in-law sifted through musical themes until he found the right atmospheric music. He added this to narrative I provided and we had a book trailer. I’ve mostly promoted the trailer on my website  It’s a nice feature to have at book-signings and book launches. I showed it at my book launch in Dublin, and it helped sell the book. It’s also nice to have at book festivals and any place you can set up your laptop. It gets people curious. My costs were minimal and I enjoyed doing it for the fun of making it a family event.


Patricia, thanks so much for telling us about your work. If anyone would like to find out more about Patricia and her books, please check out the links below.




You Tube:




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