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Wooden Elephants and the IRA —

Topics by New Local Authors

Southeast Asia and Ireland are the areas of interest for two new authors who have recently published their first novels. Read how they have made these areas come alive with their characters in two very different stories.

Casualty of War

Kim Moore's study of American Government focused on the United States' relationship with Ireland. So, it wasn't surprising that she wrote a book dealing with issues surrounding Ireland, in particular the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

What is surprising is that she decided not to devote herself full-time to a job dealing with Ireland issues.

"I interviewed with an organization that dealt with Ireland issues, but I didn't feel comfortable with it," said Moore. "I was always interested in health care so that's where I went." Moore is currently a medicare policy analyst with the American Association of Opthamology, but said, "Writing keeps me sane."

"Casualty of War," Moore's first book, started out as a short story, until Moore decided to make a novel out of it. It took a few years to complete, including one full year of editing by Moore.

Moore has been to Ireland three times, including a solo trip to Northern Ireland. "I promised myself I would see Northern Ireland before my 30th birthday," said Moore, so she booked a trip and went by herself. She returned to Ireland on her honeymoon.

"I loved Belfast — the people there were wonderful," she said. Many of the descriptions in her book are straight from travel journals she kept during her travels to Ireland.

Moore hasn't thought about her next book, and said "I have a lot of stories floating around in my head, but right now I'm just reveling in what I've done."

A book signing last week at Pat Troy's brought in many interested buyers. Moore selected Pat Troy's to launch her book because she wrote much of it at the pub. "I couldn't sit and write in my home, so I would take my wire-bound notebook and sit at Pat Troy's for hours," she said. Moore also had her wedding at Pat Troy's.

When Pat Troy finally figured out what she was doing, he was like a motivator and would ask, "When's that book coming out?"

When she asked if she could have her first book signing at this restaurant, he replied, "Of course." Moore is considering additional book signings in the area and will be at Pat Troy's on the day of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Saturday, March 2.

"Casualty of War" is being sold at Irish Walk, 415 King St., and at Books-a-Million, 501 King St. It is also available from www.iUniverse.com and www.amazon.com.

Stone Gods, Wooden Elephants

Bob Bergin lived and experienced life in Southeast Asia for many years. As the owner of Banana Tree in Old Town, Alexandria, he and his wife no longer live there, but he does travel frequently to deal in the arts and antiques of Southeast Asia. He finally decided to write a book about the area.

"The book took two years to write, part time at first, but with many hours devoted to it every week once I got caught up in it," said Bergin.

Bergin said that he had fun writing the book. "It never became work. As the characters and the plot developed, the story reached a point where I looked forward to getting up in the morning and going back to writing. The story became more like something I was living through, rather than something I was just writing about. One reads

about characters taking over a novel or a play. I never let these guys take over, but at times they did things I wasn't expecting. Writing the novel was a fascinating experience," said Bergin.

Thus far, the book has been very well received. It's only been on the market since early December, but Bergin said that before he left for Asia in mid-January, there were a number of people - some whom he had never met before - who came into Banana Tree to tell him how much they liked it.

"Some bought copies for their friends. There were also telephone calls and messages left on our answering machine. Since I've been in Bangkok, I've spoken to several people here to whom I had sent advance copies. They liked it they said, because it has a great sense of place. It feels like Thailand. The other thing people have mentioned is that the pace is quick and the plot carries you along. Two people told me they got behind in their work because they spent too much time with the book," he said.

Bergin is currently working on a second novel and said "It has some of the same characters, many new ones, and while the setting is the same region of Asia, the sites where the action occurs will all be different. I continue to do articles on Aviation history, and have plans for a book on the Flying Tigers which is still way down the road."

"Stone Gods, Wooden Elephants" was intended to be a fun read. It was great fun to write, and I hope the reader gets as much pleasure from reading it as I did writing it," said Bergin.

"Stone Gods, Wooden Elephants" is available at Banana Tree, 1223 King St., or through Amazon.com. It can also be bought at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and many other book shops.