Creatively, this year has been a departure from the norm. I’ve got a new publisher, and my writing is growing, maturing, and (I hope) improving.
But even stranger, I’m moving into new genres. I’m working on a thriller under a pseudonym, which I’m hoping to get done soon, I’m moving into self publishing with the Ruby Tuesday novellas, and I’m working on what I call my ‘secret project’.
So I thought I’d share a little chunk of it here. It might be the opening, it might be featured later, it might not end up in it at all. But I’m very, VERY excited. And I’d love to hear what you think.
She was born on the back of an easterly wind, strong and insistent, on the longest day of the year. A child born on a solstice was magical enough, at least to those who honoured the old gods, but one born at three am, on the longest day? A child come at witching hour to bid farewell to the sunshine.
The elders of the town did not like that at all.
Father O’Connor liked it even less. He paid no mind to solstices and stone circles. It was that baby, born out of wedlock, to a mother who did not avert her eyes when he looked at her. That was what drove him to an intoxicating sort of madness.
Aoife Grace had long been a woman who vexed him, with that obstinate chin and that long dark hair, always falling over her face. She never bowed her head, never even attempted meekness or humility. She never said anything, just watched him watch her as her belly grew, and grew. She took pride in nourishing this life that was doomed to be sinful. She loved to wave it in his face, this flagrant disregard for his faith.
And still, she came, sitting in church every Sunday, even as her ankles swelled and her stomach heaved. She sat in the back row and watched him, and he knew she must be tearing apart each sermon, dismissing the words of God as he spoke.
Every Sunday, until that baby was born.
She came into the world in silence, no screams or cries. The midwife was concerned, but Aoife looked at her daughter and knew she was an old soul in a new body. She kissed her forehead, and looked into those dizzying, strange eyes, one green, one blue.
‘I will protect you, I will love you, I will give you my life. This is my vow.’
The baby gurgled and blinked, as babies do. People visited, as Aoife was young and pretty, and they wanted gossip as much as anything else. They commented on her unusual eyes, her strange stillness, that feeling that even though she was a baby, she understood what they were saying. It disturbed them, and they made their excuses, muttering to themselves that Father O’Connor must be right, and the child must surely be the devil’s daughter.
Or, put more simply:
On a sunny morning, in a tiny rural village in Ireland, Fionualla Grace was born.