Sat, Dec

Norah's Children By Ann O'Farrell

historical fiction


This story has been waiting a long time to be told. Norah's Children is a novel which has at its heart, a truth. There was a Norah, though I'm not sure that she even spelled her name that way. Norah did have five children and five different families ultimately took in those children. What those families were like, or how those children were actually reared, I do not know. I heard whispers long ago and, like the fine silk of a spider's web, they clung to me. I finally gathered those fragile threads and wove them within a story of "how it might have been."
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If there are villains and victims in the story, it is because every story must have its villains and victims. If there is a hero or heroine, it is because every story should have at least one. The characters, as they are depicted in my story, are conjured from my imagination. No offense or hurt to the memory of any real person is intended.

The original children are all gone. I don't believe they spoke much about their separate lives. In writing this book I want to honor them, and the trauma and sadness they must have experienced. Children are our legacy, our joy, and our responsibility. They begin their lives totally trusting in and dependant on our integrity. Too often their trust is misplaced.


• What is your employment history before becoming a writer?

A stewardess with Aer Lingus, Irish Airlines, then a wife and mother. After returning to University, in Dublin, I worked as a dramatherapist, set and costume designer.
•  What have you written?
Norah’s Children and the sequel Michael;
Anyone Can Do It, a celebration of community drama performances with severely disabled adults, in Ireland;
Read my Shorts, a CD collection of humorous short stories;
Assorted Community newsletters and brief, humorous newspaper pieces. 
• Do you now have an occupation in addition to being a writer?                       
No, writing and promoting my books has become a full-time job.
• What credentials establish you as an expert in your field or have contributed to your success as an author? 
I am Irish, (the novels are set in Ireland).  I worked extensively with children for twenty years as a drama tutor. I have a Masters Degree from Trinity College, Dublin, where I studied Theater and Sociology. I have experience in storytelling and performance.
• Are you a member of any writer’s groups?                                                    
Yes, two.

About the Book
• What was your motivation for writing these two books?
A love of writing and a desire to give life to the bones of a story I heard many years ago.
• Can you give a two sentence description of the book that will pique someone’s interest?

A father inexplicably abandons his children after his wife’s death. They then experience vastly different fates.
• Factors that make your book interesting?
It is based on a true story, echoes an ancient Irish legend, and explores aspects of rural history in Ireland not often written about.
• What is the single most important thing that readers of your book will be able to do after reading your book that they could not do before?
Gain an insight into the dialogue about nature versus nurture.
• Is there local or regional relevance for your book?
It is set in County Galway in the West of Ireland.
• What emotions does your book evoke from readers?                                 
For many immigrants to the USA it will evoke memories of their own separation from family and country.
For mothers it will evoke the heartache that the loss of a parent can impose on a family. For individuals it will evoke the strength of family bonds and love.
• Are there any controversial elements in your book?
An arranged marriage. How social mores affects personal relationships.
• Are there any short sections of the books that stand-alone and may be easily excerpted?
Yes, many.
• In researching your book, did you come across any surprising facts, figures or statistics?
How many Irish men volunteered to fight with the British in WWII and how many Irish lives were lost.
•  If your books were for sale in a major bookstore, in what section would they be found? 
 Historical Fiction
• Which authors’ books compete most directly with yours?
Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt.
• How and why does your book differ from theirs?           
My style is a melding of Binchy’s gentle storytelling with the emotional depth of McCourt