Teresa Quinn interviews Paul B McNulty on “The Abduction of Anne O’Donel.”

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel was the subject of Teresa Quinn’s interview of Paul B McNulty on Liffey Sound 96.4 FM last Sunday. In a wide-ranging interview, Teresa explored the background to Paul’s second historical novel now available as an e-book on Club Lighthouse and as both an e-book and print book on Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Paul explained how his work was inspired by a genealogical study of the Anglo-Norman Lynches who settled in Galway. This led him to draft three historical novels, two of which have been published.

Later this year, he hopes to publish “The Bodkin Murders,” a story based on real events in mid-18th century Galway. Thereafter, he plans to write a play based on each novel using two male and two female characters in each case.

Paul was delighted to be invited onto Liffey Sound 96.4 FM, a Community Radio station since 2006. Based in Lucan, Co Dublin, Ireland, it is run by about 70 volunteers. It includes broadcasting hours of 4pm to 10pm weekdays and 8am to 10pm weekends.

Front cover of "The Abduction of Anne O'Donel" by Paul B McNulty.

The cover of a 75,000 word historical novel based on real events in late 18th century Ireland.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo where Anne O'Donel was imprisoned.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo where Anne O’Donel was imprisoned.

“The Abduction of Anne O’Donel” by Paul B McNulty

A beautiful heiress, a villainous lawyer, a scandalous abduction that shocks the country.

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel tells the story of a young heiress who refuses to marry the elderly Timothy Brecknock whom her father has chosen for her. Frustrated by her lack of interest, Brecknock abducts Anne to a remote island on Lough Conn hoping to win her heart with stories of romance, politics, Evangelicalism and alchemy. Believing that her secret betrothed, Jasper Martin, will find her, Anne plays a dangerous game as the story concludes with a murder, a famous trial and a wedding.

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel, is the second in a series of historical novels based on real events in late 18th century Ireland. It was a finalist in the 2013 William Faulkner Novel Competition. Three of its minor characters, Sibella Cottle, Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse and Ned Holian, will be familiar to readers of my first novel, Spellbound by Sibella.

The Abduction of Anne O’Donel is available as an e-book on Club Lighthouse Publishing, Canada and as both a print book and e-book on Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Front cover of "The Abduction of Anne O'Donel" by Paul B McNulty.

Front cover of a historical novel, a finalist in the 2013 William Faulkner Novel Competition, New Orleans.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo where Anne O'Donel was imprisoned.

Glass island on Lough Conn, Co Mayo, Ireland where Anne O’Donel was imprisoned.

Turning points in Irish history never tackled in literature

McNulty … by setting his stories against the backdrop of Irish historical events … not only educates the reader but also depicts many important turning points in Irish history which have never been tackled in literature …

I have been flattered by the foregoing comment on my novella, A Rebel Romance, which was reviewed by Bairbre Ní Bhraonáin in the Dublin Gazette on 27 February 2014.

In addition to my novella, her reference to my “stories” includes my debut historical novel, Spellbound by Sibella, which is available on Amazon and at other outlets including Club Lighthouse CLP and the Castle Bookshop, Castlebar.

Book cover for "A Rebel Romance" by Paul B McNulty

Book cover for “A Rebel Romance” by Paul B McNulty

Giveway of “A Rebel Romance” on English Historical Fiction Authors website

Paul B McNulty is giving away an e-copy of his recently published historical novella to an international winner. You can enter the contest by clicking on the English Historical Fiction Authors website.

A Rebel Romance deals with the fictional romance of John Moore of Moorehall, President of the momentary Republic of Connaught, with Cecilia Lynch, within the context of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Cecilia was the illegitimate daughter of Sibella Cottle and the late Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse, a member of the Irish Parliament from 1776 to 1783.

RebelRomance-page

 

 

 

5 star review for “Spellbound by Sibella” by Paul B McNulty

I was pleased to receive a 5 star review for my historical novel, Spellbound by Sibella, from Jack Hudson on Amazon.com. It runs as follows:

Fascinating, scandalous….

The story of Sibella and Sir Harry is a fascinating one. The political implications, the intrigues, the pressure on the weak Sir Harry to marry an heiress and desert his true wife and children – great stuff. The gruesome witchcraft adds to the drama, and gives an insight into the lives of the common people. Indeed, a lot of the story’s interest lies in the sense it gives of fidelity to the society it depicts: it’s based on true events, even if one hopes it’s not all true.

Fascinating, scandalous, mostly authentic…

“Spellbound by Sibella” is the debut historical novel written by Paul B McNulty based on real events in late 18th century Ireland.

Mayor Noreen Heston launches “Spellbound by Sibella.”

Mayor Noreen Heston kindly agreed to launch my historical novel in Castlebar, Co Mayo where I grew up as a boy having been a past-pupil of both St Patrick’s National School and St Gerald’s College. Presiding over the launch were David and Kathryn Brennan of the Castle Book Shop on Wednesday, 20 November 2013.

Paul B McNulty, author of the historical novel “Spellbound by Sibella” is flanked by his wife, Treasa, on the left and by Mayor Noreen Heston, in the middle, who launched his book in the Castle Book Shop, Castlebar, Co Mayo on Wednesday, 20 November 2013.

 

“Spellbound by Sibella” sold-out at book launches

The launches of my historical novel Spellbound by Sibella in Dublin, Galway and Castlebar were beyond expectation.  Even better were follow-up sales which moved my North America publisher to suggest that we might even “have a best seller in the works.”

We were delighted to have distinguished guests at the various launches: Sir Richard Hely Lynch-Blosse 17th Baronet of Oxfordshire did the honours in Dublin in the UCD Campus Bookstore where Philip Harvey presided on Thursday, 7 November 2013.  Sir Richard is a descendant of the male protagonist in the novel, Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse 7th Baronet of Balla, Co Mayo.

Ronnie O’Gorman, the well-known publisher and local historian, did the honours in Galway assisted by the Mayor of Co Galway, Liam Carroll of Oranmore in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Friday 15 November 2013.

Mayor Noreen Heston did the honours in Castlebar, Co Mayo where I grew up as a boy having been a past-pupil of both St Patrick’s National School and St Gerald’s College. Presiding over the launch were David and Kathryn Brennan of the Castle Book Shop on Wednesday, 20 November 2013.

I am now putting the final touches to a follow-up historical novel, The Abduction of Anne O’Donel, which I hope to publish in 2014. Some of the characters in Spellbound by Sibella have minor roles including Sibella Cottle, Sir Harry and Ned Holian.

Launch of "Spellbound by Sibella" by author, Paul B McNulty.

Paul B McNulty, author of the historical novel “Spellbound by Sibella” is flanked on the left by Ronnie O’Gorman, publisher and local historian, who launched the book and by the Mayor of Co Galway, Liam Carroll who presided over the proceedings in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway on Thursday, 15 November 2013.

Book launches for “Spellbound by Sibella” by Paul B McNulty

My historical novel, Spellbound by Sibella, recently published by Club Lighthouse CLP, Canada will be launched in November as follows:

Dublin  The Campus Bookshop, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, 6pm, Thursday, 7th November. Sir Richard Hely Lynch-Blosse, 17th Baronet to launch.

Galway  Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, The Cornstore, Middle St, Galway, 6pm, Friday, 15th November. Historian, Ronnie O’Gorman to launch.

Castlebar  Mayo Books, Castle Street, Castlebar, Co Mayo, 7pm, Wednesday, 20 November. Mayor Noreen Heston to launch.

Any interested person is more than welcome to attend any one of these launches.

Five star review

“This is a real gem of a book. It’s the story of a gutsy heroine, Sibella Cottle, and what she has to do to keep lack lustre Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse and father of her children from deserting her and marrying rich heiress Lady Harriet.
It’s a really unusual story involving religion, politics (Sir Harry is a member of Parliament), intrigue and deception. The heart of the story is how Sibella resorts to witchcraft in the end.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Recommended.”

Cover image for "Spellbound by Sibella"
A portrait of Miss Constable by George Romney circa 1787 courtesy of the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.

 

The Flaying of Human Skin

The flaying of human skin, featured in a Whitechapel episode on ITV (18 September 2013), reminded me of the Judgment of Cambyses, an amazing 1498 portrait by Gerard David. It depicted the punishment of a corrupt Persian judge by flaying him alive. Now hanging in the Groeningemuseum in Bruges, the portrait was intended to remind the aldermen of the city to remain uncorrupted.

A different perspective arises in my historical novel, Spellbound by Sibella, where the skin of a human corpse has been flayed to make a powerful love charm. Known as the spancel of death, Alf MacLochlainn has described it as “an unbroken hoop of skin cut with incantations from a corpse across the entire body from shoulder to footsole and wrapped in silk of the colours of the rainbow and used as a spancel to tie the legs of a person to produce certain effects of witchcraft.”

Wrought by Witchcraft

The reputed spellbinding of Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, County Mayo, Ireland by his mistress, Sibella Cottle  has been described by Matthew Archdeacon and more recently by Paul B McNulty in his debut novel, Spellbound by Sibella.  Sibella used the spancel, a powerful love-charm to spellbind Harry circa 1780. Judy Holian, a reputed witch prepared the spancel using skin from the exhumed corpse of a young girl according to T H Nally.

Caesar Otway confirmed the use of the spancel to spellbind men through research in Belmullet, County Mayo. He found that three local girls made matches above their station when using a spancel cut from the corpse of a Trappist monk. Protestant girls ‘of a better sort’ also used a practice that may have originated in 16th century England.

Lady Wilde tells the story of ‘The Fatal Love-Charm’ in which a servant girl of modest looks spellbound her widowed master using a spancel. Exactly one year and a day after her marriage, the spancel was accidentally burnt in her wardrobe. The spell was broken. The master now hated her. Despised and isolated, she died half-mad before the year was out, a conclusion drawn by T H Nally for the fate of Sibella Cottle in his 1916 drama The Spancel of Death.

“Spellbound by Sibella” featuring Miss Constable by George Romney circa 1787, courtesy of the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.