"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
May 2003 Issue
Making Romance Magic!
Update: Deb Stover
Since publication of her first novel in 1995, Deb Stover has received many awards for her unique work, including the 1999 Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence, a 1998 Heart of Romance Readers' Choice Award, two Colorado Book Award nominations, and six ROMANTIC TIMES nominations. At last year's Booklovers Convention, she received the Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Innovative Historical. She has won more than a dozen other Readers' Choice Awards. Many of her novels have earned the ROMANTIC TIMES "Top Pick" rating, and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY called her "clever, original, and quick-witted."
PNR: MULLIGAN MAGIC is the sequel to the critically acclaimed MULLIGAN STEW. Although the marriage of Briget Mulligan to her soul mate Riley has ended the family curse,. For those who are not yet familiar with the previous tale, can you give us a little background on the Mulligan family curse?
Deb S.: In 1783, a servant of clan Mulligan named Bronagh fell in love with young Aidan Mulligan. However, Aidan was promised to another--a woman of his father's choosing. Aidan's heart, however, belonged to sweet Bronagh. On the day of Aidan's wedding, Bronagh went to his family's castle and begged to see him, but his father forbid it. The lass stole her way inside and to the tower of Caisleán Dubh, where she flung herself to her death. In a moment of sorrow, Bronagh's aunt--a powerful witch--cast an evil spell on the castle and on its occupants.
learn that there was a lot more to this story than the legend had
revealed. How does this relate to the scenario in the sequel? Tell
Deb S.: Father Fergus and Sinéad (the witch who cast the spell), were once young and in love themselves, long before Fergus committed himself to the church. Though MULLIGAN MAGIC is a contemporary novel, the story of Fergus and Sinéad's tragic love from the past is crucial to the story--and the curse--in the present.
PNR: In MULLIGAN STEW we met Maggie Mulligan, the younger sister of Riley and Briget’s late husband. Maggie was too young to have memories of her father falling victim to the Mulligan curse. For the most part she’d been a happy go lucky young lady. MULLIGAN MAGIC takes place after Briget and Riley are happily settled in Caisleán Dubh, and Maggie has returned home having graduated from university. What are her hopes for the future?
Deb S.: Maggie's greatest wish is to teach school in Ballybronagh, but the village lacks the funds to keep the local school open. Her family and the villagers vow to raise the money necessary to keep the school open, and she will be the teacher.PNR: What are Maggie's feelings about moving into the family castle?
Deb S.: Maggie has always had odd misgivings about the castle, and longs for the comfort of Mulligan Cottage, where she grew up. Caisleán Dubh was sealed over a century ago, due to the curse, and has only recently be reopened.
now, she suffers attacks of unexplainable anxiety each time she passes
PNR: Nick Desmond is American, a former NYC vice squad detective. Why now is his life’s ambition centered on revenge?
father was gunned down after Nick ignored warnings to discontinue
PNR: Nick now supports being what he calls a rent a cop. Why is his latest job offer ironic?
Deb S.: The woman hiring him for a one-year position as her bodyguard is the mother of Angelo Fazzini--the very same drug baron he holds responsible for his father's death.
PNR: What makes him decide to take the assignment in spite of his better judgment?
Maureen Fazzini promises him the one thing money can't buy--revenge.
She has the evidence Nick needs to put Angelo Fazzini Jr. behind bars,
PNR: Fazinni had been born in Ireland and it is there that she decides to make a new life for herself and her granddaughter. They chose the town of Nick’s ancestors rather than her own. Why?
Deb S.: Maureen believes it's safer there, because her son will have no reason to search for her there. He might possibly search for her in the county of her own birth, believing she could still have relatives there. She has no one in County Clare. With a new name, a new identity, and a new life, and having faked her own death, her son will never find her.
matriarch would like nothing better than to see Maggie happily settled
down with a nice man. So far Maggie has dodged the bullet. What is
Deb S.: Her eyes twinkled and she immediately started playing matchmaker.
PNR: Although his duties as a bodyguard have been so easy that Nick almost feels guilty about taking the money, how has this assignment complicated his life?
Deb S.: There's the matter of his employer's granddaughter, who believes Nick is her real cousin. Nick has to remind himself constantly that the child doesn't know Angelo Fazzini is her father. She's a sweet, eleven-year-old girl who knows nothing of her birth father's nefarious dealings, thanks to her grandmother's love, dedication, cleverness, and bravery. Furthermore, Nick begins to hear disturbing voices, particularly when he's near the ruins of the original church. Upon his first visit there he finds a silver crucifix hidden among the crumbled stones. He has a burning compulsion to keep it, even though the voices seem more bothersome when it's in his possession.
PNR: Do Maggie and Nick have that there is something more going on that their natural attraction for each other?
Deb S.: They both hear voices, though they don't realize this until much later. Maggie hears a voice she thinks of as "The Old One," and other voices that sound like chanting raised in anger. She can't understand the words, but they frighten her. Nick hears a man telling him to "Save her." And he hears another man's voice raised in anger, who always says, "Burn witch, burn."
PNR: Of course with Nick's past we know that a confrontation is inevitable. We don't want to give away the dramatic conclusion, so instead we’ll ask you to tell us about Maggie’s Wiccan friend Ailish. What is her part in the resolution of this story, and will we see a story for her sometime in the future?
Deb S.: Ailish is a favorite character of mine, and I did indeed have a third Mulligan story planned with her as the heroine. There is a long, lost Mulligan cousin named Casey who would be the hero. Alas, with the discontinuation of the "Irish Eyes" line, I doubt we'll ever see this book. Who knows? Perhaps someday I'll find a way!
Ailish was Maggie's roommate at university. They grew very close. When Maggie grows uneasy with the voices and has questions about what role they might play in the curse she believed was broken, she invites Ailish to visit her in Mulligan Cottage, where Maggie now lives. Ailish notes a correlation between the location of the ruins, the castle, and Mulligan Cottage, and suggests that Maggie read up on ley lines. Furthermore, she realizes that parts of Mulligan Cottage are much older than the century Maggie believes. Ailish is able to explain that some of Maggie's dreams aren't dreams at all--but visions which she should heed. She also hints of danger--something which surprises them both. And love--something that surprises neither of them, since Nick has become an ardent lover by now.
PNR: What is next for Deb Stover?
Deb S.: In February 2004, "Skin Deep" will be a novella included in IRRESISTIBLE FORCES--an anthology being published by Penguin (either under the Roc or NAL imprint) in trade paperback. Other authors in the anthology are Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jennifer Roberson, and Catherine Asaro. Needless to say, I'm very excited, honored, and humbled to be insuch incredible company!
Featured in this Issue:
MULLIGAN MAGIC - Maggie Mulligan was thrilled to be back in Ballybronagh, surrounded by her lively Irish clan. All she wanted was to rais enough money to keep th elocal school open so she could keep her teaching job. So why was she suddenly preoccupied with the mysterious new American who recently arrrived in Ballybrongh?
Working undercover had taken former New York City police detective Nick Desmond to Ballybronagh, where he planned to gather enough evidence to take down his father's killer. But wasn't long before Nick felt torn between his long held yearning for revenge and his overwhelming desire for the beautiful schoolteacher. If he wasnt' careful, his longing for Maggie would overtake him, generating repercussions that were far more dangerous than his original mission.
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