TARPON SPRINGS, FL – John Heagney, author of the recently published historical novel, Traveler, appeared Tuesday on Highland Radio, Ireland’s No. 1 local radio station, to discuss the book he says is an homage to his late father.
Appearing on the Around the Northwest radio program with host John Breslin, Heagney discussed the story behind the novel, which deals with the British Home Children program, which scattered more than 100,000 poor Irish and British children around the world for more than 80 years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
As one of those unfortunate children, Heagney’s father, on which Traveler is based in part, was shipped off on a perilous ocean voyage from his parents small northern Ireland farm to Montreal nearly a century ago as an indentured servant. He spent three years shuttling between a number of farms in Ontario and never saw his parents again.
And like Heagney’s father, Traveler’s main character, Neddy McKenna, is a 15-year-old farm boy leaving behind his family’s northern Ireland farm in 1921 with just a small suitcase and his dreams. But in those dreams, time and again, he encounters a mysterious stranger who advises, guides and warns the boy, challenging everything he knows or thinks he knew. But who is Traveler? An apparition? A guardian angel? Or something young Neddy couldn’t possibly imagine?
Traveler has received international acclaim from readers across the globe and is an Irish In America Book of the Month Club selection.
“Traveler explores the possibilities and options in this boy’s life when he’s provided with valuable guidance before situations arise,” Heagney explains. “Of course, whether or not he listens to advice and heeds the warnings is entirely up to him. But he also must understand that the wrong choices can have sometimes dangerous consequences.”
About the author
John Heagney is a first-generation Irish American, whose parents emigrated to the United States from Ireland and Newfoundland via Canada. He is a veteran writer and journalist who has won numerous awards and distinctions for journalistic excellence.
Following his journalism career in Pennsylvania and Florida, he founded John Heagney Public Relations in the Tampa Bay area, representing a national and international slate of clients for the past 40 years. Heagney also was an adjunct corporate communications trainer, a lecturer at a number of business conferences as well as an instructor teaching public relations writing at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
He resides in Tarpon Springs, Florida, with his wife, Linda, and is tolerated by their two cats, Daltrey and Cami.
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