Larne novellist explores USA Troubles exchange

Author Angeline King with her new novel, A Belfast Tale. INLT-19-701-con
Author Angeline King with her new novel, A Belfast Tale. INLT-19-701-con

A Larne author has written a new novel inspired by her time on an exchange programme to Washington D.C. during the Troubles.

Angeline King’s new novel, A Belfast Tale, tells the story of two families whose children are participating on the Project Children programme, a cross-community programme which aimed to help children escape from the violence of the Troubles during the summer.

While half of the story is set in Washington D.C., there are also scenes set at the Gobbins, Glenarm, Carrickfergus and across Belfast.

“A Belfast Tale is a transatlantic romance that runs parallel to the journey to peace in Northern Ireland,” Angeline told the Times.

“The male protagonist is Shaun, an Irish-American whose ancestors are from Donegal.

“He meets married woman Annie, on the Project Children program.

“The novel centres on the troubled marriage between Annie and her husband Roy, the romance between Annie and Shaun and the friendship between Annie and Jean. Annie and Jean, who are both parents on the Project Children program, bring warmth and humour to the story.”

Angeline herself spent an unforgettable summer internship on the Project Children Young Leader’s program in Washington D.C. in 1999, and the links she developed with the US continue to this day.

“My internship was in the Project Children office,” she continued.

“I was fortunate enough to get close to the families who brought children from Northern Ireland into their homes. I stayed with Patty and John Myler in Washington D.C. and became very close to the family.

“I’ve been back to see them quite a few times and their daughter, Caitlin, stayed in Larne with my own family in 2000. I worked for an amazing lady called Carol Wheeler, who ran the D.C. chapter of Project Children.

“Her son Max has stayed in Larne several times and when he was 11 years old he visited Larne Fire Station and had the ride of his life, which was a highlight of his visits. He also spent Christmas day with our family last year.”

The new novel is a prequel to Angeline’s novel Snugville Street, which was published last year. The sub plot of the new novel tells how Jean and her husband Harry’s lives are shaken when their daughter is injured in the Shankill Bomb, providing the background for Snugville Street.

A Belfast Tale costs £10 and is available now on Amazon, at the Book Nook, Apsleys, and No Alibis in Belfast.