Synopsis: Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, over a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and intense dreams of a man she has never met.
When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back to 1923—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war in. There she meets the fascinating stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and an agenda. Ripped from her own time, Nora now has the chance to save the ones she loves… and to alter the entire future of Ireland.
1: You’ve written books in a range of genres; which is your favorite and why?
I wish I knew – then maybe I could stick to one! I do have to say I’m in love with historical fiction at the moment. I adore doing research and finding out about lives lived long ago. Sometimes I wish I could just research for a living.
2: I love that Bury the Living is set in Ireland, how much research did you have to do for it?
So. Much. Research. I read every book I could get my hands on, obviously. (Thank goodness for inter-library loans). I also watched documentaries and movies and listened to Irish history podcasts. I interviewed Irish Catholic women who had grown up in Belfast during the Troubles to get a better understanding of what it must have been like for Nora. I talked to humanitarian aid workers who had worked in Sudan (Nora grows up to become a relief worker in Darfur), and poured over UNHCR manuals about how to properly set up a refugee camp. I asked experts in the Irish Civil War to read my early drafts and correct my errors. And, best of all, I spent two weeks in Ireland doing on-the-ground research, including an amazing tour of Kilmainham Goal
3: What made you want to write a historical fiction/time travel book?
My first series, The Thin Veil, is based on Irish mythology. While researching those books I couldn’t help but learn more about Irish history, and I was completely drawn in. The more I read, the more I wanted to write about it, but I couldn’t nail down a particular time period. And so I decided to write a time travel series so that I wouldn’t be limited to just one era. At first I planned to start the series with the Easter Rising of 1916, but then I saw the heartbreaking film The Wind that Shakes the Barley and was so moved that I decided to focus on the Irish Civil War instead. The more I dug into it, the deeper I wanted to go. I wanted to tell the stories of these people and make them come alive. Besides, the Civil War is a perfect launching pad for a time travel series because it has its roots in the centuries-old conquest of Ireland by England, but also reaches into the future as the instigation behind the modern-day Troubles in Northern Ireland.
4: What is your writing process and how long did it take for your first draft of Bury the Living to be completed?
I start with the germ of an idea, and then hit the research. This usually helps me nail down what exactly I want to write about and come up with plot and character ideas. After I have a pretty good understanding of the time period or situation, I start outlining. Every scene goes on a Post-It note and up on my office wall until I have the book roughed out, then I use the software Scrivener to start writing! Because I outline pretty thoroughly, my first drafts don’t take very long. I think I wrote Bury the Living in under three months. But then there are a few months of edits!
5: Where do you like to read and write?
I have an office in my home that I work in every day. In the mornings I work at my standing desk, then in the afternoons I move to my sitting desk if my legs are tired. As for reading, I love curling up in the corner of my sectional sofa, a cup of tea balanced precariously beside me.
Quick Fire Questions:
Favorite color? Green.
Favorite band or artist? U2.
What book are you currently reading? Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.
Ice cream or cake? Ice cream.
Favorite fall drink (or drink in general)? Hot rum Canadienne. Mmm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Already an accomplished writer, Jodi McIsaac is the author of several novels, including A Cure for Madness and the Thin Veil Series. She grew up in New Brunswick, and after abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote speeches for a politician, earned a graduate degree in global studies, spent a few years as a fundraising and marketing executive with non-profit organizations in Toronto and Vancouver, which then morphed into her own copywriting business.
Giveaway: 3 Finished copies of BURY THE LIVING (US Only)
BURY THE LIVING excerpt:
©2016, Reprinted with permission from 47North
On Monday morning Nora walked to school with a couple of friends. She tried to nod and laugh in all the right places as they nattered on, but her mind was fixated on the bags of cocaine stuffed deep into her rucksack. She’d decided there was no point in dumping it, not when she could still make a fair sale of it. Then her family wouldn’t have to wait to leave town. She’d sent a message to Ernie Farrell, saying she’d sell him the lot at half price. He’d been Robbie Grady’s only competition in this part of town. There was no way he would say no. Then it would be out of her hands.
At the lunch break she waited in the stacks at the library, just as she’d promised to do in her message. The Irish-history section, which was always empty. She read the titles with interest while she waited. Her school, like many others, preferred to focus on European and world history. Irish history was too controversial, to close to home. But Eamon’s love for it had rubbed off. He was always throwing obscure bits of history into their conversations or telling her about great battles and chieftains who’d lived hundreds of years ago. She’d soaked it all in—a sparkling vision of Ireland that was a sharp contrast to her own bleak reality.
Nora waited the entire lunch hour, but Ernie never came. Had he even been to school that day? She hadn’t seen him. Maybe he was sick. Maybe he’d chickened out after hearing about Robbie.
She left the library and headed back to class. She was late enough that the hallways were empty. Then she heard heavy footsteps behind her. She glanced back and stopped dead in her tracks. Paddy Sullivan was standing in the hallway, grinning at her.
“Hiya, Nora,” he said.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Ach, don’t be like that, Nora. We’ve some more questions for you.” He jerked his head toward the front door.
“I’ve answered your questions,” she said, clutching her rucksack close to her stomach. “Youse said you’d leave me alone.”
“Things change. C’mon. Let’s go.”
“I’ve got to get to class. I’m late.”
“We’re on the way to see your brother. Don’t you want to come?”
Nausea swept through her. He was bluffing, sure he was. But what if he means it? “I told youse to leave Eamon out of this! What do youse want him for?”
“Ernie never showed up to your little meeting, did he?”
Nora felt faint. “I just…wanted to talk to him.”
“Uh-huh. Seems you didn’t take our warnings seriously. Now come on. We don’t want to make a scene here in the school, do we?”
Nora felt as though her legs were embedded in the ground. All she could do was stare at Paddy, unable to move, while the world spun around her. She had to ditch the bag, somewhere, somehow.
“I…I just have to…I have to use the bogs first,” she stammered.
“I’m sure you can hold it,” he said. His hand clamped on to her arm, and he marched her out of the side door, where a car was waiting. She shifted her rucksack to one hand and prepared to drop it in the bushes, but he grabbed it.
“For a petty criminal, you’re pretty daft, Nora.”
“Wait, please, you don’t understand— ”
“You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that. Thought you’d just pick up where Robbie left off?”
“No! I was just trying to get rid of it, I swear.” Nora tried to wrestle herself from Paddy’s grip, panic building in her like a smoking volcano. “Don’t take me to Mick. You can have the coke—it’s worth a lot of money.”
“Mick’s interested in something far more useful to him than coke,” Paddy answered as he stuffed her into the back of the car. He got in the front seat, then turned around. “I think he’ll be wanting to make a deal.”
Nora drew back against the upholstered seat, horror spreading across her face. “He’ll not…be wanting…”
Paddy grinned again. “To pimp you out? Is that what you’re afraid of? You’re an attractive girl, Nora, but Mick’s not like that. He’s a decent lad.”
“You’ll find out.”