Friday, April 20, 2012

The Irish Healer

Have you heard the buzz? "Engrossing." "Heartwarming." "Poignant." "Stirring." These are a few words I've heard flying to describe Nancy Herriman's debut novel The Irish Healer, released this month. Best-selling author Margaret Brownley deems it " . . . a perfect read." If you enjoy historical fiction, a captivating story, cheering others through their doubts and insecurities, you surely will agree.

So what's The Irish Healer about? Here's the official book description:

"Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities--or God's mercy--though when a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God's grace. Together, they will have to face their darkest fears . . . and learn what it means to have real faith."

Nancy joins us for a chat today, so please pull up a chair while I pour us all a spot of tea, and let's get to know her.

Welcome, Nancy! What inspired your imagination to give birth to Rachel’s personality and her particular problem?

When I was researching another novel, I came across the transcripts of a trial that had taken place in London’s Old Bailey. It concerned a woman who had been accused of killing a child she’d been taking care of. That woman’s tale (she was acquitted, by the way, on the coroner’s testimony that the child was sickly from birth) led me to wondering what ever happened to her in later years - how did she live within the community who had accused her? Did she feel guilt over the child? Was she a woman of faith who questioned God’s mercy? All of this led me to my Irish healer, Rachel Dunne.

You've woven such a beautiful story around this premise. The Irish Healer begins with an awesome hook: “My name is Rachel Dunne. I am not a murderer.” Complete this statement: “My name is Nancy Herriman. I am not a(n) _____.”

I am not an introvert!

I'm not sure Rachel is, either. At least she, a native of Ireland, found the courage in 1832 to move to England alone to begin a new life. Have you visited either or both of these countries?

I have never been to Ireland, but I have once visited England. I think I was stunned by just how beautiful the countryside is and how much variety there was in the few places we had a chance to visit. And the history….so very rich with it. I love Irish music and would dearly enjoy an opportunity to hear it in the country of its birth.

Speaking of these two countries, if tonight’s dinner menu offered only two options—fish and chips or corned beef and cabbage—which would you choose?

Sorry, Rachel - fish and chips.

How diplomatic, Nancy! You choose the food of England and the music of Ireland. Music seems to be a big part of your life. Your bio states you are very active in music ministry at your church. That comes with serious responsibilities, but can you share a time when humor ruled the day?

In my life, humor always rules the day, even during music ministry. Music is joy to me, the greatest expression of my faith, and I want everyone to feel that. We laugh often - over missed lyrics or mistaken notes or massive audio system failures that have forced us to nearly scream to be heard!

Which musical instrument could best express the tone of The Irish Healer and why?

The uilleann pipes, which are the Irish version of the bagpipe. I think they’re both mournful and moving.

Mournful and moving . . . like the music in your lovely and intriguing book trailer. Let's check it out.

If Rachel were here, what words of wisdom would she share with us about facing our fears?

Simple - trust in God. He may not provide the solution we seek, but He will provide the strength to endure.

That, He does! If God were to write a review of The Irish Healer, what do you hope He would say?

That He greatly enjoyed the themes of forgiveness and mercy and faith.

The Irish Healer certainly is rich with these themes. I enjoyed it tremendously! Finish this statement: "I write historical fiction because _____."

I love to escape the reality of modern-day life! The past has always, always intrigued me.

When you aren’t writing or participating in church activities, where are we most likely to find you?

At a local coffee shop with a friend or two. Probably talking about writing or singing!

What comes next for Author Nancy Herriman?

I am working on another book, completely unrelated to The Irish Healer, set in 1880’s San Francisco. A very different setting for me.

I'll be watching for it. Meanwhile, how might readers connect with you online?

They can reach me at my website at, or most easily at my author Facebook page,

Thanks, Nancy, for stopping by, and a special thanks for sharing your gift of writing.

The rest of you have grown so quiet. Must be my delicious tea. I'll top off your cup while YOU chime in. If you've read The Irish Healer, what did you enjoy most about it (without spoiling the plot for others, of course)?

In the novel, heroine Rachel Dunne shares the gift of healing, which has potential to bring a healing of her own. Have you ever set out to help someone and discovered that you were helped in the process? If so, please tell us about it in the comment section below. Share the gift!


About the Author: The Irish Healer is Nancy Herriman’s fourth completed manuscript, and it was runner-up in the Historical Fiction category of the 2009 ACFW Genesis contest. She also won the 2006 RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense and has been a finalist in other contests. Nancy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two teenagers, and is very active in the music ministry at her church.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Do You Feel It?

For once, this writer has no words--no words to fully express what Easter means to me. I could pen paragraphs, chapters, volumes attempting to convey it, but in the end, words alone could never be enough.

So abandoning words, I invite you to camp out with me here, at the foot of the Cross. Let's sit together in silence. Or kneel. Or fall prostrate. Contemplate Christ's sacrifice with me. Pray. Weep. Rejoice. Do you feel it? Do you feel His indescribable love?

Photograph by Diana Prusik

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).