Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau, authors of the new post-apocalyptic romance King of Dublin. We’re touring the web talking about Ireland, the post-apocalyptic genre, a behind-the-scenes look at our book, and even a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? We’re giving away two ebooks and a souvenir from Ireland to one lucky commenter, so read on!
Thanks so much to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having us, and to all you readers for following along. And now without further ado, today’s look at King of Dublin!
What’s in a Name? A behind the scenes look at names in King of Dublin
One of the things we really enjoyed playing around with and exploring in King of Dublin was names and naming conventions. King of Dublin takes place in Ireland (obviously, unless of course we were writing about Dublin, California I guess!), so we had to take Irish culture into account when naming our characters, especially in the case of one of our characters, who comes from a predominantly Irish-speaking culture. Our story also takes place in a country ruled by anarchy, where things like birth certificates and social insurance numbers and passports and legal name changes are a thing of the past, so that adds a whole new complexity we could play with.
So here’s a character-by-character sneak peek into character names. Enjoy!
Darragh Fearghal Anluan
Darragh is the hero of our story: the Irish Gaelic-speaking wanderer who comes to Dublin in search of medicine for his village. When he swears fealty to the king of Dublin, he states his name as Darragh Fearghal Anluan, but did you know that’s not his legal name? He was actually born Darragh Calhoun. Darragh Fearghal Anluan is an approximation of how people in his village would have likely addressed him. Fearghal isn’t his middle name, nor is Anluan his last. He may not even remember his legal last name!
So why does he call himself that? Darragh comes from the Irish Gaeltacht, which is a part of the country where Irish Gaelic (Gaelige) is spoken as a first language. Here, people refer to themselves by their given name, and the names of their father and grandfather, or sometimes mother and grandmother. So rather than his legal name of Darragh Calhoun, Darragh goes by Darragh son of Fearghal son of Anluan, although I have to admit to not mucking about with using those names in the genitive case, as would be proper. Mea culpa, Irish speakers! (And Latin speakers now too, probably!)
So what do his names mean?
Darragh: A variant of “Dara”, which means “oak tree.” We thought naming him after a tree suited his stoic, solid, tolerant nature.
Fearghal: An Irish name meaning “man of valour”, referring to the courage in his character.
Anluan: From the Irish “an”, which means “great”, and “luan” which means “hero” or “warrior” (which is kinda the same thing in Irish mythology).
Of course, the name he gets called most often isn’t one given to him by birth at all, and is far less glamorous than any of the ones above: Culchie. Which is a term used in Ireland to describe people who live in rural areas, and not usually in a complimentary way.
Ciaran is King of Dublin’s second hero, and Darragh’s love interest. When we meet him first, he is the King’s pampered pet . . . or is that tortured slave? He’s a status object for the king, as much as the plundered gold he wears. His name is much more “standard” than Darragh’s, but there’s still a bit of story to be teased out of it.
His first name, Ciaran, is a bit ironic. In Irish, it means “Little dark one,” while the text (and Darragh) make quite the show of how pale and golden Ciaran is, from the gold collar and cuffs he wears to the blond colour of his hair.
As for his last name, Daly? Well, Daly comes from Ó Dálaigh, or “Son of Dalach”. Dalach, in turn, comes from “dáil”, which means “assembly”, and also happens to be the name for the Irish lower parliament. The Ó Dalaigh, according to Irish history, were an important bardic family, part of a class of elite poets and musicians (yes, really) charged with carrying on and passing down the history, culture, and knowledge of Ireland. Ciaran, with his knowledge of the time before the collapse of Irish society, often takes on this role in the novel.
The titular King of Dublin, Boru was a petty criminal in the days before the epidemic, and rose to power in the lawless years after. Having reinvented himself from gangster to monarch, he took on a new name to go with it. Although it’s never mentioned in the book (having likely been lost to time), Boru’s real name is Brian Menzies. It’s a completely ordinary name, but it has a little bit in common with a much more famous, royal moniker.
The real Brian Boru was an Irish chieftan credited with becoming the first High King of Ireland. King Boru, with his penchant for using his country’s history to solidify his own dictatorship (as many other dictators have done), must have jumped at the chance to re-name himself after a much more famous Brian than “Menzies”!
An orphaned child taken in by Irish Travellers, Rabbit has no (known) legal or given name, only one informally and affectionately given him based on his personality. He goes by Rabbit because of his tendency to “rabbit on”–that is, to chatter excitedly–which Rabbit most certainly does.
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a great pair of prizes! Up for grabs are: a book from BOTH of our backlists (that’s one Lisa Henry title and one Heidi Belleau one!) and a King of Dublin-themed souvenir from the National Irish museum, mailed straight to your door! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! Two weeks after King of Dublin’s release, on March 8th, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win this awesome prize!
Title: King of Dublin by Lisa Henry Heidi Belleau
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Length: 382 pages/Word Count: 100,900
Buy at Riptide Publishing
Twenty years after a deadly pandemic ravaged the world, Darragh Fearghal Anluan and the people of his village have carved out a hard but simple life in the Irish countryside. But with winter comes sickness, and Darragh must travel to Dublin in search of medicine. What he finds there is a ruined city ruled by a madman, where scavenging is punishable by death . . . or conscription.
Ciaran Daly came to Ireland with aid and optimism, but instead was enslaved by the so-called King of Dublin. After months of abuse from the king and his men, he has no reason to believe this newcomer will be any different. Except Ciaran finds himself increasingly drawn to Darragh, whose brutish looks mask how sweet and gentle he really is.
The tenderness Darragh feels for the king’s treasured pet is treason, but it’s hardly the only betrayal brewing in this rotten kingdom. Rebellions and rival gangs threaten the king’s power, but not nearly as much as Darragh and Ciaran—whose only hope for freedom is the fall of the king.
You can read an excerpt and purchase King of Dublin here.
About the Authors
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop.
She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.
- Chat with her on Twitter using the handle @HeidiBelleau.
- Browse her website at HeidiBelleau.com or HeloiseBelleau.com.
- Check out her books on Goodreads.
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- Or contact her using good old-fashioned email.
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