Many thanks to Donna Quinn of the Donegal Library Services for letting me know that “The Chronicles of Iona: Exile” was the most read book in Donegal Libraries in 2013.

It edged out J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”, Maeve Binchy’s “A Week in Winter”, both “Wolf Hall” and “Bringing up the Bodies” by my favorite novelist, Hilary Mantel, as well as the official Driver Theory Test.

http://www.donegallibrary.ie/news/topreads/

Now that we have successfully settled into our new home here in Belgium, and my study has been unpacked, I am back to work on Book 3 in the series, called “Island-Pilgrim”.

I have missed Aedan and Columba and am happily contriving more heartache for them to overcome … nor not …

More soon!

Posted by: pauladefougerolles | October 29, 2013

Check me out on Slam101fm.com in Barbados, today at 11 a.m. EST!

Check me out on Slam101fm.com in Barbados, today at 11 a.m. EST!

Friends:  Very excited to be interviewed this morning by DJ NV from Slam101fm.com in Barbados!  (You can hear a live podcast at the link above at 11.a.m. EST.)  We’ll be talking about my novel, “The Chronicles of Iona: Exile”.

I love Barbados.  It will actually feature in another historical-fiction series I’m working on.  

Lots of other news in the works as well, which I’ll blog about when I get a minute: Book 3 is coming along nicely, there’s a screenplay of Book 1 underway, and I’m moving to Belgium!

 

 

Michael Dresser Show

Tune in to the Michael Dresser Show, tomorrow, Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 5:31 p.m., for a live interview about my book, The Chronicles of Iona: Exile.

www.MichaelDresserShow.com or www.BlogTalkRadio.com/MichaelDresserShow 

SW-webheader-2012

Friends!  If you’re in Maine this week,  come check out the Saltwater Music Festival 2013 at Thomas Point Beach, Brunswick.  It’s a two-day event (July 20 and 21) showcasing the best in Celtic music. 

I’ll be in the literary tent as their 2013 Writer-in-Residence. 

There are a host of wonderful satellite events leading up to the festival.  (Check out the link above for the whole list.) 

I’ll be reading from my book The Chronicles of Iona: Exile at the CURTIS MEMORIAL LIBRARY, 23 Pleasant Street Brunswick, ME 04011, (207) 725-5242, on Thursday, July 18, at 6 p.m.

After the reading we’ll head over to BYRNES IRISH PUB, 16 Station Street Brunswick, ME 04011, for a social hour.

On Friday, July 19, I’ll do a book reading and signing at BOOTHBAY HARBOR MEMORIAL LIBRARY at 3 p.m.

Then, at 4 p.m., join us for A TASTE OF SALTWATER dinner reception with the Gothard Sisters and Kevin O’Hara hosted by the FISHERMAN’S WHARF INN, 22 Commercial Street, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538, (207) 633-5090.  

And then the festival itself on Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21.

Very happy to be here and hope you can join us!

(And now I see why it seems like the entire east coast of the U.S. heads up to Maine for July and August!  Beautiful!)

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Exile, the first book in my series The Chronicles of Iona, has won Silver Prize in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards in the category of historical fiction.

For the other winners, see: ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards 2012.

My thoughts have been eastward all day as the transnational One Book One Community Reading Project is officially launched in Derry.  Readers in Northern Ireland, Co. Donegal and New England will be reading “Exile”, the first book in my historical-fiction series “The Chronicles of Iona”, at the same time.  Donegal County Council and Libraries Northern Ireland set this up as a way to promote a common history—in this case the life and times of Colmcille, their shared 6th-century saint.  The fact that the endeavor is cross-border is particularly meaningful to me and, I know, to them.

Colmcille/Columba hails from Co. Donegal, and founded Doire/Derry/Londonderry, amongst other monasteries.  So, a true local hero.  As they have said, “Colmcille or Columba was born 1500 years ago in Gartan, Co. Donegal and yet his life and legacy is still remembered in both Scotland and Ireland.  His story spans the islands, the culture and the language.  Such is the influence of Colmcille on Irish, British and European history during his own lifetime and today that he can be singled out as one of the truly great figures of the early Christian church”.

We had the New England launch at the Irish Cultural Centre here in Canton in January.  And now, Derry and Donegal.

This week is Columba’s week—his feast day, the day commemorated as the day of his death, is June 9.  Both Ireland and Scotland are hosting a number of major events to celebrate the occasion, especially since 2013 is the 1450th anniversary of his founding of the monastery of Iona and probably Derry (although that may have been a bit earlier).

The One Book project runs from now through August.  The program of events is below, or visit www.donegallibrary.ie or www.librariesni.org.uk.  I’ll be there for the finale during Heritage Week.  Wish I could be there for all of it! 

If you’d like to join the ongoing conversation, there is an online book group discussion at www.donegalibrary.ie.  Look under bookgroups, online, and you’ll see the conversation already started.  As I said there, I’m writing Book 3 in the series (in which Columba returns to Ireland in triumph), so your thoughts about Columba, Aedan mac Gabran, et al., would be particularly useful.  And more than a little fun.

On this side of the pond, don’t forget to come check out the Boston Irish Festival this weekend in Canton, MA.  (June 7-9).  For the lineup of musicians and to get tickets, go to www.BostonIrishFestival.info

I’ll be in the author’s tent all weekend with a number of excellent local authors.  We’ll be doing book readings on and off over the course of the festival.  I’ll read from “Exile” and its sequal “Prophet” and talk about the medieval world which inspires the series, complete with slides and photos!, on Saturday, June 8, from 1:30-2:30 and then again on Sunday, June 9, from 11:45 to 12:30. 

Copy of Colmcille_leaflet_Page_1

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Great news here—I’ll be part of the Author’s Tent at this year’s Boston Irish Festival at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton next weekend, June 7-9.

http://bostonirishfestival.info/

The Boston Irish Festival is the largest Irish Festival on the East Coast.  There are lots of fun events lined up, including three days and three stages of non-stop Celtic music

I’ll be doing hour-long readings and signings in the Author’s Tent, on both Saturday 6/8 (from 1:30-2:30) and Sunday 6/9 (from 11:45-12:45). 

Come on by, say hi, support Boston’s Irish community and the Irish Cultural Centre, and have some fun.   It’ll be great to see you!

Boswell's Books Shelburne Falls Mass

Hey, did you hear that beautiful little Shelburne Falls has just been voted by Boston.com as one of the top five dream places to live in Massachusetts?

Doesn’t surprise me!  One of the hill-towns in the western part of the state, just south of the historic Mohawk Trail (Route 2), Shelburne Falls is one of my all-time favorite places. 

And Boswell’s Books, the independent bookstore which has been a staple in this artsy town for nearly twenty years, is one of my all-time favorite bookstores!

Which is why I’m delighted to be reading there this Thursday night, May 9.  This will be my first reading from my new book, “Prophet”, the second book in my historical-fiction series set in 6th-century Scotland and Ireland, “The Chronicles of Iona”.  I’ll talk a bit about the history underpinning the series, show some photos of the sites in Scotland and Ireland where it takes place, and read a bit from “Prophet”.

Boswell’s is located at 10 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA, 01370.  We’ll start at 6 p.m. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Saltwater Celtic Music Festival - logo

JULY 20-21, 2013 – THOMAS POINT BEACH, BRUNSWICK, MAINE

 
This just in!  It’s been confirmed that I’ll be the Writer in Residence for the Saltwater Celtic Music Festival, Brunswick, Maine, this July 20-21, 2013!  I am exceptionally honored to have been asked to represent Celtic literature at this amazing Celtic music festival and can’t wait to hang out and listen to all these fantastic musicians, including Enter the Haggis, Young Dubliners, Prydein, Maeve Gilchrist, and more! 
 
 
I’ll be hosting the Saltwater Lit Tent and will also be featured on the Saltwater Lit and Pubs tour the week preceding the festival.  I’ll keep you posted as to details, but if you are in the area that weekend, this event is a must!  
 

For tickets and details, visit: Saltwater Music Festival 2013.  For a limited time, anybody purchasing 2 or more two-day tickets will get to choose a free CD from one of four Saltwater 2013 performers: Maeve Gilchrist, Enter The Haggis, Young Dubliners, or The Paul McKenna Band. Saltwater is also waiving the usual $5.00 S&H fee for all orders.  So do it now!  TICKETS

Another outstanding review for The Chronicles of Iona: Prophet, this time from ForeWord Clarion

Giving it 5 STARS, ForeWord Clarion calls Prophet a “thrilling and fast-paced epic” which will “appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Tales, readers of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and any who enjoy stories of King Arthur or the Dark Ages”.

“As wonderful and elegant a saga as Chronicles of Iona: Exile was,” says ForeWord Clarion’s Mark McLaughlin, “Paula de Fougerolles’s sequel is even better”.

Here it is!

The Chronicles of Iona

Prophet

Clarion Review (5 Stars)

As wonderful and elegant a saga as Chronicles of Iona: Exile was, Paula de Fougerolle’s sequel is even better. The first volume in the series took its twin protagonists from boyhood to early manhood; the second brings them to their full adulthood standing as holy man and warlord. While the term “epic” is often too casually bandied about, there is no doubt that this series is deserving of that epithet.

While Chronicles of Iona: Prophet is enjoyed best after the previous volume is devoured, this second installment is hearty enough to stand on its own. It is a thoroughly researched and historically sound novelization of the story of the two founding pillars of the Scottish nation: St. Columba and Aedan mac Gabran. With elegant and lyrical writing, de Fougerolles has composed a thrilling and fast-paced journey that cuts through the mists of legend without losing the magic and wonder of myth.

Set thirty years after the death of King Arthur, de Fougerolles’s book is nonetheless Arthurian in scope and feel. The author, a noted linguist and scholar of the era, has packed in everything fans of the genre could want. There are raids and rapes, seductions and sodomies, battles and ball games, drownings and decapitations, rituals and races, storms and stolen kisses, and even some religious debates. The Loch Ness Monster (whom St. Columba is said to have bested) is thrown in for good measure. All of these make for grand fun, but the story is hardly lighthearted, for as Columba warns a young novice monk, “There are horrors here of which you have never heard.”

The narrative is an adventure with heroes great and small, villains evil and mean (both in character and in stature), princesses wild and demure, and many other characters fair and foul. Except for recounting events of the first book, very little is told here—in fact, most of the action is shown in great, bloody splendor. As such, it will appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Tales, readers of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and any who enjoy stories of King Arthur or the Dark Ages.

Readers unfamiliar with the crazy and confusing patchwork of clans and kinglets sprinkled about Ireland, Scotland, and the remnants of Roman Briton may have some initial difficulty figuring out who is who, let alone on which team they are playing in this royal game. The author does her mightiest, however, to make that as clear as possible. There are extensive notes and guides in the back of the text, although most readers will, unfortunately, not notice these aids until they finish the novel. Additional notice up front (beyond the listing in the table of contents) that these resources exist would have been helpful, and some of the explanatory material could have been relegated to footnotes.

These small complaints aside, de Fougerolles’s book is a thoroughly engrossing tale that provides entertainment and insight into the legends and history of the Irish, Scottish, and British people.

Mark McLaughlin
March 7, 2013

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