An Introduction to Mahoney’s Characters by Andrew Joyce, Author #GuestPost

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My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Alyssa has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, Mahoney. She thought it might interest you if I spoke about a few of the characters from the book.

However, before I do that, I think I should tell you what the book is all about. I’ll make it painless; here’s the blurb:

In the second year of a Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.

My main characters are Devin Mahoney, his son, Dillon, and Devin’s grandson, David. The book is written in three parts. Each of the Mahoneys has his own part of the story. But along the way, I introduce other characters. Some minor, some not so minor. For instance, there’s Tom McNevin who helps Devin get to America.

Devin could hear their pursuers beating the bushes, searching for the intruders. They were close by. Despite the cold, his brow was damp. His eyes darted left and right, expecting Paddy or the other men to leap out of the darkness at any moment. He was truly fearful, but did not want to leave his friend behind.

McNevin spoke forcefully. “’Tis what I want. Y’ go! But first take this.” McNevin reached into a pocket of the coat he was wearing and pulled out a stack of folded pound notes. With a wide grin, he said, “’Twas in the box with the cigars. I was going to give it to y’ when we split up. It will keep y’ going until the boat leaves, with a little left over for when y’ get to America. Now be gone with y’. I’ve got a game of hide n’ seek to play with Paddy and his friends.” 

Then there’s Mister Marks, the first mate on the ship Devin takes to America. He hates the Irish.

“I said, be off with you. It’s bad enough that I have to be cooped up with you Irish trash while at sea, but I’ll be damned if I’ll put up with it one moment longer than necessary.”

Devin befriended an orphan while at sea. That is until she died.

As Hannah’s body sank beneath the waves, the first of the sharks appeared.

When Devin finally reaches America, he meets Mary Callahan, the love of his life.

“You know, Devin Mahoney, the Americans call us a strange people with strange voices in a strange land we know nothing about. And yes, our voices are strange to those who were born here. Perhaps there is little, or nothing, we can do about that. We can try to sound like them so they will not fear us so. But over time, their ways will become our ways. In time, we will get to know this land and our children will know it better still. And their children will be the captains of industry and among the leaders who make the laws. But it has to start somewhere, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s going to start with me. My children will be born here and be rightful citizens of this great country known as the United States of America.”

Then we come to Dillon, Devin’s son. He makes his bones in the Old West. His mentor is Jack Bridges.

I could tell Jack was burning with white hot rage, but he didn’t let it show as he calmly said, “Make your play, Hibbs, because I’m gonna kill you.”

The five men at the bar jerked their guns all at the same moment. The guns spoke with rapidity; their barrels spat flames. Jack got a bullet into Hibbs’ forehead. Turning his gun on Tall Hat, he fired and hit him in the gut, then put another bullet into the man’s head for good measure. Blackie had not been lollygagging; he took down the third outlaw with two bullets to the chest.

Without missing a beat, Jack flipped open the cylinder of his gun and replaced the spent cartridges. Blackie did the same. Then Jack called to Raife and me. “Come up here and get a drink. Those gents are as dead as they’re ever gonna be.”

Jack Bridges taught Dillon how to stay alive in a wild country. But as they rode out of town, Dillon observed:

The setting sun was to our backs; our long shadows preceded us as we rode out of town. After having seen Jack in action, I knew I had a whole lot to learn about gunplay.

I reckon I’ve run out of time. I’ll have to tell you about David’s friends at some future time. Thank you for reading this far. If you’re at all interested in Mahoney, please check it out here. Even though the book just came out, it’s getting some pretty good reviews. I mean real reviews from people I don’t know.


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Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Andrew JoyceMexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

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