26 February 2021

Special Guest Post by Juliane Weber, Author of Under the Emerald Sky: A tale of love and betrayal in 19th century Ireland


Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Ireland, 1843: Alannah O’Neill is feeling trapped. Under the thumb of her controlling brother, she finds herself contemplating the meaninglessness of her existence. Her life takes an abrupt turn with the arrival of the Englishman Quinton Williams on the neighbouring estate. Alannah feels drawn to Quin but knows that her brother hates the English and all they stand for. So she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret. Can Alannah and Quin find happiness amid those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors?

The mind is a curious thing… 

We’ve all heard this saying before, and it is most certainly true of my mind too. I had just moved halfway across the world when I suddenly found myself desperately wanting to write a book. How peculiar!, I hear you say. And you would be right, particularly so as I had ended up moving to a town that I’d never before heard of, with two children under the age of five, a dog and a cat that had made the trip with us, and a husband who was having to spend most of his time away from home for work. Clearly, I was in serious need of a distraction and evidently, writing a novel was just the thing!

The spark of an idea

I had thought of writing a novel before being gripped by the sudden, mad desire to do so after relocating to another country. Previously, though, I had only gotten as far as deciding that it would be a historical fiction novel and had no idea when or where the story would take place. Searching for inspiration I read about the Great Famine in Ireland in the 19th century and was immediately attracted to this historical setting. I liked the idea of the 19th century; I liked the idea of Ireland, with its beautiful scenery and its myths and legends; and I liked the idea of writing about something that hadn’t been written about as frequently as other historical events. So, I thought, why not? 

The story takes shape

I soon immersed myself in my research, trying to get to grips with the historical, social and religious underpinnings of the tragedy that was the Irish Famine. The luscious green hills of Ireland would provide an excellent backdrop, I decided, and the injustices that pervaded the land in the 19th century supplied plenty of literary fodder. And to add a little more conflict? Why not an English hero and an Irish heroine, who happens to have a brother who doesn’t like the English one bit! Perfect, I thought, and got to work, and so, Under the Emerald Sky was born.   

What’s next?

Once I started working on Under the Emerald Sky, the ideas just kept coming. So much so that I realised early on that I wasn’t writing just one novel, but an entire series of books set in Ireland around the time of the Great Famine. I immediately had plenty of ideas for the second book, which I am working on now. This onslaught of creativity was so thrilling at first that I could barely stop myself from writing, using every spare moment to jot down a few more words. Things have slowed down a little, though, with both children now in primary school and (usually!) plenty of activities lined up in the afternoons. For the second novel, I find that I need to schedule writing time during my day. That makes it easier for me to avoid distractions – there is always something else to be done after all! 

The second novel in the series will pick up where Under the Emerald Sky left off, in the spring of 1845, shortly before the Famine began. Besides getting to grips with the Famine itself, a few open questions from Under the Emerald Sky will be answered, there’ll be trips to 19th century Dublin and London, and perhaps even an encounter with Charles Darwin or some other famous personality. Who knows? I don’t plan my books in minute detail before writing, and so I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds as much as my readers! 

My advice to aspiring authors

If you’re an aspiring author and are feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information on writing that’s out there, I have just one piece of advice for you: do whatever works for you. Some people like to plan out their story in detail before writing down a single word, others (like me) prefer to figure things out along the way. Some people like to complete a draft of the entire manuscript before editing, while others (also like me) prefer editing while they write. There is no single way of writing a good book. Figure out what works for you and do that! 

 Juliane Weber

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About the author

Juliane Weber is a scientist by training. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky.  Juliane was born in Germany but spent most of her life in South Africa. She now lives with her husband and her two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.  Find out more (and follow her blog) on Juliane’s website www.julianeweber.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @UnderEmeraldSky

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