Today Mantle Rock Publishing releases the third book in The Carty Sisters Series, Keeper of the Flame, by Mary Kay Tuberty. When the first book came into my office, I loved what I read and the rich history of the era. I thought you might enjoy hearing some things about the books. I’m asking the author, Mary Kay Tuberty to tell us about the books and why she wrote them. I think you’ll find it interesting.
KC: Mary Kay, thank you so much for the books you’ve written. I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Carty sister through these books. Thank you for sharing these books with us.I’d like for you to tell us some things about the history of the books.
MKT: A cousin came for lunch one day and brought an old shopping bag stuffed with letters—still in their original envelopes. My cousin seemed only “mildly” interested in the letters. Written in Blackwater Ireland by our great-great grandfather to his three young daughters who had immigrated to the United States, the letters held my brothers, sisters, and I spellbound.
We read the letters over and over and finally placed them in plastic sleeves so we wouldn’t wear them out. They tell of the sad plight of the folks back home in Ireland and reflect a little of the Carty Sisters’ struggle to bring their entire family to America. Between the lines of the letters I discovered a story waiting to be told.
KC: If I remember correctly, there were eight children. Two died before they could come to America and one died here. The story if is about Anne, Julia, Lizzie, and Kate. Are there stories about the other two living children?
MKT: Michael arrived in St. Louis in Book 3 and then suddenly returned to Ireland to care for his family when his father became ill. Book 4 tells of how he struggled to realize his dream and return to America.
Maggie is the youngest Carty sister. At the end of Book 3 she is still in Ireland. Her story unfolds in Book 4.
KC: Why did you want to share the letters with us? Were the letters written by Anne, Julia, and Kate saved?
MKT: Unfortunately, we have only one side of the story. No one has discovered any letters written by Anne, Julia, and Kate. Still I was fascinated with the history contained in the letters from Ireland: the famine in Ireland, the immigration of so many of their young people to America, and their reception in the United States; the Civil War; and the growth and development of the West, and particularly in these stories St. Louis.
KC: Where are you in the line of Carty’s? Which sister do you claim as great-grandmother?
MKT: Anne Carty was my great-grandmother. Her first son, Thomas Duff was my grandfather. We have his birth and burial records.
We also have a record of the marriage of Anne Carty and James Duff at St. Vincent’s Church which is mentioned throughout the books.
KC: Are there other books about the Carty’s?
MKT: There are no other books about the Cartys that I know of.
KC: Do you have relatives in Ireland today?
MKT: In 2000, I met the last remaining Carty cousin who lived in Blackwater, Maura Fagan. She died a few months before Keeper of Coin was released.
The cottage where the Cartys lived still stands in Blackwater. The pub mentioned in the story still survives and it carries somewhat of a mystery. It was supposedly owned by the Duff family, but Maura—a true character—insisted that it belonged to her family (Carty) and the present owner stole it from them.
Since the publication of the books, I have met descendants of the youngest Carty sister. Her great-grandson and his family are in Liverpool. Her great-granddaughter, Marie Finnegan, lives in Canada. She came to St. Louis this year and my sister, my husband and I met them for lunch
The most fascinating story of all though is that after Keeper of Coin was published my sister received a letter from a woman in Oregon who said she is the great granddaughter of James Carty (remember the elusive Uncle James?)
All of these folks know about the letters and my books and they heartily approve. I plan to keep in contact with these folks and come to know them better.
KC: Thank you so much for sharing this information and your family with us. Tell us how your fans can reach you. I know you’re on Facebook, but give us all the information you can. I also know you’ll be doing a book signing at The Kerry Cottage in St. Louis, MO. Would you give us the date and the time? Thanks again for sharing.
Book signing: Saturday, October 29, 1-3pm.
2119 S. Big Bend Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63117
Mary Kay Tuberty
12854 Nanell Lane
St. Louis, MO 63127
Thank you Mary Kay. I’ve enjoyed these books and I know others will also. We all look forward to Book 4. You may purchase the print copy of Keeper of the Flame at Amazon.com beginning today. The ebook will release October 28 and can also be purchased on Amazon.com.