Who Was Mary Boland?

I’ve told you that Mary Boland, my heroine in Shanty Gold, came to me in childhood dreams.


And she did—flaming hair streaming behind her as she rode bareback along the dazzling Irish Sea coast.girl in green dress


In fact, Mary Boland was the name of my great grandmother. I yearned to know more about her, but my quests both in Ireland and America failed to produce a picture. It was as though she had faded from the earth without leaving an image.


So, I made her up out of the damp, salty air of Ireland. She’s a true daughter of that beleaguered land. But she was beautiful. And smart. And strong. And fast.


I hope my great grandmother is pleased with what I’ve turned her into. Bet I’m close to what she was really like. Otherwise, why did she visit me so often as a child and tell me to write a book about her?