On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, Hailey takes a trip to Ireland for the vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down. Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely. And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she’s never found before.
Welcome back once again to our Character Interview series. Claire has returned, and today she’s bringing with her Hailey Crossan from Dancing to an Irish Reel. Welcome, Claire. Welcome Hailey.
Hailey, why don’t you get us started by telling us a little about yourself, and where you are from.
- [I am] Hailey Ford Crossan. It’s a family name, after my grandmother, who was named Haines (after her grandfather) and my middle name, Ford, came from my father’s mother’s last name!
- I don’t have a nickname, but I do have to explain Hailey a lot.
- I was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1989.
- Memphis is considered the heart of the Delta, in America’s Deep South. It rests on the bluffs of the Mississippi River and is a small city steeped in history and cultural nuances that are as old as the hills. There is regional pride over Memphis’ contribution to music, because to this day, it is known as the home of the blues. Many of the original blues players came from the agrarian regions outside of Memphis, and when it was time to make something of themselves, most of the musicians migrated to Memphis—this was long before many of them relocated to Chicago. When people say Memphis has soul, this is why they say it! Also, the architecture in Memphis is gorgeous, and many of the antebellum mansions are still standing alongside ancient oaks and magnolia trees.
- My father died when I was very young, so I never got to know him well. My mother is a classic Southern Belle whose role model was Scarlett O’Hara, if that tells you anything! But she is beautiful, and she is feminine, and she’s the kind of woman who won’t step a toe out in public without putting on her lipstick! And humour? My mother has that in spades.
- I had a brother, but he died. It’s a long story. This is how I came to have his guitar that Mick Folan, who lives in a house way back in the Irish bog in Inverin taught me how to play.
Sounds like you’ve had quite a life already. Can you tells us a little about your personality, and how you’ve come to be where you are?
- My personality is easy going, optimistic, open-minded, curious and a lot of fun. It takes a lot to throw me, but at the same time, I am nobody’s fool. If I didn’t have these traits, I don’t think I could have moved from America to Ireland without knowing a soul, and, may I add, on the spur of the moment!
- I handle pressure well because I don’t take things personally. An example would be to say when Declan started acting completely irresponsibly in his role of head of the Galway Music Centre, I wasn’t roused to anger, I just circumnavigated his capricious behavior!
- I tend to like everyone to a fault.
- I don’t have enemies, just people I have to put up with. Take, for instance, Owen, the working-class man from Wales whom I met through the Galway Music Center. He is in love with a singer named Leigh McDonough, who is Australian, and trying to gain popularity in Ireland. Owen thinks he can push me around, all in the name of having Leigh’s career interests in mind. I think he’s over-the-top and pushy, but I decided to just set boundaries with him to keep things pleasant. I live by the adage that anger is no fit substitute for firmness. Also, it’s not what one says, but more like how one says it. I always have to remember this with Owen.
Are you still working at the music centre?
- I’ve been working at the Galway Music Centre with Declan, Darren and Shannon. It has been a fruitful year in many ways because we set out to create a musical mecca for the musicians in Galway and actually did, but things seem to be changing now.
Are these changes because you have any special gifts?
- I do have special gifts, or at least I think they’re special! I have an uncanny ability to size people up quickly. Take Declan for example: he’s a quick-talking, plan-making, twenty-five year old who is often onto his next plan before his first plan has been hatched. I can only describe Declan as a “loose cannon.” I knew this within minutes of meeting him, but I went to work for him at the Galway Music Centre anyway because I wanted to stay in Ireland.
::chuckles:: Understood. Each of us are unique in our own way. With that in mind, how would you classify yourself if asked to choose between “good” or “bad”?
- I am good! I am wise beyond my years (26) and always try to do the right thing. I have a strong code of honor, and am often baffled to brush against those who do not have the same.
Since you are living in a foreign country from your birth, do you have any friends who have helped you along the way?
- Shannon Forester is definitely on my side. Thank God Shannon was working at the Galway Music Centre when I was offered a job. Shannon is in Galway, Ireland as part of her field study for her thesis in ethnomusicology, which she has to turn in to UCLA in two years. She’s an American from Dallas, TX, and I think we are both experiencing Ireland from an American frame of reference, so we can compare notes ( and exchange laughs!)
Definitely handy to have someone from a familiar place near by to talk to. You mentioned you tend to like everyone to a fault. Does that carry over to situations where someone you don’t trust complements you out of the blue, or someone you do trusts insults you?
- [When complemented unexpectedly] Probably roll my eyes and wait for the other shoe to drop. Did I mention I am nobody’s fool?
- [When insulted] I’d take Shannon aside and ask her to explain herself.
Sounds like you are a lady who knows herself well. Is there any part of your personality you would wish to change or improve on?
- I wouldn’t jump to conclusions without hearing all the facts. If I would have done this with Liam Hennessey, maybe everything that happened between us would have been different in the end.
Do you think of Liam, then as part of your future?
- I would like to see Liam Hennessey do something about the fact that he is in love with me.
- I’ve been in the strangest relationship with a local Irish musician named Liam Hennessey, but he’s confusing me. He won’t come closer, nor will he completely go away. The young man should have come with an owner’s manual. I can rarely figure out what he’s doing, which is why I jump to a lot of conclusions!
Sounds like there is a secret there. Can you share, or do you want to keep it hidden?
- I really love Liam Hennessey. I think he’s the most poetic creature I’ve ever met. Everything about him is elegant and beautiful, but he’s so confused over the prospect of love, I’m not sure anything will ever come of us. I wish I knew what he was afraid of!
- My worst fear would be to come to the conclusion that the chaos between myself and Liam Hennessey was all my fault.
Surely it isn’t, though. When thoughts like this get you down, do you have any achievements you can look at to help bring you back up?
- I’m proud that I moved to a foreign country and found a way to make everything work without any help from anyone! And I’m proud that country is Ireland, because to me, Ireland is pure magic.
Do you ever engage in whimisical fantasy questions of “if only I were”? If so, what creature would you choose to be?
- I’d choose a domestic cat, because they know everything, are masters of their own lithe, agile bodies, are sneaky and undetectable at times, but warm and affectionate if a person is worthy.
Thank you Hailey, you have been a wonderful guest.
For those wishing to read Hailey’s story, you can go here and pick up your copy of Claire Fullerton’s book Dancing to an Irish Reel. If you wish to connect with Claire, you can find her on her website here, Facebook here, Goodreads here, Twitter here, and Amazon here.
If you enjoyed the interview, and wish me to host one for you, head on over to my offered services page, and send me a submission. I’ll be glad to discuss details with you.
Next week, we have Tracy Rud coming by, so stay tuned for her interview. In the mean time, happy reading!