Interview with Aine from Cindy Thomson’s Pages of Ireland

Pages of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Today we welcome Aine from Ireland in the 6thcentury.

Welcome, Aine. Since most of our readers are English speakers, please tell us how to pronounce your name.

My name is not unusual, but very well. ’Tis AWN-ya.


Thank you. In the beginning of the story you steal a book. Since books are so widely available in the 21stcentury, tell us why you did that, if you don’t mind.


I had to. Well, at the time I thought I had to. You see, the book was believed to have great power and it belonged to my betrothed’s clan. I believed my mother’s clan needed it more since the owners were wealthy and my mother’s people were very poor. There were many who believed the book could bring about a better harvest and make the cattle more fertile and healthy.


That sounds a little odd to us here in our time.


Is that so? But you do believe that prayers to our God are powerful, aye?


Of course.


Well, then you understand, I’d say. Although I did not at first. Thus my journey with the book to find Brigid.


Brigid? Tell us about her.


Well, in her book, BRIGID OF IRELAND, she saved me when I was a little girl. I lived with an abusive father. I had a skin disease, leprosy. Have you heard of it?


Oh my, yes. Although I’ve never seen it. You are looking at me funny. Remember we live in different times.


And leprosy isn’t common? That’s wonderful. Well, as you can see, my skin is perfectly flawless now. That’s because after my mother sent me off with Brigid to protect me from my father, Brigid prayed over me and I was healed! I knew she had abundant power, so because I was feeling trapped inside the clan I was to marry into, and I wished to do something for my mother and her clan to help them, I thought if I took that book to Brigid I would be safe and could do some good.


But you were wrong?


I was wrong and I was right. That book had power all right, but it was not what I had thought. The words in the book were what was powerful, and Brigid? She had some challenges to overcome as well and I seemed to set them in motion. Who would have thought the ruler of the clan who owned the book would go to such lengths to get it back?


Overall, were you glad you went to Brigid?


Indeed. What a wondrous place Cill Dara is. (That means Church of the Oak) There was a bit of trouble there—sure, a lot of trouble—but nothing God and Brigid could not eventually overcome. You see, her old nemeses came back for her, plotting revenge, but also a mysterious poet she had known long ago came to visit. And what happens to them is not what I expected. I’ll say no more about that so I don’t get into trouble with the author.


Was there anything else you were wrong about?


I wasn’t going to mention it but since you asked, aye there was. My betrothed. Again, I cannot say too much.


So, about that book. I’ve heard that it chose who needed to hear its words. Did you know that when you stole it?


I did not. I will tell you the truth: it scared me.


I understand. You can’t spoil the plot. Thanks so much for dropping in on Novel PASTimes, Aine.


My pleasure. If this is what books are like in the future, I’d say they are just as mysterious. One thing I do understand is if people don’t read PAGES OF IRELAND, my story won’t be told so I hope you all will go read it. The words in that book may very well be meant for you!


authorphoto4cindy-thomson-LR-3Cindy Thomson is the author of eight books, including her newest novel, Enya’s Son, based on 6th-century legends (releasing this summer.) Researching her Scots-Irish roots launched a writing journey that has lasted nearly two decades. Being a genealogy enthusiast, she has also published articles in Internet Genealogyand Your Genealogy Todaymagazines. Most everything she writes reflects her belief that history has stories to teach. Cindy and her husband Tom live in central Ohio near their three grown sons and their families.

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Interview with Nathan Hale’s Fiancé (from The Hidden Side)

The Hidden Side CoverToday we welcome Mercy from Heidi Chiavaroli’s The Hidden Side.

Novel PASTimes: I’ve always been inspired by the late Revolutionary Spy Nathan Hale, but I never realized he planned to marry! Please, tell me your name and how you met the late Mr. Hale.

Mercy: My name is Mercy Howard. I met my beloved Nathan through a mutual friend of ours, Benjamin Tallmadge. He and Nathan attended Yale together and when Nathan visited Ben on Long Island…well, I am not certain I believe in love at first sight, but ’twasn’t long before we were sending letters across the Sound and planning a future together.

Novel PASTimes: How sweet! You mentioned Benjamin Tallmadge. Wasn’t he the head of the Revolutionary CIA?

Mercy: CI—forgive me, I’m not familiar with that.

Novel PASTimes: The Central Intelligence Agency…you know, spies?

Mercy: Oh my! One does not openly talk of such things where I come from. Spying is a business best suited for blackguards and scoundrels. Cheats and cowards. Are you certain ’tis safe to mention here?

Novel PASTimes: I assure you it is.

Mercy: Very well, then. If you insist. I’ve been wanting to unburden myself with my secret for some time.

Novel PASTimes: Secret?

 Mercy: I suppose it all began with Nathan…nay, perhaps before that. My uncle, William Howard, betrayed the Patriots when he led General Howe through Jamaica Pass. If not for his disloyalty, General Washington may have stood a chance at the Battle of Brooklyn, and New York wouldn’t be occupied by the King’s Army as it is now. 

Novel PASTimes: Ouch. I can see why that would bother you. And what about Nathan? Did you know of his espionage activities?

Mercy: My, you are bold! What must people in the 21st century be like to speak so openly of such things! Do you promise you won’t think less of him?

Novel PASTimes: Dear Mercy, I think you would be happy to know that many look on your Nathan as a hero.

Mercy: Truly? That does lighten my heart! Very well, then. Though ’tis rather intimate, I will share some…. Nathan did not impart his mission to me, though I wish he had. I saw him two nights b-before he met his demise. He acted oddly, but I thought him only nervous. My poor Nathan. He should have never been behind enemy lines. He was too open, too honest to excel in a profession that requires dishonesty.

Novel PASTimes: And what about you, Miss Howard? How did you become involved in the Culper Spy Ring—General Washington’s intelligence circle, that is?

Mercy (lowering her voice): You see, when my childhood friend, Abraham Woodhull—

Novel PASTimes: Abraham Woodhull? I love watching him on AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies!

Mercy: I’m afraid I haven’t an inkling of what you speak. Nevertheless, when Abraham first asked me to be a part of his…endeavors, I refused. ’Twas only after my sister suffered at the hands of a soldier quartering in our house that I decided I simply must do something. First Uncle William’s betrayal, then Nathan’s death, then my sister’s suffering. ’Twas more than I could stand to watch! Beneath Abraham’s urging, I decided to pay my Aunt Beatrice an extended visit in York City.

Novel PASTimes: She is a loyalist, isn’t she?

Mercy: Aye. ’Tis…complicated. Yet Aunt Beatrice is in a position that is beneficial for my—uh, activities.

Novel PASTimes: And while in Manhattan, you met a certain Major in the King’s Army, is that right? 

Mercy: John Andre…yes. I do wish he was not quite so charming. In many ways, he reminds me of my Nathan. Yet I have business to do. General Washington depends upon me, as does my family, burdened by the presence of those redcoats. Why, even Nathan’s memory bids me to hasten forth for the sake of the Patriot cause. I absolutely refuse to disappoint them.

Thank you, Mercy, for sharing so openingly here on PASTimes. We do hope you aren’t fearing too much for the survival of the Revolution. (Yes, that’s a hint.)

Heidi's Author PhotoHeidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner and grace-clinger. She loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Heidi’s debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online at