My own story - so far...
1960 was when celebrated author Ian Rankin and actors Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were born. I came into the world in March of that year in a hospital originally built in 1888 to treat patients with infectious diseases for the Wirral Poor Law Union Workhouse. Clatterbridge is in what was until 1972 part of the county of Cheshire. In the Doomsday Book the border of the Wirral was determined to be two arrow flights from Chester city walls, so I like to think of myself as a Cestrian, born and bred.
My father was a scientist, hailing from a family in the East End of London that can trace its ancestry back to Elizabethan times as watermen and lightermen on the Thames. By contrast, my mother's family was a mixture of emigrant Irish Catholic and Shropshire innkeepers, coopers and carpenters. I was endowed from this blend with genes surprisingly dominated by what flowed from my two great-grandparents who came from the west of Eire.
Like many children from parents that had boot-strapped themselves away from material hardship, I was brought up to love the outdoors, expected to study hard and find my way into a good profession. I survived school, limping along in the arts but fairing better in science and maths, and I went on to attend the University of Bath to study engineering.
BSc in hand, I was lucky enough to join an old established consulting firm operating in the power industry based in the northeast of England. It sounded quite intriguing at the time, and so it proved to be for a good many years! I was surrounded by luminaries and spent my years chasing work in ever more interesting places around the world. It was a brilliant time to travel, and I had a lot of fun while doing something worthwhile. In the end, I wound up living in New Zealand, and am now able to give my time to the self-indulgence of writing for fun - in defiance of early learning difficulties.
After turning in the desk job, I started to wonder about the fusion of families that came together to produce me. In particular, I was fascinated by the origin of my mother's family. While researching, I began to learn about Irish history. Growing my awareness of the events that drove my ancestors from the west of Ireland was an emotional experience. Out of it came the Four Masters Series. In these stories I aimed to pay tribute to the debt I owe to those who risked all to find a better life during and after 'An Gorta Mór'.