Character Interview: Shane MacDermott from Wild Geese


Hello, everyone, and Lana, thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to my first Wild Geese hero. He’s a very special man, and I hope you fall in love with him just as I did.

So without further ado, may I introduce Shane MacDermott?

Good mornin’, Cynthia, Lana, and all the friends I’ve not yet met. ’Tis pleased I am to be meetin’ all of you. (Smiles and winks) I understand you’re after askin’ me a few questions? ’Tis usually meself that’s doin’ the interrogatin’, bein’ as how I’m a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Force in New York City. What is it you’re wantin’ to know?

Well, to start with, since you’re Irish, when and how did you come to America?

(The smile quickly fades, and Shane’s face takes on a haunted look.) I came to America on a ship called the Sally Malone in 1847. Black ’47, we called it, and so it was, for ’twas the worst year of the hunger.

The ship was small, dark. Airless. We were crammed into its hold like cattle. There was only one privy for a hundred people. The smell of sickness was all around us. There were so many fevers, sure, you couldn’t name them all. People crying over the dead. They were tossed overboard like so much ballast, some without even the dignity of a shroud, because most of the passengers hadn’t a stitch of clothing to spare.

That sounds absolutely awful.

’Twas terrible, and not something I’ll ever forget.

You met your closest friends on that ship, though. Can you tell us what those friends mean to you?

(The ghost of a smile returns) A fine lot of starveling boys we were, getting into mischief in steerage on the ship. What was left of our families all settled into the same tumbledown shack of a tenement in the Five Points. We grew up together, and even though we’re all so different, we’ve stayed friends to this day.

’Twas the five of us: me, Kieran Donnelly and his twin brother, Cathal, Declan Morrissey and Dary Greely. But we were more than friends. We were brothers in the finest sense of that word. We became each other’s families. We’d lost so much already.

’Twas those four men who went to every one of my boxing matches, and the same men cheered me on when I won, and brought me home and patched me up when I lost. They kept me sane after my wife died givin’ birth to me daughter, Fiona, and they comforted and sustained me.

They’re my best friends, my family, and I thank God for them.

The Five Points is a pretty rough part of the city, yet you grew up and thrived. How did you do it?

Hugh Kelly. He saved my life. Hugh was my hero. To all intents and purposes, he was my father in America. Hugh was a big bear of a man…stood six-foot-three, with massive shoulders and arms. He’d been a blacksmith in Ireland. Had a thick mop of curly white hair, and his blue eyes were never without a spark of mischief. He took me in when my mother died, God rest her.

He was very special to you.

He was. He was a police officer here in New York—a good one—but before that, he was a championship boxer. Won his share of bouts, too, so he did. Lost a few before he retired and joined the police. Hugh was one of the finest men I’ve ever known.

Tell us more…

Hugh had a wonderful, fanciful sense of humor. It always amazed me that, despite the things he saw on the street, he could always find the joy in any situation. He was always ready with a joke, a story, or a song of the Ould Country. He loved music; said he could play the fiddle and the mouth organ ‘just enough to get by.’ And he loved to sing the old rebel songs of Ireland. He could sing The Minstrel Boy or The Wearin’ o’ the Green so sweet,‘twould bring the hardest man to tears. ’Twas him fired my friend Cathal Donnelly with his love of rebellion, though Hugh never advocated violence.

He was a gentle man. He might have looked like a bear, but he was kindness itself. His wife, Mairead, is a tiny thing, and you could tell how much he adored her. He was always so careful with her, as if he was afraid she might break if he held her too hard. ’Twas the same with his daughter—my wife, Mary.
Hugh knew everything about every family in the Five Points. All the kids called him Officer Hugh. He made it his business to know which families were in need, which were without a father, which of the lads was most at risk of getting into trouble. During his off-hours, he coached those boys in boxing, teaching them the moves, showing them how to defend themselves.

He brought me into the gym when I was just a boy, put me and my friend, Kieran into the ring together. (A grin) He always said Kieran and Cathal did enough fighting on their own; they didn’t need to be doing it in the ring as well. He showed me a few moves, a few punches. He thought I showed promise, and offered to train me. (His face darkens) When Ma fell ill with the fever, he sent Mairead to our tenement to nurse her and take care of me. And when she died, Hugh took me in. He gave me a home and a family, promised to look after me, as long as I did my schoolwork and stayed out of trouble. He was silent a moment. He and Mairead and Mary became the family I’d lost. (A long and painful pause) He was killed shortly after I joined the police.

What is your biggest regret?

I’ll always wish I could have taken care of my ma a little better. My baby sister and my brother died the first winter we lived in America, and I saw how much it hurt her. I used to lie on my straw pallet at night, listening to her weep and wishin’ I could make the hurt go away.

I did whatever I could—odd jobs in my spare time, tellin’ her funny stories of my friends and what was happening at school. She wanted me to have the education, wouldn’t dream of allowing me to leave school. But, sure, the hunger had weakened her, and when I was thirteen, she caught a fever—for there were many in that squalid tenement house where we lived. And she couldn’t fight it.

(A heavy sigh, then Shane forces a smile) But we go on. Sure, we have to go on. And I’d like to think Ma would have been proud of me. I’ve made a life here in America, a good life for myself and my daughter. I’ve a good job, good friends… And isn’t a little bit of happiness, a little bit of love, is all we can ask for in this world?
Shane, thank you for answering my questions today. And I hope it won’t be long before you find that love.
Sure, ’twas my absolute pleasure. (A cocky grin) And I’m hoping your readers will enjoy what’s to come in Deceptive Hearts.

Cover_Deceptive Hearts

Deceptive Hearts
by Cynthia Owens



…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?



“We meet again.” Shane kept his voice quiet so as not to frighten Mary Kate any further. He let his gaze rest on her for a long silent moment. He’d learned long ago that a piercing stare would make the guilty guiltier. Kieran once told him his stare could cut right though a Reb line to the
plantation they were set to defend.

“So we do, Officer…?” Lydia let her sentence trail off, obviously hoping he would offer the information she sought.

Ah, no, my lovely one. Not yet.

He kept his gaze on her face. “May I ask what you are doing—here?” Satisfaction gripped him as her lashes flickered and her hands clutched the folds of her gown more tightly. “The Five Points is hardly a neighborhood for a gently-bred young woman such as yourself to be taking a stroll.”

Behind him, Mary Kate’s breath caught on a sob. But he couldn’t spare her a look. Not yet. “What business have you with this young lady, Mrs…?”

Her chin jerked up, her eyes snapping as she refused the bait. Reluctant admiration curled in the pit of his stomach. He watched in fascination as she moved to place a gentle hand on the girl’s shoulder. “It is all right, Mary Kate. I understand why you feel you cannot leave your father.” To Shane, she said defensively, “I offered Mary Kate a position in my household, officer. I thought it might improve her circumstances.”



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.





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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.


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Meet Shane MacDermott! | Cynthia Owens Romance Writer
  2. Cynthia Owens
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 09:55:28

    Lana, thanks so much for having me today. I hope you and everyone else enjoy meeting my dear, sweet Shane! 🙂


  3. Betty Stoneburner
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 10:32:55

    WOW…..Shane is a man after me own heart!!! Such an amazingly real-to-life character. Are you sure you didn’t base him on someone you know?


    • Cynthia Owens
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 11:49:02

      Thank you, Betty, I’m pleased you enjoyed your “introduction.” As for basing Shane on someone I know, well, I like to tell my husband that all my heroes are based on him! 😉 Thanks for visiting me today!


  4. Goddess Fish Promotions
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:10:50

    Thank you for hosting


  5. Nicole Laverdure
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:31:07

    Hello Cynthia
    I love the interview with Shane MacDermott, he seems like a character of which I would love to read his story! I have only read one of your books “In Sunshine or in Shadow” and loved it very much. This was my first Ireland story. Looking forward to read Deceptives Hearts! Congratulations for the release of your book!


    • Cynthia Owens
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:34:27

      Nicole, so glad you enjoyed “In Sunshine or in Shadow.” “Deceptive Hearts” is a very different story, but I hope you like it just as much. Shane is indeed a very intriguing and magnetic character, and I loved writing his story! Thanks for visiting me here at Smoldering Romance.


  6. Rita Wray
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:05:44

    What a great post. I loved the interview, thank you.


    • Cynthia Owens
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:08:19

      Hi Rita, glad you enjoyed “meeting” Shane MacDermott. I hope it compels you to read his story – he really is quite a fascinating guy! 😉 Thanks for stopping by!


  7. ellaquinnauthor
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:12:45

    Fantastic interview, Cynthia. Shane sounds like an interesting man. Tweeted.


    • Cynthia Owens
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:21:48

      Thank you, Ella, and yes, I found Shane to be VERY interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed writing his story! 😉 Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the Tweet!


  8. Andra
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 16:09:28

    Thanks for sharing! I look forward to the rest of the tour!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com


  9. Kate
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 16:27:59

    Well, it’s the beginning of another week! I look forward to all the great posts and excerpts! Thanks so much for sharing and for the great giveaway!

    hense1kk (at) cmich (dot) edu


  10. drkatecollier
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 16:47:47

    Fantastic interview– so powerful listening in as an author and her character interact.


    • Cynthia Owens
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 16:49:23

      Glad you enjoyed the interview, Kate. Shane was a little reticent at first, but eventually I got him talking. Thanks for coming by!


  11. Catherine
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 01:21:55

    I love character interviews. They can really give a good feel for the character and the book.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com


  12. Cynthia Owens
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 03:47:30

    Lana, thanks again for having me on Smoldering Romance. I very much enjoyed meeting your readers! 🙂


  13. bn100
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 01:47:08

    Nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


  14. Cynthia Owens
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 11:01:19

    I’ve chosen the winners of my giveaways! Reader’s choice of any book in the Claddagh Series and a handmade ribbon bookmark goes to Andra Lyn!

    The beautiful wooden trinket box with the Trinity Knot applique on the lid pictured here and a handmade ribbon bookmark goes to Shelley S.

    Ladies, please e-mail me at with your snail mail addresses, and I’ll sen off your prize.

    Congratulations to you both, and thank you to everyone who visited me during this awesome tour!


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