The Story Behind Corrigans’ Pool by Dot Ryan


Corrigans' Pool by Dot Ryan (click on cover to purchase)

I was inspired to write Corrigans’ Pool by my great love of American history, especially the Civil war era in which many of my ancestors fought on both sides. I grew up listening to my paternal and maternal grandmothers’ stories, passed down from generation to generation, about life in those days. I knew early on that someday I would write historical novels about all eras of American history. I wrote bits and pieces of the novel in the 60s’ and 70s’ in between raising three children, and later holding down a 40 hour a week job in the county courthouse— all the while studying to become an author. By the time I felt that I could truly call myself a writer, I had a son and daughter in high school and a third daughter just starting junior high.  I finished my novel in 1982 … and lost every page of it in a fire a few months later, along with most of my research notes. This was in the days when everything was done on typewriters.

Somewhere between 1982 and the year 2000, I had swallowed my grief and had re-written Corrigans’ Pool from scratcha whopping 1012 pages! On the book’s Acknowledgment page, I thank the professional editors whom I enlisted to advise me during several rounds of editing, mainly the daunting task of cutting the manuscript down to a reasonable size. During the second round of research, I discovered a great history book by Derek Smith entitled Civil War Savannah and which inspired many of the historic scenes I later wrote my characters into. I acknowledged Derek Smith, as well, and with all gratitude for his excellent work.  Now to find a publisher!

I queried about a dozen New York agents and received a reply from a very nice lady wanting to read the manuscript. Three months later she e-mailed me, suggesting that I rev up the romance in the book, put the male love interest in every chapter “like Rhett Butler” and then get back to her. I thought long and hard about it, and decided against turning my story into something I had not intended. Although there is romance in the book, it is not the single aspect of Corrigans’ Pool that makes the story appealing throughout. With faith that I had written an exceptional novel—and fully aware of the stigma against self-published books—I decided then and there to self-publish. I wanted to spend the rest of my years writing, not pursuing agents and publishers who, perhaps because of the economy, are not as open to new talent as they once were, no matter how promising. Judging from reader’s reviews of Corrigans’ Pool, I made the right decision. Getting the book noticed may take a bit longer, but I believe it will be worth it in that I cam market it indefinitely, if I so choose.

Dot Ryan was raised in the small South Texas towns of Beeville and Skidmore, Texas by her cheerful, but no-nonsense mother and an army of maternal and paternal grandparents, aunts and uncles and, periodically during her formidable years between six and sixteen, Catholic school clergy.  In childhood, Dot was a pigtail haired tomboy with a passion for horses, swimming in the Aransas River, hanging by her heels from loft oak tree branches, and running barefooted through the burning, Texas sands. Dot attributes her lifelong interest in history to the diverse cultures and personalities of her Irish and German kin, most significantly, her two grandmothers. Because of these two incredibly strong women, Dot’s ardor for writing and researching began early in her childhood, although neither love was validated until she had raised a family of her owner and  completed her first novel, Corrigans’ Pool.

Dot and her husband, Sam, make their home in “The Sparkling City by the Sea,” Corpus Christi, Texas near their sons and daughters and grandchildren. She is busy writing her second and third works of historical fiction.  You can visit her website at www.dotryanbooks.com or pick up a copy of Corrigans’ Pool at Amazon.

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