Since several commenters have been asking about my books, let's talk about the novels. There are currently two in The Fey and the Fallen series: Of Blood and Honey is the first, and the second is And Blue Skies from Pain. (I'm working on a novella pre-quel right now.) The series is set in the 1970s in Northern Ireland. The main character is Liam Kelly, a Catholic born in Londonderry/Derry. Local rumour has it that his father was a Protestant who left or died (depending upon the source of the gossip) before Liam was born. However, Liam's father is actually a púca named Bran who is one of the Fianna and a nephew of Fionn mac Cumhaill. Liam doesn't understand that he's half shape-shifter. Eventually, he gets involved in The Troubles and becomes a wheelman for an IRA bank-robbing unit and then things go really, really bad. That's the elevator pitch.
In addition to the fey, there's also a group of Catholic priest-assassins who are charged to protect humanity from fallen angels and demons. They don't make a distinction between the fey and the fallen. To them, the fey are fallen angels. Therefore, Liam is caught up in multiple wars.
Now, there are some things that need to be said. First, I wrote these books for Americans. They were sold to an American publisher. The British rights haven't sold. Hence the not so great availability outside the U.S. and certain Americanisms in the text. (I couldn't do otherwise without confusing Americans--my audience.) The reason I wrote about The Troubles was because I saw a lot of similarities between what was going on in the U.S. at that time (George W. Bush was still president when I started writing) and certain elements of The Troubles. In addition, some Americans were using the word 'terrorist' without any idea of what it meant. Personally, I've always believed that it's important to learn from history,* and I didn't want to Americans to repeat the same mistakes others made.** Most Americans haven't a clue about Irish history. History coated with fiction has been my favorite form of storytelling. The history tends to stick in my brain better that way. I thought it might help others understand. Also? My favorite SF takes on the big questions facing humanity. To me, that's what SF is for.
Second, I studied The Troubles for three years before I finished writing Of Blood and Honey. I realised that it was a sensitive subject, and I didn't want to be one of those Americans that blunder into other people's business and make judgements without any consideration or knowledge. I'm very clear that I'm an American.*** When this story came to me I didn't feel I had the right to tell it. In fact, I originally told it to piss off, go away and find an Irish writer to tell it. Needless to say, it didn't. With that, I committed to doing everything in my power to tell the story the best I could. I studied Irish language because I had a hunch that it affected how Irish people used English. (I'm still studying it.) I listened to audiobooks of Irish crime novels written by Irish writers and tried to focus on Northern Irish authors in particular. (Adrian McKinty is my favorite, but Gerard Brennan is a close second.) I actually slept with those audio books playing on my iPod at night, every night for years. I read extensively--thank goodness for the availability of books through the internet--not just non-fiction history books and fiction but memoirs as well. I watched films and collected photographs. I interviewed people who'd lived in West Belfast at the time and others who'd visited Londonderry/Derry. One of them kindly vetted the books. Nicholas Whyte also read both books. (Unfortunately, he wasn't able to read the first before it was published. He did go over the second book with me.) Please understand that the only reason I didn't visit Northern Ireland is because I was unemployed and absolutely couldn't afford it. Also, in spite of all that work I don't view myself an expert. That would be the people who lived it.
Finally, please understand I want to be as respectful as I can. I've been to England. I like British people. A lot. I had no intention of making light of the subject. The books aren't jingoistic either. Subsequently, my novels aren't easy books to read and a lot of readers who come to them with the idea that they've picked up a fluffy Urban Fantasy end up quite upset. There are errors. There will be. I'm a flawed human being, and I can only do so much. However, I did put forth my best effort. It's all a person can do.
Oh, by the way, I'm dyslexic. It's possible some misspellings will slip through on my blog posts. I'm sorry about that. It's 2am here, and I'm tired. I'll catch up on comments as soon as I can.
* For the record, I believe that mistakes are important. Human beings learn via trial and error. We need to make mistakes and learn from them. They say that mistakes bring experience. Experience brings wisdom. Therefore, I'm all for making mistakes--ideally, not the same mistakes over and over. It's even better if you can learn from mistakes that others have made. Make sense?
** No one is perfect, by the way. We're all human beings. America has made its own set of terrible mistakes. I'm reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown right now.
*** I'm not of Irish descent either--not that I believe that is one in the same as being Irish. It isn't. Anyway, I'm not American Irish. There's a lone MacGowan way back on my mother's side of the family, but he hardly counts as that was in the 1740s. My mother's side of the family is mainly English with some German. My father's is German with some French and American Indian. All of that is meaningless since my family has been in the states since the 1700s on my mother's side and World War 1 on my father's.