Dr. Owen Whelan and his wife Sarah, both Irish immigrants, have been living the American dream, as well as raising seven bright and expressive children. However, their youngest, Ennis, has since birth, been a bit of a mystery. Ennis was always small, meek and frightfully odd, but there is so much more to him than anyone could have imagined. His sister Teagan grows increasingly suspicious of his behavior, but their mother dismisses her claims, until the day he starts healing people. When Ennis ultimately reveals the gift of sight, he questions his father about visions of his past, including his voyage to America in 1844. Owen prayed he’d never have to share those tragic memories, but he will share them when he realizes he has no choice. Ennis’ life may depend on it.
“It was intense. It was raw. It was emotional. It was an all around beautifully touching story. I couldn’t get enough of it!”
“I found myself fully invested in the more magical, sacred elements of the story.”
“So well written with many quotes or phrases that really spoke to me.”
When Owen Whelan revealed his secret, he was set free from a haunting past and an uncertain future for his son, Ennis. However, in order to know the true depths of his heart, Owen must go all the way back to a dirt road on a chilly and bitter spring dawn in Ireland. Behind the locked doors of his memories and hidden beneath shame, hunger and eventually escape, he learns the true meaning of the proverb, “There’s hope from the ocean but none from the grave.” Owen’s journey is one of survival, love, and finding a life of self-respect.
“Spanning time and distance from Ireland to America, this story of love and loss, determination and mystery is captivating.”
CIR: How did you go about writing Fireflies and its prequel?
BARTLETT: First, I began seeing Ennis in my mind and the story of his abilities. From there, a kind of amazing thing happened where I sat down to write the story and it just flowed. I had to stop myself though and get deep into the research. I knew the who, what, when, where and why, but it’s all the details and subtleties that matter in character driven stories. I don’t have flash and robots and dragons to keep you turning pages. You have to feel what I’m trying to convey, and that takes a good deal of love and time to develop. Other than that, strong coffee and lots of lost sleep.
CIR: What would you compare this book to?
BARTLETT: To quote one of my reviews, “Somewhere between an Irish Little Women, Little House on the Prairie and its own story. It has the same rustic appeal, with the story relying on the characters to carry it.” This review also gives you a good idea of the kind of stories these are: “The Whelans are by and large innocents, in the way the Waltons were. And speaking of classic television, for fans of Highway to Heaven, Touched by an Angel, and Ghost Whisperer [before it went off the rails and become about other things than the unwavering love of the husband and wife despite her abilities] you can’t do any better.”
CIR: What would you say makes your books unique?
BARTLETT: I feel both books are unique in that they are stories about life. Yes, there is a paranormal element, but at the core of these books is family, sacrifice, struggle and above all love. What makes them unique is they don’t rely on fantastic elements to hold your interest. These characters are as close to your brothers and sisters and friends as you may be able to get in a novel. To me, they are very real and that is the kind of feedback I continuously receive.
CIR: Is there any content that some readers might find questionable despite the overall “clean” feel of the book?
BARTLETT: In Fireflies, the eldest son is in love with a sweet young woman who he has asked to marry him. During their courtship, after a dramatic scene where a family secret is exposed, she turns to him and there is a love scene. There is no detailed or graphic content and the language is not sensual, but the act of intercourse is clearly implied.
CIR: Is there more coming?
BARTLETT: Hopefully yes! Depending on how well Hope From the Ocean is received, I’m planning on doing a series of novellas or an entire sequel of the next chapter in the Whelan family saga.
Learn more about P. S. Bartlett and her writing at her author website.