As most of you know, I'm in the middle of writing my biggest project EVER–a seven-book biographical fiction series, based around the true-life stories of two giants of Irish history, the activist Maud Gonne and the poet WB Yeats.
These two, together with Maud's daughter, Iseult, have obsessed me for decades. Although their lives are well documented, I'm telling their stories as they've never been told before–with more respect for the great woman (much as I see her flaws and failings) and less adulation of the great man (much as I appreciate his wordcraft and wizardry).
A magical romancer, Rosy Cross, “the oldest woman in Ireland” is our guide to how the Gonnes and Yeats lived and loved–a wise and witty guide through the twisting highs and lows of love, loss and redemption.
A Life Before is the first book in the Gonne-Yeats series, which goes on to explore seven kinds of love:
- I: A Life Before. 1885 – 1889. Infatuation
- II: The Holy Tree. 1889 – 1894. Desire
- III: Her Secret Rose. 1896 – 1898. Romance
- IV: Dancing in the Wind. 1903 – 1909. Loyalty
- V: Memories of You. 1916 – 1919. Affection
- VI: A Fanatic Heart. 1921 – 1923. Devotion
- VII: But A Dream. 1925 – 1926. Compassion
A Life Before
I am now finalising the final draft of the first book: A Life Before. I had to write the series to the end, to know exactly what happens at the beginning, so I have a first draft now of each of these books, some rough, some in better shape.
These interweaving stories connect some fascinating real-life characters–not just Maud Gonne and WB Yeats but also Iseult Gonne, Maud's daughter, and the two writers she loved, Ezra Pound and Francis Stuart. There's also a host of invented characters, loving and fighting across the three main settings of Ireland, Paris and London.
The plot lines follow their lives for 40 turbulent years, through land wars, the rise of women and the working classes, the First World War and the Irish Independence War– and the aftermaths and fallouts.
Over a million words written, so far! And who knows how many hours spent reading and researching? I'm not counting, it's a labor of love.
I've just got the finalized cover from my fab designer, Jane Dixon-Smith. What do you think?
I intend to launch the book on Kickstarter and you can click here to be notified when the campaign kicks off: OrnaRoss.com/ALifeBefore
(If you're not on Kickstarter, you'll have to register, but that's quick and easy, and there are lots of cool projects over there).
I'm planning some very cool rewards for my backers too.