The Tempest Murders
p. m. terrell
“I know you too well,” Claire said. “You’re wanting the story of Caitlín O’Conor, aren’t you?”
She smiled. “Her name was Caitlín O’Conor. She was supposedly the great love of Ríán Kelly’s life. It was a star-crossed love story. Her father was a prominent man in the village and Ríán was a ‘lowly county inspector’ and though they were deeply in love, her father would not permit Ríán to ask for her hand in marriage.”
He felt his chest tighten and he sipped his coffee to avoid Claire’s piercing eyes.
“The tale is that they sneaked around for years; everybody knew it. Everybody except Caitlín’s father, that is. They were madly in love.” She sighed wistfully.
“What happened?” He kept his eyes on his coffee. “Did she marry someone else?”
“Her father died. Quite unexpectedly. Heart simply stopped. And without him in the way, they were clear to be married.” She brushed non-existent crumbs from the countertop before continuing. “He asked for her hand in marriage on New Year’s Eve. Let’s see, I believe it was 1838. Yes, that’s right. December 31, 1838.”
“How can you be so certain of the date?”
“Because seven days later, Caitlín was dead.”
His head jerked up and he stared into Claire’s eyes. They were as green as the fields of Ireland and now she cocked her head and eyed him curiously.
“He’d gone to Dublin, so the story goes,” she continued slowly.
“Aye. He’d been called away on business. And as Fate would have it, the great flood came while he was gone and Caitlín was swept away. It was January 6, 1839—Epiphany.” Her voice took on a whispered note as though she was telling a ghost story. “There were those in the faith who had forecast the end of the world would occur on January 6, 1839—the day of Epiphany. So when the air grew completely still, so still they could hear the voices of neighbors miles apart, there were some who thought the end was near.”
He waited for her to continue. His cheeks were growing flush and he could feel beads of sweat beginning to pop out across his brow. “What happened then?”
“By nightfall, there were gale force winds. They moved from the western coast of Ireland all the way to Dublin, where Ríán Kelly had traveled. Some said the winds were accompanied by an eerie moan, a rumbling of sorts. But not thunder; it was a sound never heard before nor since. It increased as the winds grew. And then the northern sky turned a shade of red that had never been seen before.
“Well, so the myth goes, Ríán Kelly left Dublin immediately. It was a miracle he made it back to the village at all. He traveled through the night, in the rain and the hail, with the winds all about him. Bridges had been washed away; the wind had been so strong—stronger than anything Ireland had experienced in more than three hundred years—so strong that it whipped the Atlantic into a fury and pushed it all the way across the island. Streams and creeks became raging rivers. Whole villages were wiped out. Even some of the castles were beyond repair.”
He rested his elbows on the counter and put his head in his hands.
“You’re sure you don’t want to lie down, Re? You look as if you might faint.”
“I’m fine,” he said. “What happened when Ríán Kelly reached his village?”
“It was gone. Oh, there were a few buildings still intact. The church, for one. But Caitlín O’Conor’s home had been washed away. There was no sign of Caitlín.”
“So that’s where the story ends, does it?”
“Oh, no. I suppose it’s where it just begins.”
Author Bio and Links:
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than eighteen books in four genres: contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer how-to and non-fiction.
Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.
Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee and her historical suspense, River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee.
She is also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She is the organizer of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime. For more informatin on this event and the literacy campaigns funded by it, visit www.bookemnc.org.
She sits on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library and the Robeson County Arts Council. She has also served on the boards of Crime Stoppers and Crime Solvers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.
For more information visit the author’s website at www.pmterrell.com, follow her on Twitter at @pmterrell, her blog at www.pmterrell.blogspot.com, and on Facebook under author p.m.terrell.
Interview with p. m. terrell:
The Most Happy Reader has been fortunate enough to convince p. m. terrell to linger with us a little longer and answer a few questions about The Tempest Murders, her inspiration for the novel and whatever else strikes her fancy...
MHR: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Detective Ryan O’Clery is an Irish immigrant who is working a serial murder case in coastal North Carolina as Hurricane Irene is barreling toward the coast. What makes him so unique is he has had recurring dreams of a very specific woman since he was a young boy. When he discovers a journal kept by an uncle five generations earlier and half a world away, he discovers his dreams were actually the memories of Constable Rian Kelly, who lost his lover in a storm in 1839.
When he meets television reporter Cathleen Reilly, the passions he’d known only in his dreams come bubbling to the surface and he is convinced she is the reincarnation of the woman he’d loved and lost nearly two centuries earlier.
MHR: How much research do you do?
I did a tremendous amount of research into The Night of the Big Wind, the most massive storm to ever strike Ireland, which occurred in 1839. I also lived through Hurricane Irene and did additional research into that storm. I researched twin souls and soul mates and the concept of reincarnation and lucid dreaming. It was a fascinating book for me to write.
MHR: Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’ve been writing full-time since 2002. Prior to that, I owned two computer companies. I’d always wanted to be a writer and fell into the computer industry just as the first Apple was being invented (wow, does that make me feel old!) I am living my dream now, trying to complete two books per year for publication.
MHR: What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing for me is not the writing but the marketing and promotional efforts that every successful writer must do. I find I spend much more time and effort on promotion than I ever did actually writing the book.
MHR: For your own reading, do you prefer EBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I resisted eBooks for a long time, but when I was given an iPad for Christmas in 2012, I was hooked. I love that I can hold more than 50,000 books in the palm of my hand. If I’m away from home and I’ve finished a book, it’s easy to tap over to another book—or download a new one. I also like the lighting; I never have to position myself so the lamp is shining on the pages. And as I get older, I am enjoying the ability to easily change the size of the font to something easier for me to see.
But the real epiphany came when I finished a hardcover book and stood in my living room for nearly half an hour, trying to find a place to put it. I’d given away hundreds of books to the local library and nursing homes, and my bookcases were still overflowing. I realized then that either I turned another room into a library with wall-to-wall books, or I started downloading them instead.
MHR: Does the title of The Tempest Murders reference Shakespeare in anyway or just one hell of a storm? Personally, the word tempest itself has always fascinated me so I was curious what led you to your title?
Thanks for asking about this! The book is slipstream—it moves back and forth in time from the worst storm in Ireland’s history to Hurricane Irene. In 1839, storms in Ireland were not known as hurricanes, and the worst storm to ever hit the Emerald Isle was known as The Night of the Big Wind. The storm was so strong that some said it swept the Atlantic Ocean all the way across the island to the Irish Sea. It was during this massive storm that Rian Kelly lost his lover, Caitlin O’Conor, to a killer.
As I flashed forward to 2011, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the North Carolina coastline as Ryan O’Clery meets a woman he’d dreamed about during his entire life, though in his dreams their clothing and surroundings were always more reminiscent of two centuries earlier, and he experiences the intense emotion of having found her and then lost her. As Hurricane Irene approaches the coast, he realizes a serial killer he’s been investigating has targeted his new love, Cathleen Reilly, and he sets out to change their destinies—or history could repeat itself.
I had the dilemma of how to refer to the two storms. They were very similar in their intensity and destruction but while one was called a hurricane, the other was not. That’s when I decided on the word “tempest” and the title had a ring to it.
And last BUT not least, p. m. terrell will award a randomly drawn commenter this lovely Celtic Bracelet... so remember comment thoughtfully and often! Good Luck!