The feature interview with Flora and Fauna author Fianna Francis Masterson is a great way to get an inside look into her writing process.
Introducing Fianna Francis Masterson
Fianna Francis Masterson is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and currently a post-doctoral fellow at Georgetown University in the Department of History. Her dissertation, “Irish Catholics and the American Civil War: The Political Economy of Nationalism,” examines the ways in which Irish Catholic immigrants participated in the American Civil War on both sides.
In this interview, Fianna talks about her research and why it is important to understand Irish Catholics’ political engagement during the Civil War. She also discusses her book project and how it has brought her closer to her heritage.
What motivated you to study Irish Catholics during the American Civil War?
One of my goals as an historian is to understand how people make sense of their complex pasts. I thought exploring Irish Catholics’ wartime experience would be an interesting way to do that because they had such a unique relationship with America – they were both immigrants and citizens. And, as immigrants, they experienced both the promise and perils of America firsthand. I was also intrigued by their role in shaping national identity during a time when race was a very important issue. Many scholars have written about Irish Catholics’ wartime support for the Union cause
Fianna Francis Masterson’s Bio
Fianna Francis Masterson, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Irish Dance”, has had a long and successful career in the dance world. She was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1970 and started dancing at a young age. After moving to the United States in 1991, she quickly became a prominent figure in Irish dance circles. She has performed all over the world, including appearances on Dancing With The Stars and Strictly Come Dancing. In 2010, she released her first album, entitled Fianna Francis Masterson.
Masterson is a prolific writer as well. She has written articles for numerous magazines and web sites, as well as two books: Fianna Francis Masterson: A Dance Memoir (2007) and Fianna Francis Masterson: The Art of Irish Dance (2010). She also teaches dance workshops around the world.
What have you been doing lately?
Fianna Francis Masterson has been working on her new album and has also been touring with her band.
Books that you’ve read recently
This year, I was able to read a few books. The first one that I read was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson. I really enjoyed this book and it was exciting to read from start to finish. The second book that I read was “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. This book is about a boy who is stranded on a lifeboat for 227 days and tells the story of his adventure. I thought this book was very interesting and well written.
Which director do you appreciate most?
I would have to say my all-time favorite director is Francis Ford Coppola. He has a unique vision and ability to connect with his audience.