Interview with Christy Jackson Nicholas
- Today I’m delighted to be able to welcome a fellow Tirgearr Publishing Author, Christy Jackson Nicholas, author of Legacy of Hunger and the upcoming Legacy of Truth. She’s a bit of an expert on Ireland, having penned a travel guide – she’d know how to find Ballyboy Beach, I’m sure.
- Tell us a bit more about yourself, Christy. Where are you from?
That’s not an easy answer. I was conceived in England, born in Denmark, lived in Dearborn, Michigan until I was 8, and then south Florida until about 15 years ago. Since then I’ve lived in north Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I guess I’m a bit of a gypsy at heart!
- Tell us about the setting of your book. Why did that place speak to you?
The book, Legacy of Hunger, is set in 1846. The main characters start out in Pennsylvania, and then travel to Ireland in the midst of the Great Hunger, commonly referred to as the Potato Famine. Ireland is my soul’s home, my ‘anam bhaile’. The first time I visited, almost 20 years ago, I felt immediately at home. I’ve been five times now, and will retire there some day. The magic of the land and the people have something integral within them that I must share with others. The novel is set in several of my favorite places – Ardara, in County Donegal, Achill Island, and Kenmare in County Cork.
- What do you like least about writing?
The editing process, hands down. I love planning portion, and writing the first draft. I hate the part that comes after – endless editing, changing, shifting, improving, refining. I think because it’s more of an organic process to me than writing it is. I am very methodical in my writing – plan everything out, write scene by scene in order, etc. I can change my plan as I go along, and I frequently do, but still push on bit by bit. After that, it’s all rather nebulous.
- Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal library.
I love fantasy and science fiction, so Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Diana Gabaldon, are all big favorites. I love historical fiction as well – Sharon Kay Penman, Elizabeth Chadwick, Edward Rutherfurd.
- What inspired you to write in the first place?
Actually, finding my father after searching for him for fifteen years inspired me. He never knew I existed, and when I finally found him, he and my mother got together and got married for the first time. I knew that had to be a love story – so I wrote my first novel. It was addicting.
- Was there much research involved?
A lot more than I thought there would be! Since the novel is set in 1846, there are many small things that I simply didn’t know, such as what sort of foods would the locals be eating other than potatoes? How would one travel from Pittsburgh to New York, since the railroads weren’t that far west? Or across the ocean – the first steam ships were just being used at that point. I found myself writing about the funicular train and boat system on the Juniata River in Pennsylvania, near Hollidaysburg and Johnstown. After the book was finished, I then got a new job and moved to that area, completely by coincidence.
- Tell us about your next project.
I’ve already written the first drafts of two more books, prequels to Legacy of Hunger. There will be a trilogy, if all goes well! Legacy of Truth and Legacy of Luck.
- It’s great to see that the first of those is well on track. Thanks for coming by, Christy.
Grandmamma’s brooch haunted Valentia’s dreams.
Even as she relaxed at afternoon tea with her mother, the lace doily reminded her of the delicate intertwining design of the brooch. That, in turn, reminded her of the task she had resolved her mind upon.
She was tired of always settling for the smallest bits of whatever was good in life. Perhaps it was time to take larger chunks.
Valentia’s corset pinched as she leaned towards the tea tray, reaching for a large cake on the upper tier.
“Control yourself, Valentia, or you’ll end up looking like one of those Pittsburgh steel workers.” Majesta McDowell was always aware of the proprieties. From the servant’s area, one of the maids sniggered.
With an unladylike grimace at her mother, Valentia reached for a much smaller piece when she heard shouts. This wasn’t the normal sound of a foreman yelling at his workers.
This was panic.
Several other patrons stood to look out the plate glass window of the café. Though she was tall for a woman, all Valentia could see were the backs of strangers, and an occasional glimpse of someone running in the street.
Then there came a sharp crack, followed by a muffled explosion. Clouds of dust billowed, and Valentia fought her rising dread.
People in the café jammed the door, trying to escape.
Valentia, her mother, and their maids, Sarah and Maggie, pushed out of the stifling building. Panicked voices screamed amid crashes, all from a street not far away, in the direction of the Monongahela House Hotel.
Which was where they had been staying.
Her mind raced in panic, her stomach was a solid knot. Trying to make sense of the chaos, she looked the maids and her mother. She was transfixed, staring at the looming threat.
A threatening column of black, oily smoke billowed from the riverside, a searing blanket of menace. The smell of burning wood filled the air.
A church bell tolled. She must quell her terror and take charge.
“Mother, this way!” Valentia tugged on her mother’s arm to break the spell she was under, and pulled her away from the hotel.
My name is Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon. I do many things, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing and photography. In real life I’m a CPA, but having grown up with art and around me (my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected me, as it were. I love to draw and to create things. It’s more of an obsession than a hobby. I like looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or a fragrant blossom, a dramatic seaside. I then wish to take a picture or create a piece of jewelry to share this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus I write. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. I do local art and craft shows, as well as sending my art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.
Posted on January 22, 2016, in Novels, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged A Guide to Hidden Ireland, Christy Nicholas, Famine, Great Famine, Great Hunger, Ireland, Legacy of Hunger, Legacy of Truth, Novel, novel writing, Novels, Tirgearr, tirgearr publishing, Travel guides, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.