The Celtic Fan
Genre: M/F, Contemporary Romance
It’s a number one bestseller on every list. It’s a love story for the ages. And it’s a mystery.
At least its author is. Nick Roberts has never been seen. He doesn’t do interviews. He doesn’t answer fan mail. He doesn’t do late-night talk shows, or book signings, or conferences. No one knows who he is. Everyone’s looking for him; websites have been set up offering rewards for finding him.
Four old friends plan their annual road trip. It’s been a toss-up every year, with each being different (and some not so good). But this year Russ’s idea is to find Nick Roberts. With an address stolen from the accounting files of the publishing house, the four friends set out to find the elusive Roberts and make names for themselves. And as three begin to get distracted – Russ by women, Michael by liquor, and Jim by porn or who knows what – only one stays the course: Steve Riley, a journalist from Knoxville, is determined to find Roberts and land the story of the century.
His dedication to his mission is complicated by a deluge, a flash flood, and an obviously incorrect address. But as time has its way, Steve begins to wonder if his trip will be successful in any other ways. And if his suspicions are correct, what will he do?
Even more unsettling is the real question: If he finds Nick Roberts, will he tell?
Set in the foothills of the beautiful Smokey Mountains, The Celtic Fan is two stories – the story of a journalist following his biggest story ever, and of a wounded soldier and the girl with whom he falls in love post-World War II. Throughout the pages, Bill and Claire’s tragic tale winds its way through Steve’s story, a story he never thought he’d tell.
“Reaching for my right hand, she placed it gently but firmly above her left breast, and held it there with a warm, velvety hand. I could feel her heart throbbing, almost hear its rhythm. “You’re already in here, Steve Riley,” she said calmly, her voice as light and soft as angel’s wings. “But where am I?” Her eyes searched my face, looking for an indication of my inclination, any clue of how I’d respond.
“It’s been six years, Diana,” I whispered into her hair. I struggled, my mind trying to collect the words I needed to say, to say them the right way, to mean them when I said them. “Do you really want me to be the one? Are you sure it should be me? Are you really ready?”
I remember pulling her close again, lightly kissing her eyelids, her cheeks, her lips. If I’d held my hand a half inch above any area on her body, I’m sure a current would’ve passed between us that could power all of Ashville. Her hair was everywhere, as was mine, and she trembled slightly in my arms as I stroked the mass of blond waves. I looked down at the length of our bodies intertwined, appreciating the beauty of her white skin against my darkness. Several strands of our hair lay together on my chest, and I couldn’t help but make a mental snapshot of the moment, the shiny blond and the glossy dark brown hair wrapped and twisted into one strand, our legs and bodies fused into a solid oneness. I twirled the hair together, as though that would keep us locked in each other’s arms permanently.
As erotic as the night had been, there had been no hesitation, no embarrassment, not a single apology, and there had been nothing dirty or vulgar or obscene about it. It was incredible, but it was also more than wild animal sex, and we both knew it. I kissed her shoulder, then drew her arm out and kissed down the inside of its length. That’s when I noticed it for the first time, her arm turned just the right direction in the candlelight. On the inside of her left wrist was a tattoo of a tiny Celtic fan.
We were like two fifteen-year-olds, exploring each other’s bodies, acting as if we alone had discovered the oldest pleasure known to man, were the only ones to realize that penises and vaginas fit together. There was a wonderment, a sparkle to it all, and even after all the women I’d been with, I felt as though Diana had stolen my virginity, as though she was the very first woman with whom I’d ever become one.”
The Writing of The Celtic Fan
In the summer of 2000, my then-teenage daughter took a trip to Europe with a high school group. She hadn’t been gone twenty-four hours before I had an idea. I’d been writing for years, but I’d never been able to work up the nerve to write a book. So I set out to do just that.
I began writing and, as I did, the words began to pour out of my fingertips. They were so passionate and lovely that I couldn’t stop. I wrote in a frenzy because I knew that once my daughter walked back into the house, I’d go back into “full-time mom mode” and that would be it – it would never be finished.
I wrote. I wrote for three nights and four days. Without sleeping. Barely eating. Only occasionally getting up to go to the bathroom or stretch. Writing was all I did. And I finished it the day before she was set to return. Late that evening, after a nap, I opened the file and read through it. I’d assumed that, considering the way in which it was put down, it would be a four door, brass-plated disaster, and I was shocked to find that it was both clear and beautiful. Then I closed the file, caught up all of the things I was supposed to do while she was gone, picked her up from the airport, and never looked at it again.
In the next five years I devoted an enormous amount of time to writing, but I never went back to the book.
Time passed. I’d stored the files on three and one-half inch floppies. Somewhere along the line, I had one of those hideous Zip drives, and they got moved around to those cartridges too.
Several years and three computers later, to my horror, I found that the files were gone. I looked everywhere, scoured old floppy disks, searched through old hard drives. Nothing. They had vanished, lost in the technological shuffle.
Oddly enough, in mid-October 2013, over thirteen years after I’d first written this book, I was telling my partner about it. I’d never even mentioned it to him before, and after I explained the plot, I lamented, “It was really, really good. I wish I still had it.”
And then, on Halloween night – Samhain to me – he was recounting his trip to our ancient county courthouse that day and telling me about a clock crashing down from the wall, almost hitting a lady passing by. He said one of the security guards commented, “Yeah, we’ve had lots of poltergeist activity today.” We laughed about it.
But as I went to bed, I had a sudden thought: I’d bought a brand-new external hard drive, and it occurred to me that, although I backed up my files every night, I’d never checked to see if they really were backed up. I went back to my computer to check and found that they had not transferred, and my heart froze. I had to back them up. What if lightning struck? I’d lose everything I’d been working on, including several completed manuscripts. So I manually copied files, then opened the external hard drive to check and see if they were really there. I went to the search bar and typed in “writing.”
Up popped dozens of files, things I couldn’t identify. I stared at them in disgust, wondering what junk they could possibly be and where they could’ve possibly come from. I opened one that seemed particularly odd, and gasped.
There they were. The book; four books, in fact. All of the short stories. All of the poetry. Everything I’d wondered about, looked for, lost – all on a brand-new external hard drive.
To this very moment, I still have no clue how they got there. No one was more surprised than I, and I began to cry to the extent that my partner came to see what was wrong. I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t make sense, and yet there they were. I made note of where they were located, closed the files, shut down the computer for the night, and went to bed, barely able to sleep.
It was with shaking hands and a racing heart that I opened the file for The Celtic Fan the next morning and had the distinct, unimaginable joy of seeing these words intact and as beautiful as they were initially, a full thirteen years since their original writing.
My Review: 4/5 Stars
The Celtic Fan was a sweet and sad story. I felt for the main two characters it was a second chance at love in their old age. Not to say that they were old, old.
Bill and Claire’s story not so much. It showed hate and what a female would do when she is pushed to her limits.
I felt the two stories were similar to each other, with different ending. Each of them wanted to be together, but things stood in their way where they weren’t able to be. It was even sadder for Bill with Claire so close to him, he could literally touch her, but he had no idea.
I would love to read more from this author. I only hope it’s not that sad.
Free February 14th – 21st
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a writer . . .
and it has served me well. I wrote for local publications, wrote marketing and advertising materials, wrote for academic publications, and eventually grew jaded with the writing profession as I often watched others take credit for my hard work. I retreated into the world of 3-D art in the fiber and textile mediums and hid out in a world of colors and textures. But, truth is, there was always a story or two in my head. It wasn’t until Nikki and I met in my imagination that I decided it was time to let those stories out, and I’m glad I did. My readers now get to enjoy the fruits of my imagination and, believe me, it runs wild!
On the personal side, I’ve been happily married to my lover and best friend for over thirty years, and I have two wonderful adult kids who’ve blessed me with two excellent choices of life partners. When I’m not writing, I’m playing with my three crazy little dogs, hiking in a local recreation area, kayaking, working out at the gym, tending my herbs, cooking, or doing some kind of research.
But I’d really rather be writing!
*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.