Interview with Talty from A Band of Roses by Pat McDermott
I fingered the embossed gold letters on the business card in my hand. Dropping by Tara Hall to visit Ireland’s Deputy Head of State, Her Royal Highness, Taillte Rosaleen Boru, was always a treat. Her efficient assistant, a pleasant man named Denis, let me into her office, where I stood waiting before her antique desk while she signing a stack of papers. It didn’t take long.
Seconds later, she jumped up and hurried toward me, bejeweled fingers extended in greeting. We exchanged a firm handshake and embraced like old friends. The Crown Princess had insisted years ago that I address her as Talty. As I did so today, the dynamic young heir to the Irish throne led me to a circle of black leather chairs before the fireplace. Her ready smile and unfailing good humor made our meeting, as always, a delight.
Pat: Thank you for agreeing to see me today, Talty.
Talty: Not at all. I’m glad for the break. My father has me running about like a hen on a hot griddle. Do this Talty, don’t do that, Talty. It’s enough to send a saint to the nearest pub.
Pat: Your schedule does seem more hectic than usual lately. I’ve been trying to get an appointment with you for weeks. Has something changed at Tara Hall?
Talty: Only temporarily. We’re preparing for a state visit from the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and everyone is in a dither over protocol. I don’t mind telling you, Pat, I’m a tad peeved at you for sending me to Japan at the beginning of A Band of Roses. My mother wants to show me off at the banquet she and my father are hosting this Friday night. She’s asked me to do the Japanese tea ceremony. I haven’t done it for a while, and I have no time to practice. I’ll tell you, my knickers are in knots!
Pat: I’d never guess. Sorry for the trouble, but I wouldn’t have a story if you didn’t get into mischief. In fact, I’m here today to run a few ideas by you for the next scene.
Talty: Oh, I’ll just bet. You think nothing of twisting hay around here. Sending me to Japan wasn’t bad enough. I had to go through that silly portal and mess about with Vikings!
Pat: You’re a warrior, Talty. You can look after yourself. Besides, I threw in a little romance for you.
Talty: Right. With a nice enough fella, but not the one I really want.
Pat: You’re still in love with Neil? Hmm. I’ll see what I can do.
Talty: That would be lovely. He’s such a handsome fella, the only one who isn’t afraid to knock me on my duff when we spar.
Pat: Sounds like true love to me. Do you see him often?
Talty: I saw him this morning. We practiced unarmed combat in the gym downstairs. I do love it when he, well . . . I broke a nail, and I have to attend a dinner tonight at the Spanish Embassy.
Pat: Life is full of problems. So, do you want to get away from Tara Hall again?
Talty: Is there foam on a pint of stout? Do me an obligement and send Neil with me this time.
Pat: That’s not allowed. Only you, Richard, and Nick can go through the portal.
Talty: The portal again? The devil wouldn’t do it unless he was drunk. Listen, Pat. You’re the author. I’m the princess. I’m sure we can work something out. We don’t need the portal. Neil is a fine pilot. Have him fly me somewhere nice and quiet.
Pat: Neil isn’t ready for a commitment. I’m thinking of sending you and the other guys to a desert this time. How about a fling with a handsome sheik’s son? We have a critical part of the story coming up, too.
Talty: I might as well go fishing in the trees as talk to you. Oh, all right. Will you stay for lunch and help me practice the Japanese tea ceremony?
Pat: Is there gold at the end of the rainbow?