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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Music

Hugh Connor (of King of the Blind, by Caiseal Mor)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a master distiller from 17th century Ireland, here to tell us about whiskey, harps, and faeries.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in the west of Ireland in 1688. My family moved to Dublin when I was a lad. My father was a coachman to Doctor Delany of that city. Dublin was a peaceful enough place in those days despite the bitter fighting taking place elsewhere in country. It took many years for things to calm down after the Dutch invasion in 1689. I was very fortunate to grow up in a quiet city amongst level-headed folk.

I’m deeply grateful for these happy childhood memories but I also feel blessed to be rescued from the blandness of it all. A man could die of boredom in such a place.

Any cherished memories?

My most cherished memories are of the music. Dr. Delany was a patron of the arts and I was often employed to serve at the great parties he put on. It was through him I first met the master harp player, Turlough O’Carolan. And it was Dr. Delany who recommended me to the great man as a servant and helper. Master O’Carolan was a travelling musician but he was also blind, you see. So, he needed a reliable man to guide him, to lead his horse and to carry his harp.

Master O’Carolan was greatly loved for his talent at the harp, but he had a weak spot for the whiskey. It was a full-time job seeing to his needs and a great challenge keeping up with him too. However, his circle of friends included some of the leading people in Dublin society at the time. Dean Jonathan Swift was a personal friend. Signor Geminiani, the renowned violinist, was another close acquaintance.

What do you do now?

My master’s love of the whiskey led me to learn the art of distilling, if for no other reason than to save him some money and ensure I didn’t starve. Whenever he launched on a drinking binge I might not get paid for weeks. I’m now a master distiller and my wares are sold all over the country. Not legally of course. I have a series of connections with various officers and gentlemen who appreciate my craftsmanship. These days I’m confined a little. I’m a hundred years old. A mishap with the still a few years back, blinded me. Now I know how my master felt. I’m left to direct the family business and spend my time by the fire telling stories of the old days. Continue reading “Hugh Connor (of King of the Blind, by Caiseal Mor)”

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Mary Granger and the angel Gabriel (of Catch the Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters)

catch-the-moon-mary-wendy-watersDear readers, tonight is another special double interview. With us on the interviews is the archangel Gabriel, as well as the mortal woman he fell in love with, Mary Granger.

They are here to talk about love, light, and music – and how all three are connected.

 

 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

[Gabriel] I’d like to answer this one if you don’t mind, Mary. My name is Gabriel. I’m an angel and have always “been”. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t conscious of myself in relation to all that is and ever will be so I’ve never “grown up” as it were. I don’t remember why I was called Gabriel or who called me that. Eons ago my Father recognised my singular creative genius and 2IC’d me into helping Him create worlds upon worlds, one of which humanity calls the Universe but there are many more. If I had a mother I can’t recall her. There’s only ever been me and my Father orchestrating life. Now, of course, my Father no longer speaks to me and I depend on Mary for…well, everything.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

[Gabriel] Why don’t you answer this one, Mary?

[Mary] Very well, I became who I am the day I heard the music. It came to me winged, unbidden and fully-orchestrated. I was six. My home life was unmanageable and it was driving me mad because I depend on order to keep control of events and the people around me. And yet, this music took me to places where I had no control…under the sea, distant galaxies, foreign cities, fairyland. It showed me life without constraint or restraint and I learned to trust it completely. It was the only thing I ever trusted. The only person, too.

[Gabriel] You trust me, don’t you?

[Mary] No, Gabriel, I do not. Continue reading “Mary Granger and the angel Gabriel (of Catch the Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters)”

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