Friday, August 2, 2013

Deceptive Hearts

Today's very special guest is Cynthia Owens. In her own words, she says:

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. My novels, In Sunshine or in Shadow and Coming Home, set in post-Famine Ireland, are available from Highland Press. Playing For Keeps, the third book in the Claddagh series, is now available from Highland Press.

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two school-aged children.


I love all things Irish and would love to know why you chose to write about Irish immigrants?

I love all things Irish too, and have since I was a young girl, so it just felt right that, when I decided to write my first novel, it should be about Irish characters. My first series of books, The Claddagh Series, has been set mostly in post-Famine Ireland, a period that has always fascinated me.

But after I’d written the first three books in that series, I began to wonder what might have happened to those Irish men, women and children who had been forced to leave Ireland during that terrible time. Where did they go? How did they survive? Did they prosper in the New World, or were they beaten down by the hardships they experienced there?

I hope my Wild Geese Series answers some of those questions.

How did you choose the time/era? What was it about that era that attracted you?

I chose to set Deceptive Hearts just after the American Civil War because it was the time when my heroes would have grown to manhood. It was also a fascinating time, because so much in their world was changing. But mainly, it was to accommodate my heroes.

When I was writing Coming Home, Book II of The Claddagh Series, my hero, Cavan Callaghan, was a veteran of Thomas Francis Meagher’s Irish Brigade. I found the stories of the Irish Brigade, particularly their exploits in the American Civil War, fascinating. The Irish who fought in the war were not only fighting for the new country that had taken them in, but also to prove that, as a people, they could fight for something (America), and not just against something (the British). It was an interesting dichotomy, and I enjoyed exploring it in the Wild Geese stories. I’m very proud of all of my veterans.

Why did you select New York as the backdrop for the Irish boys who grew to manhood there?

New York was the gateway to America for most of the Irish famine refugees. They stepped off the filthy, overcrowded coffin ships onto American soil, and they believed they’d been handed the key to a new and better life.

Of course, that wasn’t necessarily the case, and that’s what made it so fascinating. Take my Wild Geese. Shane MacDermott, hero of Deceptive Hearts, was a boxing champion who became a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department. His closest friend, Kieran Donnelly, is an artist (though right at the moment he has … well, let’s call them “creativity issues”). Declan Morrissey became a doctor, and Dary Greely has helped to make his family’s construction company a success. Then there’s Cathal Donnelly, who drifted from one job to another and never settled on any one thing.

New York was an exciting city then, as it is today, and I wanted my Wild Geese to experience everything it had to offer.

Was there a specific one of the five who spoke more to you than others?

 Definitely! Although I’m a little bit in love with all five of the Wild Geese, I think my rebel hero, Cathal Donnelly, captured my heart. Like me, he’s a romantic, a story teller, a dreamer of dreams. He’s passionate about the things he believes in – and in his case, that’s the cause of Irish freedom – and he’s totally committed to them, even to the point of recklessness.

There’s also a melancholy streak in Cathal that speaks to me. He’s gentle and kind, sweet, but moody and distant, with a quick temper that can ignite at a moment’s notice. And he’s got a silver tongue that can seduce a woman without her even realizing it.

Will there be more about these five young men? What are you working on next?

You’ll definitely be seeing more of the Wild Geese. In fact, I’m thrilled to announce that Keeper of the Light, Cathal Donnelly’s story, will be published by Highland Press. I don’t have a release date yet, but let me tell you a little bit about Cathal’s adventures.

Cathal is a handsome, mercurial storyteller with Fenian leanings. There’s something big coming up in the Fenian community, and you can bet he’s eager to be a part of it.

But…something goes wrong, and he finds himself on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he was in a boat that capsized in a wild Atlantic sea storm. The only thing he knows is that he’s desperately attracted to his beautiful rescuer…even though she’s as English as the British soldiers who drove Cathal and his family from Ireland’s green shores during the famine.

I’m really excited about Keeper of the Light because it allowed me to combine some of my favorite things: Irish history, Irish mythology, and a very important, but little-known piece of Canadian history. You might say I’m showing my Canadian pride with this book, and I can’t wait to see Cathal’s story in print!


…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…

He survived war, and returned to devastation.

A hero of the Irish Brigade, Shane MacDermott returned home to New York to find his family decimated and his world shattered.

She risks her life to save the people she loves.

Lydia Daniels will risk anything to protect the women she shelters beneath the roof of her elegant Gramercy Park mansion—even if she has to trust the one man who can destroy her.

Shane and Lydia both hide secrets that could destroy them – and put their lives in jeopardy. Can their love overcome their carefully guarded deceptive hearts?

Tag line from front cover: He’d vowed to protect those he loved – but can he protect the woman who came to mean everything to him?


Something wasn’t right.

Shane strode through the dark, damp autumn night, memories of the woman he’d seen near Nan Daly’s room still niggling at him. Her story about bringing food to one of the neighbors didn’t ring true.

Hugh had once told him, “If something feels wrong, lad, sure  there must be a reason for it. Listen to your instincts.”

Shane’s instincts screamed out that something wasn’t right.

A picture of the woman floated before him. She was the loveliest thing he’d ever seen, with her honey-blonde hair piled carefully atop her head, her mysterious gray eyes shrouded by that little wisp of a veil on the pretty hat she wore. Had he caught a whiff of roses emanating from her delicate peaches-and-cream skin? Her hands, long-fingered, elegant hands, a lady’s hands, had been encased in white lace gloves that would feed a family hereabouts for a month. And her gown… Shane knew nothing about fashion, but that silk and lace confection must have cost someone a pretty penny.

And the figure that gown concealed was enough to send a man’s wits astray.

But an angel of mercy? Shane doubted it. She’d seemed too jumpy, too eager to get away from him. Why? True, he’d been wearing his uniform, but a woman like that had to be wealthy and well-connected. Sure, she’d have nothing to fear from the law.

He shook his head, dismissing the woman from his mind, and turned to race up the steps to his flat.


Cynthia will be awarding a Grand Prize of a wooden trinket box with the Trinity Knot applique on the lid - US/Canada only, and a handmade ribbon bookmark to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. A second prize of a Reader's Choice of The Claddagh Series books (In Sunshine or In Shadow, Coming Home, or Playing For Keeps), and a handmade ribbon bookmark will be awarded to another randomly drawn commenter.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: