Sunday, August 09, 2009

Welcome Special Guest Blogger: Clare Austin

When I heard about the story of "Butterfly" by Clare Austin, I was intrigued. I love all things Irish and am a huge fan of Celtic Music (which figures prominently in the story), so I asked Clare to talk a bit about it on today's virtual book tour stop via Goddess Fish Promotions. At the end of her post is a music-related excerpt -- give it a read!

Note: Clare will be giving away a free download of her book each week of her tour to a lucky commenter, randomly drawn from the comments during that week. At the end of the tour, one commenter will win an autographed copy of the novel. Also, the tour host with the most commenters, not counting duplicates or Clare's comments, will receive a beautiful butterfly pendant, hand carved out in Leenane, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland from Connemara Marble.

Thank you for having me here today. This has been a virtual whirlwind so far.

I wanted to share with your readers my love for Celtic…specifically Irish Traditional music. It’s hard for me to find music I don’t like. Everything from Bono to Bach, dependent on my mood, but when I hear or play a jig, reel, hornpipe or air in the Irish style, it reaches deep into my soul. As a violinist I play both classical and Irish---whatever mood strikes me when I lift my instrument to play.

When I wrote Butterfly I hoped to convey the joy, sorrow and sense of history the Irish people have always put into story and song. To quote Chesterton from his “Ballad of the White Horse.”

“For the Great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad.”

Not quite accurate, but a compelling thought.

I love the mix of contemporary and traditional music of the group Clannad, the fiddling of Kevin Burke, Paddy Glaken and Martin Hayes. My heroine in Butterfly was inspired by some great fiddlers I’ve seen over the years. Another group I like for inspiration in my writing is Altan, from County Donegal. The music of Ireland varies from subtle to dramatic depending on the region. Donegal fiddling is dynamic and heart pounding. Clare music tends to be more lyrical. I simply love it all, but I especially enjoy playing Clare style.

Maybe it’s in my mitochondria. The beat of the bodhrán and the whisper of the uilleann pipes mimic my heart and breath. When I stand on a cliff or beside the sea in County Clare I can literally hear the music all around me. Bards are still alive in the land of saints and scholars and you don’t have to look long and hard.

Open Butterfly and step into O’Fallon’s Pub of an evening. It won’t take long…someone will tell a story, sing a song, and pull out fiddle, bodhrán, or pipes to play a tune. I guarantee the music will be deadly, the pints frothy and the craic mighty!

Thanks for having me on your blog today. Please check my website for excerpts from my books…Butterfly, available now, Angel’s Share, coming in March and Hot Flash, spring 2010. If you would like to email me I would love to hear from you…


Flannery Sloane is a free spirited bohemian with a soul blessed by Irish musical tradition. She doesn’t give a care for where she’s going or how she’ll get there. Joy and passion are her only map. And, though she’s not interested in falling in love, she wouldn’t mind a little fun with a fine looking man. Hunter Kincade looks like he could fill that bill and have a bit of change left over.

Flannery never wears a watch. She’s late for everything but the downbeat of a fiddle tune. She’s happy serving pints in the pub and playing for tips and smiles. Hunter thrives on punctuality. He is in the music business with his focus on the bottom line. The pretty fiddle player with the bright green eyes would make his next production worth the price of a CD.

Their only common ground is the belief that falling in love is a danger to health and sanity.

Will it take more than Irish magic to pull a man like Hunter into the spell of a woman like Flannery? They are all wrong for each other...and they are so right.


Excerpt from "Butterfly":

He lost sight of the fiddler in the mobs of tourists enjoying the April sunshine.

No sooner had he decided to give up on his quest than he heard hands clapping in rhythm with the beat of the now familiar Irish drum.

Then he saw her.

She lifted her instrument and, with the surety of a bird’s wing slipping through the air, bow was laid to strings and life was breathed into melody.

He moved to the edge of the gathering where he could have an unobstructed view of the musicians. She looked up, and he thought she recognized him for an instant. Then her eyes turned and followed another. She smiled and nodded.

Cade had never thought of himself as the jealous type, but he did feel cheated out of that smile.

As soon as the last vibration of strings quieted, a man Cade recognized from O’Fallon’s came up behind the fiddler and, with disturbing familiarity, spoke in her ear. She responded with a hug and an adoring look in her eyes.

Cade had been raised to be competitive, in sports as well as in business, and the appearance of a rival on the field made him want to draw blood. He wanted the fiddler in his studio, and if she ended up in his bed, that might be as nice.

He stood and listened until the sun set and the air held a chill that thinned the throng. The musicians were packing it in.

He hadn’t realized he was staring, until she walked up to him and stood so close he could smell the scent of her warm skin in the cool evening air. Her approach to introduction took Cade completely by surprise.

“Are you lookin’ at me or waitin’ for a bus?” she said, one hand on her hip and a sassy smile on her lips.



Keri Mikulski said...

Can't wait to check out BUTTERFLY! :)

Brandy said...

I love all things celtic, so I'll have to check this out. Great interview, thanks!

Clare Austin said...

Brandy, if you love Celtic Woman you should take a look at my website and watch the book trailer for Butterfly. You will recognize the music.
I was a work at home mom as well and that was when I started reading romances.
Hope you enjoy Butterfly,

Clare Austin said...

Keri, I took a look at your profile. Wow you are a busy woman. I am glad you take time to read and to write. I love the title of your book.

Michele said...

I love Capercaille, the closest I have to Celtic.

I enjoyed your excerpt. I love a heroine with pizzazz and cheek. What a unique perspective you have for a story line. I'm sure Irish culture and Celtic history will provide you with a rich banquet to feed your writing for years to come.

Glad I popped in to visit you!
And good luck with the rest of your tour!

Shelley Munro said...

I really like the setting you've chosen and a story of opposites attracting sounds like fun. Good luck with your release.