My Bookfriend, Diana Rubino, is here to talk about writing her time travel romance, Dark Brew and share an authentic Irish recipe with us.
Learn from the past or forever be doomed to repeat it.
Accused of her husband’s murder, Kylah McKinley, a practicing Druid, travels back through time to her past life in 1324 Ireland and brings the true killer to justice.
Two months of hell change Kylah’s life forever. On her many past life regressions, she returns to 14th century Ireland as Alice Kyteler, a druid moneylender falsely accused of murdering her husband. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or forever be doomed to repeat it.
An interview with Diana about Dark Brew
Where did the story come from?
The story took 12 years from start to finish. I’m a longtime member of the Richard III Society, and in the spring of 2004, I read an article in The Ricardian Register by Pamela Butler, about Alice Kyteler, who lived in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1324, and faced witchcraft charges. After her trial and acquittal, she vanished from the annals of history. I couldn’t resist writing a book about her.
How did you decide to make it a paranormal?
I’m a believer in reincarnation, and I go on paranormal investigations whenever I can. I’ve gone on several past life regressions. Cape Cod has a lot of history and paranormal activity. I’ve been on many ghost walks and ghost hunts there. I wanted to connect Alice in the past with someone in the present, her reincarnation.
Was Alice Kyteler famous in 14th century Ireland?
Not at all but she was the richest woman in Kilkenny, and for that reason the villagers hated her, especially the men. They accused her of killing her first husband, but she was acquitted. Then they accused her of killing her fourth husband, John LePoer, with witchcraft, the accusations more absurd than those of the 1692 witch hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts. Chancellor Edward de Burgh arrested Alice because her stepsons claimed she had murdered John by casting a witch’s spell with malefecia…and she used the enchanted skull of a beheaded thief as her cauldron.
She went to trial and her dear friend Michael Artson had her acquitted, but she vanished into the annals of history. According to legend, she went to England. But no one knows for sure.
Why did you make it a time travel?
Because my heroine, Kylah McKinley, is a druid and has done many past life regressions, she knows she’s the reincarnation of Alice. So she has to go back and find out what happened to Alice, because too many weird things are happening to her in this life that parallel Alice’s life.
Kylah lives on my beloved Cape Cod. She’s a druid, a ghost hunter and owns a new age store in a restored Revolutionary War-era tavern. She was also the target of a hit-and-run. Another hit-and-run crippled her husband Ted. That’s no coincidence—she’s convinced someone’s out to get them both.
She brews an ancient Druid herb mixture, goes back in time and enters Alice’s life to find out exactly what happened and who killed her husband.
These two months of hell change her life forever. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or she’s doomed to repeat it.
Have you ever spoken to Pamela Butler, who wrote the article about Alice?
Yes, we’ve corresponded. She lives in New Mexico, so we’ve never met in person. I asked Pam what inspired her to write about Alice. I’d never heard of Alice until I read her article, “Witchcraft & Heresy. She replied:
“You asked why I wrote about Alice Kyteler, who preceded Richard by a century-and-a-half. I only wrote it because others on the listserv encouraged me to write about witchcraft, a subject about which I knew very little. I ordered three books from Amazon.com on the subjects of witchcraft, heresy, Satanism, etc. for research reasons. That was my basis, plus I searched the Internet. The Malleus Malleficarum was published in 1487, just two years after Richard’s death, so it’s almost contemporary. I chanced across Alice in this reading and thought that it was an interesting case. Witch burning was fairly rare in Ireland, and wasn’t as bad in England at that time as it had been on the Continent. I wish that the M.M. had never been published; still, the fact that it was published and accepted may reveal the mindset of those times.”
An excerpt from Dark Brew
Kylah shut Ted’s den door. She couldn’t bear to look at the spot where he gasped his last breath. His presence, an imposing force, lingered. So did his scent, a blend of tobacco, pine aftershave and manly sweat. Each reminder ripped into her heart like a knife. Especially now with the funeral looming ahead, the eulogies, the mournful organ hymns, the tolling bells . . .
These ceremonies should bring closure, but they’d only prolong the agony of her grief. She wanted to remember him alive for a while longer, wishing she could delay these morbid customs until the hurt subsided.
Throughout the house, his essence echoed his personality: the wine stain on the carpet, the heap of dirty shirts, shorts and socks piled up in the laundry room, the spattered stove, his fingerprints on the microwave. But she couldn’t bring herself to clean any of it up. Painful as these remnants were, they offered a strange comfort. He still lived here.
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A Recipe to Try While Reading DARK BREW
DARK BREW is set on modern-day Cape Cod, when Kylah isn’t traveling back in time to 1324 Ireland. I have a home on the Cape, and spend as much time there as I can when the weather cooperates. The Cape Cod Irish Village is a restaurant/pub/hotel where my husband and I have been going for many years. We have a traditional Irish dinner there and dance up a storm to the live Irish music they always have. I mention the Irish Village in DARK BREW and their great Irish cuisine.
Traditional Irish fare has been a long-standing theme at the Irish Village where Chef Chris Lynch has headed the kitchen for the better part of 16 years. New American cuisine with a slant on old Irish staples is how Chef Lynch would characterize the menu at the Irish Village. Having spent many years honing his craft in kitchens all across the Northeast, Chris realized that most of the guests who come to the Cape and have frequented the Irish Village for decades in some cases want to feel at home and his team tries to match the daily specials to their memories of meals taken at the tables of their own families. Simple and plentiful is a formula that has kept many repeat customers coming back to the Village year after year.
Here’s a recipe from Chris for “Breadan Eireann”
This recipe serves 4 people
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
4 ea. – 6oz Salmon Fillet
4 ea. – Jumbo Shrimp
12 oz. – medium sea scallops
4 cups mashed potato
1 cup sauteed onions & mushrooms, sliced thin
6 oz. dry sherry
8 oz. clarified butter
In a baking dish or in individual casserole dishes arrange salmon, scallops & shrimp closely together. Pipe mashed potatoes around salmon and seafood encircling all of the fish. Pour 1 ½ oz. of sherry and 2 oz. of butter over the fish and potatoes. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until salmon flakes under the touch. Remove and top with ¼ cup sautéed onions & mushrooms. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes to finish browning the potatoes and to heat the onions & mushrooms. Serve immediately.