Tag Archives: Claire Fullerton

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton. #Book #Review

Mourning Dove Cover Image

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Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton, author of the wonderful Dancing to an Irish Reel.

The book has been compared has reminded readers of the works of Pat Conroy, and if you know anything about Southern novels then you know that is the highest praise. You won’t be disappointed.

Mourning Dove isn’t just a book about family in the South. It’s about the reality of a family in the South. There are many dramatizations of what people believe life is like here in the Southern part of the US, but unless you lived it, you don’t know it. Claire Fullerton lived it. The author and I have had exchanges in the past about commonalities in our lives to the point that I know she is the real deal. She grew up a Memphis girl while I lived just 2 hours away in Tupelo, MS.

One thing about Southern life is there are layers. Depending on who you are socializing with will determine which layer you allow to show. That’s for your own protection. You learn this quickly to survive, not only in Southern society but in your own family. If you aren’t like your blood then you in more trouble than you would be at any other point in time. This is just an observation I’m throwing in here.

Mourning Dove finds Posey, moving back to Memphis, the city of her birth with her two children. The story is told through the voice of Millie, the youngest child. She’s the quiet one who looks up to her charismatic brother, Finley. The children are thrown into a world totally alien to their Minnesota home when they set foot in Memphis, a city where old society still looks to generational lines to help determine societal prestige.

Posey, sets out to find a new husband and ends up catching the Colonel, a totally inappropriate match for a husband only because of his place in society in the hopes it will continue to help her and assure her children will not fall from grace. The problem is, this leaves her children without true parents. Posey mothers occasionally but it doesn’t really help her children.

The star of the show is Finley, the big brother that has been given almost god like qualities by Millie in his perfection. His talent, his intellect, his abilities to move people. The things she cannot do. But just as a god, he is just out of reach in his kinetic life of always pushing higher and higher to next level of his creativity. His time in Charlottesville to attend university and expanding his music lies perfectly with the music scene of the day for a certain element that continued in university towns on into the 80s.

But without Finley, Millie has to fend for herself in the aristocratic society of her mother’s upbringing. He was her navigator of Memphis, her protector of sorts.

If you want to know the real South of the 1970s, read Mourning Dove. Much like Claire Fullerton’s masterpiece, Dancing to an Irish Reel, you get atmosphere, emotions, characters, not only the main but a wonderful supporting cast, which very much matches what you find in the South. You also find yourself pulled in to the landscape and forget you exist in a present. You are present in the past.

Preorder Mourning Dove on Amazon by clicking HERE before June 29,

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10 Writing Commitments for 2016 (Guest Post by Author Claire Fullerton)

Commit to being a Full-Time Writer.

#Read about Guest #Author Claire Fullerton @cfullerton3 from @StoryReadingApe #Blog

Read this amazing Guest Post by Claire Fullerton who I interviewed recently, and author of Dancing to an Irish Reel that I reviewed and LOVED.

Another great one from The Indie Author’s best friend, Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Road to Publication

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Once upon a time, I spent a year living on the west coast of Ireland, in the rural region of
Inverin, while I worked thirteen miles down the coast road in Galway City. I had the best of both worlds, for Galway City is a vibrant college town with cobblestone streets in its center, where local musicians busk for change before pubs as old as the streets themselves, and locals come in from the outlying areas for the day to tend to important business. Contrarily, Inverin, Ireland is a land separated into geometric prisms by grey-stone walls leading down to the rock encrusted shores of the Atlantic on one side of the coast road and bog-land that stretches out forever on the other. Inverin is known as the gateway to Connemara, and is part of a region known as the Gaeltech, which refers to the area…

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Interview with Award Winning Author Claire Fullerton @cfullerton3

Unless you’ve been hiding under a CPU and working on your own book, then you know how much I’ve enjoyed a book called Dancing to an Irish Reel by Award Winning author Claire Fullerton. But I made a mistake with that book review. And I want to correct that up front. I wrote the review too soon after reading the book and failed to give time for reflection and full comprehension to take place. I didn’t take it all in and examine all the nuances hidden within the story. Every day since then I’ve been working on some aspect of the Claire Fullerton Experience. Yes, I call time spent working with an author an Experience like that because it does not normally end with a review and/or an interview. There is a lot more going on in the background than anyone other than one of my authors knows.

During the Experience I realized just how much Claire put in her book and how much she put in to her book. The more I think about it, the more I love the book. I don’t normally dwell very long after a review and interview, I always have the next to go to and I have since. But this would had a truth about it, a realness that one connects with and it stays with you. But before I get too carried away, unless I’m already too late, let’s get to my discussion with Claire Fullerton, Award Winning author and #1  GoodReads Irish Romance.

Claire Fullerton Interview

Claire, for a book that finds itself at times falling into the category of Romance, I have to say I was surprised by what I found with keeping that genre in mind. Did you set out to write a Romance? Was that your goal?

I’m so glad you asked this question, Ronovan. Actually, “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is literary fiction, which is a genre that means true to life. It’s a story about those near misses people experience on the road to a love that endures. I can’t think of anyone I know who hasn’t been in this situation before; where all the variables of attraction are in play, while two people are coming to know each other, yet for one reason or another, they can’t seem to get it together. But there is always such hope, and I think new love is typically replete with uncertainty. There is excitement and high hopes, yet on the flip side there is unpredictability and attendant fears. Extending oneself in new love can be risky and can leave one feeling vulnerable. It’s my belief that most people experience uncertainty and doubt when in the throes of new love, it’s just a question of to what degree they’re going to admit it! This is what “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is about. This is also why this book does not fall into the romance genre, but it does explore the subject.

Actually when I was thinking about this interview and the book I thought of real life with those moments of almost romance, or more relationship to tell the truth.

I think so as well. This is why I gave the reader Hailey’s thoughts throughout this book. I’m fascinated by the way people will say and do things in order to project a certain appearance, while thinking something completely at variance with their words and actions. I wanted the reader to know Hailey’s personality as she made her way in rural Ireland; that she saw things from an American frame of reference for much of this book, yet as the story progresses, that frame of reference was changed as she came to understand the Irish culture. I think this is what people do in life: they tend to resist what is new because their mind is already made up, but if one allows themselves to be influenced, there is much to learn!

Dancing to an Irish Reel
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The role of Hailey Crossan is a strong woman who knows who she is and what she wants. Where did those characteristics come from, as far as a model for her?

I love your use of the word role! I, too, see this book as a movie! You’ve just made my day! But seriously, and to your astute point, I know more women like Hailey Crossan than otherwise. When I consider all the close girlfriends, with whom I was lucky enough to grow up in Memphis, I realize they are all nobody’s fool. My mother was the same way. The women in my life have always been self-confident and self-reliant. They have a savvy, keen eye with regard to sizing people up. And the thing I’ve found with many of my friends is they rarely let on. They prefer to keep things close to the vest, so you have to know them for a while before you realize how aware they really are. This is how I wanted to write the character of Hailey. It was necessary that she was self- sufficient and sure of herself in order to move to another country without fear. She had to be able to hold her own in her new environment because she was a fish-out-of-water, so to speak.

I think your description of close to the vest fits Hailey well, now that I think about her. Cautious is another word that comes to mind. Recently I became a fan of a young man named Hozier, an Irish blues singer/musician/songwriter of about 26. I couldn’t help but picture him during my reading of Dancing to an Irish Reel. Did you have any images in mind, anyone in particular when you were writing Liam Hennessey?

Generally yes, but no one specifically. But I’ll use Hozier to make a point because the look of him is a good example; it is common in Ireland. There are many with dark hair and fair skin. And having lived in Ireland myself, I found the men to be subtle and beautiful, almost with a graceful, feminine quality. And those artistically attuned are the sensitive sort. This is what I had in mind when I created Liam Hennessey.

Oh, and one other thing before we move on, why that name, why Dancing to an Irish Reel?

Spiddal Pier Galway Bay Ireland
Spiddal Pier Shore Galway Bay, Ireland

In Irish traditional music, a reel is a tune that is circular; it goes back and forth and in and out in its execution, and to the listener it may seem unstable, but it is not. A reel has a plan! The title “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is meant to evoke this concept. It refers to the push and pull of the story and the search for stability. Hailey’s navigation of Ireland as an outsider and her sometimes off, sometimes on relationship with Liam Hennessey left her in the position of having to artfully manage a shifting tide, so to speak. She had to learn the ways of the Irish culture in order to live there inconspicuously, and the unpredictability of Liam Hennessey’s actions left her constantly searching for solid ground!

I’ve seen your handling of Ireland compared to that of one of Ireland’s most famous and beloved authors the late Maeve Binchy. When you see comparisons like that what comes to mind?

With regard to Maeve Binchy, because she was Irish, she handled Irish nuances effortlessly, as a matter of course. They were not unusual to her at all, but she reveled in their specific, unique quality. With regard to Ireland, she was in it as well as of it, yet able to stand back and observe the islands peculiarity in a way that celebrated its facets. I sought to do exactly this in “Dancing to an Irish Reel” because I carry a love and appreciation for the land and its culture. I find the Irish people earthy and authentic, unpretentious and in possession of a good perspective with regard to what is important in life. They place importance on quality of life and seem to me to accept life on life’s terms, as opposed to trying to manipulate their way through it.

When you were writing the book, was it an organic experience or did you have a specific outline in mind first? And whichever way, is that the same way you wrote A Portal in Time, your previous release?

Spanish Arch Galway
Spanish Arch Galway, Ireland

For both books, I had a point to make, as in something to say. I started with a premise as a statement then set about getting there via a story that unfolded. As for an outline, my process is very loose. I leave room for the story to tell itself, which is something best exemplified as I write dialogue. I never know ahead of time what the dialogue will be, yet I aim for information to be revealed. We learn about characters through what they say and what other characters say about them. In both books, I was mindful of the spirit of intention and had a loose outline of what was going to happen with regard to turning points. I simply held a firm impression of who the characters were to make the events in both books plausible.

Reading your book and the description of A Portal in Time, I get the feeling of your enjoyment of writing about past lives, mystical and spiritual elements. Is this something that comes natural to you, I mean as in the aspects of writing?

A Portal in Time Claire Fulerton
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My introspection must be showing! In truth, I’m not completely decisive on the subject of past lives one way or the other, but I do love the mystery. Perhaps the idea of past lives shares a blurred line with genetic memory, who’s to say? If you consider the idea of genetic memory, what it basically proposes is that we carry the impressions and experiences of our forebears because they are past down to us through genetics like imprints. This explains inherited talents and proclivities in an understandable way. And if you look at, say, the Druids, they didn’t believe so much in past lives as they did in the transmigration of the soul, meaning we are souls gathering wisdom in this business of living on earth, but it takes many incarnations to accumulate something with staying power. We can’t just get it all in one lifetime, if the aim is enlightenment, i.e, perfection. And because it is an ongoing endeavor, the idea is we return to this earthly plane repeatedly, where we try on different hats. I think there is confusion over the idea of past-lives because it places importance on the experience of the human as opposed to the experience of the soul as it seeks alignment with the divine, however you choose to define the divine. But this subject is important, and it’s enough for me to be mindful of the question. I think Sting touched upon something beautiful when he proclaimed we are spirits in the material world, and I know he wasn’t the first to posit this, but he did make a proclamation that brought it to the public fore.

Everyone that’s read my review of your book knows I loved it, and that I suggested a sequel. We’ve talked about it and it hadn’t come to you as an idea until then. But you set it up so well with the tarot card reading of Hailey. Do you think maybe some of those outside forces were guiding your story during certain parts? Maybe they want you to take another trip to Ireland.

Actually, I have been back to Ireland since I wrote “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” and I plan on going again! As for going back to Ireland in a sequel, I never thought along those lines because “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is a self-contained story with a point to it, which is to say we make our choices in life and from them our lives are set on a consequential course. As of this interview, I am not ruling a sequel out. I’ll let Hailey decide.

Now let’s get something a little more personal. We have a lot in common. Southern. Music business. Location of living for a time. How does your time in the South influence your writing, and is that part of your heritage something that you think might have drawn you to Ireland?

Ireland and the American South share something in common, but do keep in mind that much of the American South was settled by the Scotch-Irish, so perhaps it is something inherent in the area. Both areas spawn terrific communicators in possession of the gift of the entertaining story. It is a cultural way of being in the world, and therefore something passed down to each generation. In both the South and Ireland, I’ve found extremely colorful characters, completely unabashed in personality. As for the South influencing my writing, all I can say is that I write as I think, from the internal monologue I have in my head as well as how I see the world. The South has clearly influenced this as an environment because it is my frame of reference.

What’s the most satisfying thing that has happened to you so far while you’ve been an author?

The writer’s life style. I write daily for one reason or another. It has transpired that with two books in the world and the dynamic that promotion brings therefore, that I am always writing something, and this is due to the affiliations my books have given me. Take for instance the Irish online community “The Wild Geese.” They’re a group of the most erudite, Ireland loving writers I’ve ever come across, all with the desire to communicate and share their love of the island. I contribute to this community regularly by writing pieces that appear as blog posts, but what they really are is a way to celebrate the business of what it means to be Irish! So there is that gift, but I have also spent the last two years writing my third novel, which has been a joyous process. Then, of course, I contribute to magazines. It seems I’m always writing something and sharing it, which to me is simply the high art of communication for its own sake. All this is my idea of fulfilling days with a purpose. Can’t get more satisfying than this!

Do you have a favorite line in Dancing to an Irish Reel?

Yes, it is this: “There’s a feel about Galway that you can wear around your shoulders like a cloak.” It is very true.

Thank you, Ronovan. This has been big fun! Thank you for supporting writers through your exceptional blog.

About Claire

Claire Fullerton AuthorClaire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of literary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” which is set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. She is also the author of “A Portal in Time”: A paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a little village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Claire is a three- time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines including Celtic Life International and Southern Writers Magazine. She is a five-time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series and can be found on Goodreads as well as the website under her name. Currently, Claire is writing her third novel, which is a Southern family saga based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer’s Conference.

You can connect with Claire on Facebook and Twitter.

Get her books by clicking the book images above or clicking here for her Amazon Author Page.

Please share this Interview in order for Claire to receive as much support as we all may possibly give.



Interview by Ronovan

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#Book Review of Dancing to an Irish Reel by @cfullerton3

Author: Claire FullertonDancing to an Irish Reel
Title: Dancing to an Irish Reel
File Size: 373 KB
Print Length: 237 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0990304256
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing (March 6, 2015)
Publication Date: March 6, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00UCOZJXM
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Enabled
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Literary Fiction
Kindle: $1.99
Paperback: $13.99
Audible: $17.95

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. And of course with me, you know that’s what you get. Good or bad. Here we go!

What happens when an L.A. music exec goes on sabbatical to Ireland? Well this is a romance, so I’ll say romance, along with love, music, and most of all confusion—caused by love, language, and longing. You might think a Southern girl who moved to L.A. might be accustomed to culture shock and speaking a different language, but Ireland is an island unto itself.

Dancing to an Irish Reel is about American Hailey meeting real Ireland and new-to-love Liam Hennessey. What you get is a story of Hailey learning about the place she comes to call home and as she learns about it and begins to understand it, she also begins to understand the man she falls for.

I like the character of Hailey. She is not your stereotype romantic leading lady that people like to think of. She is strong, knows what she wants, has common sense, and above all—she doesn’t do the typical damsel in distress routines.

Men, you will like this book. I say that because men need to realize that a great deal of books with Romance in the genre are not exactly what you may think. Movies men seem to like have romance in them and could be labeled as such in genre. So get a clue.

In other words this will hit with all people.

I found this book a bit of a surprise in some ways. Things don’t happen the way you expect, which to me is good. You want to be surprised these days. I do want to say that the character of Liam, well—Fullerton does a great job of explaining the Irish male in several places from different viewpoints. Very interesting, I thought.

You might at times want to hit Liam over the head with something, like his accordion, but then, he is a man, it’s love, and he’s young, so what else would you expect? And that is one thing that makes this book real and allows the reader to connect with it. No one is perfect in the book. Even those thought to be perfect are flawed deeply, and not entirely due to their own doing. And as for the accordion, it’s a loved instrument in Ireland and makes Liam somewhat of a local celebrity.

I loved the description of Ireland, the people, how the language works and the culture itself works in so many different ways. Those parts alone make you think you have read a much larger book because you learn so much. I view the romance part of the story as a side by side symbolic representation of Hailey’s coming to terms and coming to understanding Ireland itself.

How does the book end? Is it a happy ending? That’s something you have to find out for yourself. Does Fullerton leave things open for a sequel? Could there be a trilogy or even a series of Hailey books? Personally, I would like to see more of Hailey in Ireland. How Fullerton uses Hailey to teach us about the real Ireland is something that needs to be revisited.

Recommendations:

I recommend this book to lovers of Ireland, real people, common sense romance, and reality.

Character Believability: 5Dancing to an Irish Reel
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4.8

 

You may be looking at that Reader Enjoyment number and wondering why. There were certain characteristics of Liam that somewhat annoyed me at times. I think maybe it was because I’m American and he’s Irish and as Claire Fullerton explains in the book, those two types of men are different. But Liam is real to the Irish male character. Perhaps being of Scottish background, maybe it’s just me.

http://www.clairefullerton.com/about-claire
https://www.facebook.com/clairefullertonauthor
http://www.vinspirepublishing.com/#!about/cjg9
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7388895.Claire_Fullerton
https://twitter.com/cfullerton3
 
 

Claire Fullerton PhotoClaire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of literary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” which is set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. She is also the author of “A Portal in Time”: A paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a little village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Claire is a three- time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines including Celtic Life International and Southern Writers Magazine. She is a five-time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series and can be found on Goodreads as well as the website under her name. Currently, Claire is writing her third novel, which is a Southern family saga based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer’s Conference.


 

Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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