Q – As a writer do you develop an outline for your manuscript?
A- If I were only that structured. It’s been said Michelangelo envisioned The Pietá when he first saw the slab of marble. I’m more akin to a woodcarver, who begins chiseling before considering the end product. I didn’t start out to write the entire history of Irish participation and contribution to America. In fact, the title, for this blog, emerged quite late as the books began to fill in the timeline.
Q- What started you writing narrative-history?
A- I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient builders of Stonehenge, Newgrange etc. When I read about the Celts invading Rome around 400 BCE, I seized the opportunity to write of the accomplishments of Europe’s first civilization. Outstanding illustrations by Artist Sean Judy made this narrative-history a classic. The explanation given by many historians for the first encounter between the Celts and the Romans concerned a cuckold Etruscan, who asked the Celts for assistance. To my mind, this didn’t make any sense. Why would thousands of Celts cross the Alps for such a flimsy reason?
Q- Is your reason any more sound?
A- Probably not. But it’s far more interesting, another reason for writing history in a narrative-fashion.
Q- How so?
A- I used a dream to put the fear of the emerging, but still unknown, Romans into my character Conel, the chieftain of an Alpine Celtic tribe. Following which, he sends his trader to find out more about these savages. Turkos, the trader, returns with a slave. Julia happens to be the beloved granddaughter of a Roman senator. The Romans retaliate by enslaving Conel. Thus, a reason for the Celts to invade.
Q- Why begin there?
A-It provided an opportunity to compare the religion, the life styles of these two early civilizations and, in particular their approach to warfare. Later in Druids, Celts, and Romans, I have one of my characters enter the Druid priesthood and participate in their training.
Q- Why did you bring the intrusion by the Germans into the story?
A- For a number of reasons. The tale seemed to drag at that point and needed an action scene to hold the reader’s interest. In addition, it afforded an opportunity to illustrate the Celts organizing for war, their use of decorated helmets, chainmail, chariots, spears, wicker baskets, iron and steel swords. Keep in mind, this occurred 400-years before the birth of Christ.
Q – Is it true the Celts permitted women to become warriors?
A- Not just as warriors, but tribal leaders and religious leaders (Druids) as well. It took our civilization 2500 years to catch up with how the Celts valued their women. I blame the Romans and Greeks for this lapse. How much did humankind sacrifice by that useless waste of brain power? Perhaps, cancer could have been cured in the 1700s. We’ll never know.
Q- Come on now, do you really believe those ancient people could organize as well as you described?
A- An army of 20,000 along with their camp followers couldn’t have survived that arduous crossing of the Alps without being organized. We’re talking about descendents of the ancients who built over 50,000 magnificent megaliths without the benefit of modern tools. Let’s give them some credit.
Q-How would you improve this book?
A- This may not be an improvement, but it would make it easier for some readers. I’d shorten the names of the characters. I had added the letters “os” to make the names sound more Celtic.
Q- I don’t own an eReading device. Can I purchase a print version of this book?
A-Celtic Invasion of Rome initially came out as a hard and soft cover POD (Print-On-Demand) book, and can still be obtained from Xlibris Corporation email@example.com. After finally giving up on a NYC literary agent, I decided to produce eBooks on Kindle, Nook, etc. It was then I changed the title to Druids, Celts, and Romans, which is more representative of the book’s content.
Q-Why didn’t you stick with POD books?
A- They’re too bloody expensive. Celtic Invasion of Rome sold for about $25 plus postage and handling. The ePublished version goes for $6.99 and is available almost instantly. This last point is key. The majority of today’s generation won’t take the time to go to and search through bookstores.