Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Troubles by Connie Johnson Hambley

Connie Johnson Hambley grew up on a small dairy farm just north of New York City. In 1965, an arsonist burned her family's barn to the ground. From that experience grew the story that became "The Charity." Hambley writes about strong women from their perspective in situations that demand the most from them. No special powers, no gadgets, no super human abilities. Just a woman caught up or embroiled in something that she has to get out of, hopefully alive. Every bit of personal experience is used to create a story that is as believable as it is suspenseful. Using her law and investment background in ways unique, creative, but not altogether logical, Hambley has enjoyed robust professional pursuits that include writing for Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Nature Biotechnology. Experience at a major bank in Boston introduced her to clever schemes dreamed up to launder money.

Connect with the Author

She has one public event and several private events each month. Check out her Events tab on her website for more information!

About the Book

"The Troubles" is a high-concept suspense novel that views the conflict in Northern Ireland through the prism of American involvement. This sweeping, multi-generational tale gives witness to the delicate and dangerous layers inside an ever-unfolding world. Jessica Wyeth refuses to be a fugitive hiding under assumed identities. Through sheer grit, she struggles to reclaim her life only to discover what she wants is an illusion. She is not the child of the picture-perfect New England family, but an unwanted castaway. Her frail and reclusive aunt died without exposing the secret that she was Jessica’s mother. Jessica travels to Ireland—her mother’s home—to learn why. When Jessica rides in a world-class steeplechase, she is unwittingly used as an accomplice in a devastating bombing in an English shopping mall. The group behind the bombing is the Charity, a generations old support network of the IRA. Michael Conant, reluctant heir to the Charity and Jessica’s lover, must choose his allegiance to his violent family legacy or the woman he loves. Meanwhile, Jessica’s fight for her life leads her to uncover her mother’s secrets and the divided soul of the Irelands.

Get it today on Amazon!

If you haven't read it yet, you can also get the first book in the series, The Charity, on Amazon!

An Interview with Jessica Wyeth, the main character from The Troubles:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

Oh, er, you've already stumped me. I thought I was born in the US to Margaret and Jim Wyeth. Turns out, Margaret and my mother, Bridget, were sisters. Bridget gave me away so I could be brought up in a little town just north of Boston, Massachusetts. My family raised and raced thoroughbreds and our farm there was considered one of the best anywhere. I was a bit of a hellion, so having lots of space around me was perfect. Growing up there, I know now, was a gift I'm very grateful for.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

It has to be riding bareback along the beaches near my home. I would scare my parents to death with crazy stunts, but I knew I could handle any horse even before I was eight years old. Riding horses through any kind of terrain was a huge rush for me. Still is.

Who was your best friend growing up?

Geez! These questions! You're killing me here! Anna was my partner in crime in all things "Stupid Teen." We would skip school and the cops would find us and bring us home. Hiding in the hayloft and listening to conversations was the best. She was the best. I'll never forgive myself for her death.

If you could compare yourself to someone from another novel, who would it be? What are your similarities and differences?

Whoa, boy. I feel like my world is one big tornado with me swirling around inside of it. Maybe I'm like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz." No sooner do I settle into a place that things start happening to me that I have to make sense of. Dorothy didn't get rattled and stayed focused on getting herself back to Kansas. I'm doing the same thing, but I don't know where my "Kansas" is.

Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?

That's just it. I'm not sure who my enemies are. When I was 21, I witnessed a murder. A Boston cop and wealthy businessman framed me for it and tried to have me killed. They killed Anna instead. I thought I was in the clear, but I've been attacked and kidnapped, my barn was set on fire, and I have the feeling more people hate me for reasons I barely understand. I REALLY hate reporters. They're bottom-dwelling blood suckers who hound me for a scoop. I just want to be left alone.

Who do you most admire? Why?

I admire my biological mother, Bridget. What I saw as weakness was true strength and grace in the face of unimaginable pain. Now that I know what happened, I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate what she did for me.

Did you have a close relationship with your family?

Yes. I loved Margaret and Jim as any kid would love her parents. I had a special needs sister, too, named Erin. I loved them each very much and I felt cherished by them. I was closer to the Wyeth's than I was to my Aunt Bridget. Margaret, Jim, and Erin were killed in a car accident when I was ten years old and Aunt Bridget came to live with me on the farm. She was pretty frail and I gave her a run for her money by skipping school and all the stuff that goes with being a teen. I didn't get to know her well.

What is your greatest fear?

I have two fears. The first is that I'll never be safe. What I've seen and knowing who my real parents are, I think that my mere existence is a threat certain groups can't tolerate. My second fear is that I'm in love with the wrong man. As much as he tries to protect me, the closer I get to him, the more evil enters my life. I'm terrified.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Things are not always what they appear to be. Stay diligent.

Where is the best place to visit? What places should visitors avoid?

I've lived all over the US and love the west. My new farm in the hills of Kentucky is the only place I can call home now. I loved my time in the Irelands, though. The stone circle by my cottage in north west Ireland is an enchanted place. You have to go there yourself to feel the energy of it. At the heart of Northern Ireland is Lough Neah. I've spent many wonderful hours exploring it's shores.

Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

My passion is riding and training and horses. I'm good at it. Really, really good.

Have you ever been in love? How did that work out for you?

Yeah. Michael Conant. Or is his name Connaught. We understand one another because our pasts are something we have to deal with and separate from. I'm not sure he's as determined to have his own life as I am.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

Jeans. Man-tailored cotton buttoned-down shirt. Maybe tucked in. Maybe not. Boots, sometimes western. Belt is usually a stirrup leather. Hair pulled back with a leather lace. My fingernails are always dirty.

What is your favorite food?

Coffee. Lots of it.

Would you ever or have you ever lied? How do you feel about lying?

Hell yeah, I've lied plenty. When you are framed for murder and your face is plastered everywhere, you learn how to survive. Changing my appearance and names and learning how to lie is essential for survival.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I would spend it with my mother, Bridget. I would thank her and tell her I love her. I would tell her I'm sorry for all the s@@t I gave her. I would listen to the stories of her life without judgement. I would hug her and kiss her.

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