On Friday, November 30th at 7 p.m. the Irish Cultural Centre of New England continues its Author Series with another critically acclaimed, local, first time-novelist, James Redfearn, author of The Rising at Roxbury Crossing published by Olde Stoney Brook Publishing, 2012.
Redfearn knew as a very young boy that he wanted “to write a book, to write down my thoughts.” As he describes it, his background is “a busy one.” Raised in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, he tended to his studies, took on various jobs around the state, married and worked hard to support his family as a Massachusetts State Trooper for twenty-one years. He spent time as an industrial-commercial photographer, an Assistant to the President of a Massachusetts health care system, and an investigator for a Boston law firm. He also enjoyed writing short stories as a hobby. It was when he was back in Boston taking a course in creative writing that Redfearn received encouragement from faculty to work at his writing “like he would work at anything else.”
The advice served him particularly well when he and his late father-in-law, William E. Mulvey, were discussing short stories and life stories. Mulvey asked his son-in-law if he could “do some research on my father [William J. Mulvey] . . . He was a Boston Police Officer.” With an eye for detail, an ear for a story, a taste for Boston Irish history, a mind used to investigation, and a love for the complexity of human traits in the face of social justice issues, Redfearn took this simple research request and gathered dates, facts and background stories about William J. Mulvey. He knew Mulvey was an Irish immigrant who came to Boston and eventually married an Irish immigrant. He knew that Mulvey served in World War II, was a laborer and became a Boston cop. He didn’t know much more than that.
Working with what he did know, Redfearn took a scrap of paper to the Archivist of the Boston Police who dug up the department record for Patrolman William J. Mulvey and came back to Redfearn saying, “did you know he was a striker?” The record indicated that “Mulvey, William J., ABANDONED HIS DUTY, September 9, 1919.” This moment in the life of William J. Mulvey is what caught Redfearn’s imagination as a writer, for he found himself “connecting to this person in three ways: as a family member, as a Boston cop and as a human story of this fabulous period in history.” Once this connection was made, Redfearn became totally engaged in learning what he could about the “social and political struggle of the Irish in the city of Boston.” At last, he began to write as he had always wanted and created a historically accurate novel in which Boston explodes as a backdrop for the tragic unraveling of political, economic, and ethnic unrest during the 1919 Boston Police Strike.
Join James Redfearn for light refreshments and a poignant discussion of how his telling of the underlying police story of the Boston Police Strike of 1919 is the story of the cultural conflict throughout the city and its politics at the time. Autographed copies of The Rising at Roxbury Crossing will be available for sale. For more information about the Friday, November 30th Meet and Greet with author James Redfearn at 7 p.m. in Canton at the Irish Cultural Centre please call 781-821-8291 or visit www.irishculture.org.
ICCNE is conveniently located off of Route 138 at 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, MA 02021. Just park and walk over the footbridge to the Centre.