Tag Archives: Anne Weber

Authors on the Bay – Anne Weber returns

This month, in honor of Irish-American Heritage Month, we welcome Anne Weber of Great Diamond Island back to our blog post. Anne recently published her first novel, A Pencil in His Pocket, about her great grand uncle, John Mulvany, who immigrated from Ireland in 1851 and ultimately became a well known artist of the American west.

Anne kindly responded to my questions about her new book, as well as her personal connection.

How exactly are you related to John Mulvany? (which of his siblings do you descend from?)
John Mulvany is my great grand uncle. His half sister, Alice O’Brien, is my great grandmother

How did you balance the few known facts about John with the fictional aspect of telling a good story?
The facts became the foundation for the story, i.e. I knew John worked on the Erie Canal as a tow boy, but not how he ended up there, what boat he worked on, who he met, etc. So after researching the Canal for this time period, I used what I learned to write the story so John could learn what would make him the man he became – deeply connected to Irish freedom and an artist.
The same thing holds for how John came to America in 1851. Despite all my research, I could not find a record of his entering this country legally. So I created the Duffy family and Eamon O’Rielly.

Where did you find good historical resources of information about John Mulvany, as well as general history, such as about his home in Ireland, his family, his immigration to America, and his time on the canal?
In 1985, I began with a genealogy search which connected me with contemporary cousins in Ireland. In 1987, I was invited to visit Moynalty, Ireland where the Mulvany family still lives. The cousins have been invaluable to uncovering verifiable information. And then, of course, came the stories. I visited the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY for a first hand look; I spend hours reading. The internet might give me direction but the libraries were/are the best place to get the books to verify. Roy Finch’s The Story of the New York State Canals, Richard Garrity’s Canal Boatman, My Life on Upstate Waterways, and Lionel Wyld’s Boaters and Broomsticks were very helpful.

You are an artist – how does your work relate to the artwork of John Mulvany? (how is it similar, how is it different?) What do you admire most about his work, from an artists’ point of view?
My art work is a different style and genre. John Mulvany was a man of his time; portraits and history painting. He created three dimensional objects using light and dark. I use the temperature of color to create space; warm and cool colors. As I’ve learned what it takes to sustain a career in the arts, I really appreciate his persistence and dedication. He sketched a picture of a newsboy selling papers two weeks before his death. That picture is lost.

What do you think John would think of your book? If you could sit down in a conversation with him what are some of the big questions you would ask him?
I hope he would think the book was a good effort.
I would ask him where he stored his paintings at the end of his life; what arrangements he made for “Anarchists”, and his Civil War paintings.
What did happen the last night of his life?
What were his regrets?
Why did he switch subject matter – from Western to Irish. “Preliminary Trial of a Horse Thief” and “Custer’s Last Rally” had made his reputation and then he turned to Irish themes; i.e. “The Battle of Aughrim” which was found in a flea market, sold on eBay in 2010 for over $200,000.

A Pencil in his Pocket is Book One of a series about John Mulvany. For more information about Anne and how to purchase this book, see https://anneweber.me/. Anne will also be speaking about her book at the Maine Irish Heritage Center on April 24th, at 2:00 p.m.

Authors on the bay: Anne Weber

This month I’m introducing a new book by Anne Weber, a resident of Great Diamond Island: Constabulary Tales, short stories based on Anne’s experience as the island constable. Extremely well-written, entertaining, and funny, these stories give a glimpse into island life, especially on an island where locals and summer folk blend in an intricate dance. I asked Anne about her book:

How did this book come about?
I’ve journaled on and off for many years, so I’d been writing. When I joined a writing group through ‘senior college’, I began to put some of my experiences as constable down on paper as stories with a beginning, a middle and end.

Obviously although it is fiction, it is based on truth – what percentage, roughly, would you say is based on reality?
While the stories began as memoir – a half-sister to truth, I realized the Constable had far more patience and understanding than I ever had. Once I realized she was so non-judgmental, I knew I was writing fiction. To answer your question, I would say 15 percent.

How has your community responded to the book?
So far anyone who has commented to me has liked it. The book was available in late fall so I suspect many summer residents haven’t seen it yet. Guess the jury is still out.

Is there still no Constable?
That is correct. We live in a lawless land.

How is island life conducive to writing?
The island provides peace and solitude but the writer still has to provide the discipline.

If someone wanted to buy a copy of your book, what is the best way?
The Long Island Store has copies for sale, as does Ports of Call on Commercial St. It’s available on amazon.com and I seem to carry a few copies with me at all times.

What are you working on now?
I have several projects going. I’m working on another play for the GDI reader’s theater. A novella about an island woman who gets involved in mayhem and mischief is on the shelf. Then there’s my biography of artist John Mulvany, a relative. I’ve been working on this for twenty years.

Although Anne would love for you to buy her book, it is also available to read through the Long Island Community Library.