Welcome to 12 Days of Cozies. I’m thrilled to be a part of it. This will be a very different kind of Christmas this year for everyone, including myself. It makes me appreciate the spirit of Christmas even more which is about being together, even when we’re apart. And thank goodness we still have books. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas as many of my Irish friends say!
10 Behind-the-scenes facts you may not know about The Irish Village Mystery series.
1. It’s based on Kilmallock, a town in County Limerick, Ireland. It’s a lovely medieval walled town I fell in love with. And it absolutely has a ruined abbey, a town castle, a limestone wall surrounding it, four original entrance gates, and a collegiate church. How lucky are they? And how lucky am I to have such a wonderful inspiration for my series. And by the way everyone there is lovely and no one has ever murdered anyone.
2. My ex-boyfriend (and current friend) is from this town.
3. I was thrilled when I realized Siobhán O’Sullivan’s initials spelled out SOS.
4. I originally used names of people and the places in the town for the first draft, intending to change them to fictional ones later– because they are not the exact people in any way, shape, or form– except for the fabulous qualities, but I would come to regret making this decision. As many readers noticed, in the first book, and maybe even in the second, Naomi’s Bistro is called Natalie’s. This is because the original bistro was indeed Natalie’s, owned by a lovely Irish woman named Natalie. (It has since changed ownership and name). There is also an Undertaker, Lounge and Pub– theirs is Daffy’s Undertaker, Lounge, and Pub.
5. Natalie did make fabulous cappuccinos. And when I picture the bistro, I picture her exact one, albeit it’s a bit enlarged with room upstairs for The O’Sullivan Six.
6. I used to hang out in an Irish pub in Queens which, beside my trips to Ireland and having Irish heritage, is where I picked up a good deal of the colorful phrases and way of speaking.
7. I was standing in the parking lot of a grocery store in Wilmington North Carolina when my editor called me to ask me to write the series. But what he asked was if I was interested in writing a series set in England. I immediately said I didn’t know enough about England to set a series there, but then I immediately said: “But I could set it in Ireland.” This is how the series came to be.
8. In a first outline, I had Siobhan pretty much on her own. My editor said he wanted her to have a bigger family. This lead to The O’Sullivan Six and now I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
9. Siobhan rides a scooter in the series because I have a secret weird fantasy of riding a Vespa through Europe. In my fantasy it also has a basket and of course there is a loaf of French bread and bottle of wine in the basket. In reality I’d probably be too scared of traffic to ride one.
10. An Irish friend of mine whose name and profession I used for the killer in the first book, turned to me on my next visit in Ireland, years after I wrote it and said with a grin: “I hope I’m not the killer in all your books.” His son, at the time around ten years of age but a huge reader, had also read it. When I asked what he thought he said: “It’s kind of dark. I wouldn’t recommend it to kids my age.” I highly agree!
Carlene O’Connor is a USA Today Bestselling author of The Irish Village Mystery series, as well as a new series: Home to Ireland. There are currently six books in The Irish Village Mystery series and two in the Home to Ireland series. All of her books have hit bestselling lists, including the audio books, most read by Irish actress Caroline Lennon. Readers can visit her at CarleneOConnor.net or Carlene O’Connor Page on Facebook at CarleneOConnormysteries.