Author: Andrea Matthews
Narrator: Liam Gerrard
Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Series: Cross of Ciaran Series, Book 1
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Released: Jan. 25, 2025
Genre: Paranormal Romance
When a pagan priest is unearthed in Ireland 1,500 years after being entombed, archaeologist Caitlin O'Connell is convinced it's the find of the century. The body is in perfect condition. In fact, if scientific data hadn't proved otherwise, she would swear he hadn't been interred more than a few hours. Caitlin accompanies the body back to the New York museum where she's employed, but before she has time to study him, the priest disappears. Rumors surrounding the event begin to circulate. After being buried alive for betraying his goddess and his priesthood in the dawning age of Christianity, Ciarán wakes to a strange new world. Alone and frightened, he seeks sanctuary within the church walls. With the help of the parish's pastor, Father Mike, Ciarán grows accustomed to his surroundings. But an immediate danger lurks on his doorstep. Caitlin is determined to get to the bottom of the missing Celt, and when she meets her Uncle Mike's new handyman, Ciarán, she's convinced he knows more about the theft than he's letting on. Yet, even she can't deny the attraction between them. But will Ciarán's secrets draw them together or shatter their future?
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen-hundred-year-old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
Q&A with Author Andrea Matthews
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- I vary the type of activity I do. I write for a while, then maybe schedule some promotions or work on another story. To switch things up even more, I do research for future books, work on my genealogy, and even do some crafts like scrapbooking or card making. I think the key is variety, but above all, I allow myself the freedom to choose what I feel like doing, without experiencing any guilt. I know my writing is better and more imaginative when I do that. That way, even though it’s my career, it never feels like work.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I listen to audio mostly when I’m driving in the car. I think this is the best part of audio - the ability to be able to listen to a story while doing something that prevents you from holding a book or ebook. Everyone loves to be told a story. Even as a child, we listen eagerly as a book is read to us. Just because we’ve grown up, doesn’t mean we should lose that enthusiasm for the spoken word.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
- Absolutely! Without a doubt. The difficult part of that question is when and where. There are so many times and places to go. It would definitely be to the past. I don’t want to run into myself fifty years from now. That’s a scary thought. So to the past it would be, but when . . . and where? I’d definitely have to visit 5th century Ireland and the 16th century Anglo-Scottish borders, since that’s where my two series are based, but I wouldn’t want to stop there. It would be exciting to visit Colonial America and the Scottish HIghland around the twelfth century. Wherever I went though, there would have to be one caveat. The ability to snap my fingers and return to my own time is an absolute must. Otherwise, life could get pretty sticky.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- I have to admit, I’ve really only thought about who would play Ciaran. In fact, I had a post on my Facebook page about it awhile back. Henry Cavill was the overwhelming winner.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- As a librarian, I heard that from patrons and librarians alike numerous times, and it always annoyed me. Granted, if a child is just learning to read, they should be doing just that, but even there, audiobooks can be a useful tool, allowing the child to follow along as they read their books. Once you’ve learned to read, however, why is it cheating? There are many reasons for reading a book or listening to a book - enjoyment, interest, and maybe learning something new. All these things can be achieved through both the written and the spoken word, and the love for reading is developed either way.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- Went out to dinner with my friends, who were also my beta readers and first reviewers. One even sent me a dozen roses to congratulate me for completing my first novel.
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
- Just taking a break from it for a bit and concentrating on something else. Before long I’m eager to get back to both. With reading, a new book by one of my favorite authors is all it usually takes. With writing, the idea for a new story generally sparks a renewed interest.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- My problem with stand-alone novels is that I tend to fall in love with the characters and want to see them again. In my own writing, so far, I haven’t been able to write anything that I can fit in just one book. I did try. Cross of Ciaran started out to be a stand-alone, but then I found myself attached to the characters, and having reached 250,000 words and counting, I just kept writing. The downside is that I find it hard to fit in a book that’s not in one of the series I’m working on, and there are other stories I want to tell. It’s also a challenge to keep the materials fresh and new, while retaining the interest and attraction of the first book.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
- Most of the heroes at one time or another. It might have something to do with me thinking about the next scene in the book as I’m falling asleep, but I’m not complaining. I do some of my best writing then, and the dreams are certainly pleasant.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never give in.” If you love writing, if it brings you joy, then don’t let anyone dissuade you from it. You may have to do it part time at first, because you need to make a living, raise a family, etc., but never stop doing it. Make it a part of what you do. It is a gift. Don’t waste it.
- What’s next for you?
- Right now, I’m writing the third book in the Cross of Ciaran series. Then I’m going to switch gears a bit, and hopefully publish a historical mystery this summer under the pen name I. M. Foster, but we’ll have to see how things go. I also have Book 4 in my Thunder on the Moor series underway, hopefully for a November release. That’s the plan, good Lord willing, as Father MIke would say.
The Cross of Ciaran is the first book in The Cross of Ciaran series by Andrea Matthews. A marriage of time travel and a paranormal romance, this slow burn book begins with the leading lady unearthing the body of a 1500 year old pagan priest. Once the body disappears, the true adventure begins.
Ms. Matthew writes with a magical style, interweaving past and present to create mystery and and air of something magical on the horizon. The backstory provides the reader with the opportunity to really connect with Ciaran. The Celt's wonderment over the modern world and the steps the characters take to help him adjust make him a truly enjoyable hero. The prickly Caitlin's determination to find her missing priest and the lurking dangers from his past propel the story to a quasi-resolution, leaving the reader finally, fully hooked and primed for more of the relationship that grows between the pair, despite the secrets that lay between them.
Liam Gerrard's narration provides perfect pitch and pace to this enjoyable tale. His voice ebbs and flows over the reader's ears and brings added dimension to the magic and wonder of this unique and entertaining romance. He will certainly go on the list of "must buy" narrators for his efforts.
Overall, I would recommend this first installment in the Cross of Ciaran series and am decidedly looking forward to the second, The Book of Carraig, when the true nature of the Celt will hopefully be revealed. Sounds like a delightful way to enjoy St. Patrick's day 2022!
I give The Cross of Ciaran four chocolate dipped strawberries. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Andrea Matthews. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.