As of July 30, 2022, I have completed the final ten chapters. That’s what publishers would call a first draft. I’ve also polished the prose in to a readable second draft. That required 1,500 changes (using Grammarly and editing help from my wife and sisters). My aim is to get the novel into a third draft soon, and printed in fall 2022.
For those who are unfamiliar with my saga novel project, you may wonder “What is the story about?” Read on.
My Kelly family lore includes stories of my great-grandparents, John and Margaret who owned a big house on a lake in New York, which they bought with money John earned from his 30 patents for shoe-making machinery. He even had his own shoe manufacturing company for a time. His wife, Margaret, was known to “march for causes”, presumably that included the number one issue of her time — the Women’s Suffrage Movement. She also bore ten children.
Each of my relatives had a piece of this American success story, but no one knew the story behind the success story. Where did they live in Ireland? Was John’s name really “on a list” of people to be arrested? What had he done? Why did they leave their homeland, Ireland? After some research, the outline of a story emerged. The saga novel answers these questions and many more.
The saga begins with the Fenian political revolutionary groups and the story of my Great-Great Grandfathers, William Kelly, and Denis Marrey. These two buddies participated in an attempted revolt against the English in1867. The core story of the saga is their children, John and Margaret. They followed in their father’s political footsteps, active in Fenian groups. Married in 1882, their first year together was interrupted when the English initiated a new round of oppression in Ireland. Irish assassins retaliated. The English responded to the retaliation with mass jailings. One step ahead of the law, John fled to the United States, leaving Margaret behind. Margaret overcame many obstacles in following him. A year and a half later, she re-joins John in Philadelphia, where they resumed their interrupted lives.