25 March 2013

Meet our Contributors: J.S. Dunn

Author J.S. Dunn

Book List

In honor of March and St. Patrick’s Day, the normally reticent J.S. Dunn offers the following ramblings:

My fifteen minutes of fame flashed by long ago, in winning a state spelling competition in sixth grade via the televised final round. Spelling ability is one result of reading nonstop from a tender age. So much for early fame.

It would be difficult to name hobbies, as a hyperactive type who doesn’t understand the term free time. Much time is devoted to research and writing. Other than that, the favorite is gardening. My favorite season is gardening weather! Favorite place to travel is anywhere to research the next novel. The seasons spent living in Ireland to garden also made the debut novel Bending The Boyne a reality. People ask, what was it like having a country house in Ireland.

Each sunrise wakened a fresh glee, like being a child again. One doesn’t know what any given day in emerald Eire will hold. A big salmon once landed on my kitchen floor, a gift tossed inside from a fellow who’d been openly poaching fish from me. One of the horses that boarded on my paddocks placed in the Grand National race and that was exciting. Eire’s wonderful people were the best part. A 92-year-old stonemason who’d walked to work every day of his life, soft-spoken and proud, well read, and a true gentleman. Bits from him went into the Dagda’s character. A six-year-old neighbor lad had a razor-keen wit; he was written into young Aengus.

The second novel is in progress, about a doomed warrior-lord at Tara and set at 1600 BCE during Eire’s Bronze Age. A third novel is outlining itself in my head, set at the end of the Bronze Age as iron comes into use.

So many topics, so little time! Improved and new methods in archaeology have accelerated the discoveries in the past ten years. Archaeologists’ vision of the ancient Isles has changed. Why can’t popular literature keep pace rather than recycling 19th century thinking? Using discredited or outmoded assumptions does the public a disservice. (How many druid spinoffs can the market absorb?) Someone should write an updated Stonehenge tale based on recent digs there and new findings. There’s the challenge: use the new paradigm and break some new ground.

Unusual Historicals is one of the few HF blogs that I follow, for its range of subject matter, and I’m grateful for its contributors and the readers.

*slan* and happy St Patrick’s Day (belated)

J.S. Dunn lived in Ireland during the past decade, on 12 lovely acres fronting a salmon river. The author continues to research and travel the Atlantic coasts and recently  enjoyed wonderful seafood on the Cotes d’Armor, and in Cornwall, and at the famed Lobster Pot restaurant in County Wexford, Ireland.

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