Northern Ireland, 1972. On the Crumlin Road, Belfast, the violent sectarian Troubles have forced Tom Martin to take drastic measures to protect his family. Across the divide William McManus pursues his own particular bloody code, murdering for a cause. Yet both men have underestimated the power of love and an individual’s belief in right and wrong, a belief that will shake the lives of both families with a greater impact than any bomb blast.
This is a compelling, challenging story of conflict between and within families – driven by religion, belief, loyalty and love. In a world deeply riven by division, how can any individual transcend the seemingly inevitable violence of their very existence?
I have had the pleasure of meeting Deirdre and her Husband and I am delighted to welcome her here today to explain about where and how the ideas for Eden Burning were formed.
The Making of “Eden Burning” – Deirdre Quiery
“Eden Burning” started as a flicker of an idea almost fifteen years ago. I remember sitting on a red sofa in Oxford watching logs sizzle in the inglenook fireplace. My mother walked into the sitting room holding a plastic bag filled with letters which I had written to her from University in the 1970s. She said,
“You have to do something with these.”
She smiled at me. It was one of those smiles in which a bond is created – a conspiracy even – to which no-one else is invited. I took the bag from her.
I wonder what she would now make of “Eden Burning”. I think she would like it. She would see herself in there – not as Rose or Eileen or Lily – but she would know that she was there.
In the plastic bag stuffed with letters still in their envelopes were stories which I told to my mother in the days before the internet – stories of University, of friends and expeditions – which I knew would provide a relief from the reality of Belfast in the 1970s. I knew the importance of being an “entertainer” in a crisis. There were also in the bag some letters which my mother had written to me. It is strange to see a person’s hand writing on a page when they are dead. The writing seems every bit as unique as a fingerprint, louder than a spoken word and more visual than their face in front of you. I filed the letters in date order and wondered what I could do with them.
The letters came with me to Mallorca when in 2001 my husband and I decided to come here, leaving the security of full-time employment, the company cars and more importantly friends. We sold our house, gave away all our possessions, boarding a plane for Mallorca with two suitcases and our cat Ziggy.
We rented a house in an olive grove, high in the mountains above Soller. There was no running water. A lorry delivered water once a month, winding its way around the twenty seven bends to the house. There was no fixed line telephone and no television. There was no work. I felt for the first time in my life rooted in the earth. There were no neighbours – only sheep. I had time to look at the orange blossoms change into a small green fruit which grew in size and changed in colour. I marvelled at life. Everything seemed miraculous. Clouds appearing, disappearing, birds singing, dogs barking. Everything was imbued with a sense of wonder. I felt a part of it all – a part of nature. I knew myself to be connected to the earth.
I opened the filed letters which my mother had given me. I began to write “Eden Burning.” I didn’t want to write an autobiography about Belfast during the 1970s. I did want to honour the spirit of the people who had suffered and who I had met. I wanted “Eden Burning” to offer something positive to the world. There is nothing so dark that cannot be turned into light. There is always hope because fundamentally everything is good as Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
― Julian of Norwich
― Julian of Norwich
About the Author:
Based in Mallorca where she runs Seven Rocks Consulting, a leadership development consultancy she founded with her husband, Deirdre brings her vast experience of emotional intelligence and mindfulness to bear in her creative endeavours. Taking inspiration from experience, Deirdre has not only painted with Argentinian artist Carlos Gonzalez in Palma and Natalia Spitale in Sóller, she is also a winner of the Alexander Imich Prize in the US for writing about exceptional human experiences, and the Birmingham Trophy Prize in the UK.
Eden Burning is Deirdre’s first novel and is shaped by her experiences growing up in Belfast during the Troubles. She is already working on her second novel, Gurtha.
There is a wonderful competition below to win a Paperback of Eden Burning and an Exclusive Print of the above art. Done by our very own Deirdre's hands. My thanks to Urbane Publications for running this competition.