Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi separated them.
That root of bitterness keeps them apart until a letter from Keith’s grandmother, Ruth, draws Naomi to Londonderry to find she’s too late. Ruth has passed on. After the death of his beloved grandmother, Keith has also come to Londonderry only to open the door to his past…Naomi…beautiful as ever, the girl who broke his heart.
A mysterious painting in Ruth’s attic brings up questions about their grandparents’ entwined past and their own broken romance. But more comfortable with the unspoken languages of art and music, Naomi and Keith find it difficult to share their old hurts and true feelings.
Will the majestic coastline of Northern Ireland inspire them to speak the words to bring peace to their grandparents’ memory and to rekindle love?
Targeted Age Group:: 17 – 75
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When I saw the submission call on Pelican Book Group for a new line of books called Passport to Romance I got excited. I was born in N. Ireland and wanted to be the author to write the story they were requesting set in the Irish city of Londonderry. I had been to Londonderry and was fascinated by their medieval stone walls, and of course by my own Irish ancestry.
Many of the conversations in the book, the humorous ones especially between the two Irish cousins (secondary characters) were taken directly from real-life dialogue. I figured if my Irish cousins had me laughing, their turns of phrase would make my readers laugh too.
I also wrote the setting of the book (especially the romantic scene) on the majestic coastline of N. Ireland, in a famous spot called The Giant’s Causeway. I wanted my readers to see a little of the beautiful country I was born in.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The secondary characters came quite quickly to me. I used aspects of my real-life cousins to flesh them out. None of my characters are ever copies of real people, just aspects of them.
My main characters took a while to develop. I like fully rounded characters with complete backstories, but both Keith and Naomi’s artistic natures were taken from myself (who used to paint) and my son who is a musician.
I wanted to convey the artistic means of music and painting as another form of communication. I twisted that plot idea by giving Keith and Naomi their individual struggles to actually speak the truth out loud. That it was this very inability that broke up their original romance from a few years ago.
The book is about learning to speak the truth in love.
Blowing wind and the keening of puffins and other seabirds were the only sounds.
At the bottom of the cliff the ground grew rough where the inlet opened up. Forty thousand, interlocking, basalt columns—the result of ancient volcanic eruptions—stood up from the crashing sea. A handful of tourists scampered from column to column that in all created a small hill.
Keith had eyes only for Naomi, standing with her hands tucked into her jacket pockets, her slender shape in faded jeans, her blond, chin-length hair kissing her cheeks. Without a word, he took her hand to help her climb over the columns to stand on one of the highest and closest to the ocean. Waves spewed upward as the surf surged and swirled around the causeway, and she released his hand to grab hold of him around the waist.
Laughter rippled from her as each wave hissed and lapped at the column.
“You remember the legend?” He wrapped his arms around her, clasping his hands at her back to hold her close.
“About Finn McCool’s fight with the Scottish giant across the sea who hurled an insult at the great Irish warrior?”
“Yeah, that’s the guy. Good old Finn McCool. Then the two giants picked up pieces of rock and started to pelt each other with great hunks of land. Thereby creating this fine piece of landscape we’re standing on. Nothing at all to do with any geological phenomenon.”
She laughed up at him, setting his heart to swell. “No of course not.”
He drew her closer so that his chin grazed her cheek, his voice going husky. He was going to take this moment no matter what. “Who cares about logical, scientific explanations when there’s a romantic legend instead?”
Her hands at the base of his spine opened up and flattened against his back. “There are times when logic should simply be ignored,” she whispered while lowering her lashes. Her eyes fluttered open. “Don’t you think?”
If he moved, lowered his head two inches, their lips would touch. This was what he wanted with all his heart. What he’d anticipated. She stood warm in his arms, her face lifted to his. Just like five years ago. “Do you remember the last time we stood together on this coast?”
“Yes.” Her sea-gray eyes grew wide, her mouth tremulous.
Barely able to breathe, he pulled her closer and bent his head to brush his lips across hers.
At the meeting of their mouths, all thought left him. His heart drummed in rhythm to the pulsing sea around them as her lips moved with his. Though his feet were firmly planted on the column, he felt it as he and Naomi swayed. He caught her closer still, bracing their weight with his stance. A tingle ran along his spine as her hands moved upward along his back, pulling him deeper into her embrace.
Her breath hitched, uneven, like his. A small sigh escaped her when they parted for only a moment. They came together, and he kissed her again, longer, slower.
At last they stood apart, her hands grasping his forearms that held her from him, supporting her. He slowly exhaled, and sunlight danced inside him at the euphoria awash on her face. Her lips parted, her eyes half closed, she swayed again, and he wanted to scoop her up into his arms and lay her down somewhere soft, warm and cozy, and never let her go.
It seemed forever before she spoke. With a little swallow she smiled up at him. “I always did lose my mind when you kissed me.”
His hands moved up her arms to cup her shoulders. “That goes two ways.”
She cleared the huskiness from her throat, but remained quiet. Nor did he feel the desire to talk. At this moment they didn’t need words. If only they could just keep on communicating in this language.
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