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Poet Laura Treacy Bentley says publishing novel is 'dream come true'

June 08, 2013
  • Author and poet Laura Treacy Bentley is book editor for WV Living magazine. The Hagerstown native has just published a novel, "The Silver Tattoo."
Sandee Lloyd /

Name: Laura Treacy Bentley

City in which you reside: I live in Huntington, W.Va., but I divide my time between the beautiful mountains of West Virginia and McHenry, Md., in Garrett County.

Day job: I’m the book editor for WV Living magazine. I conduct writing workshops and will be teaching creative writing at the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts in Davis & Elkins College this summer. I’m hard at work on a new poetry collection and another novel, so I’m burning the midnight oil these days.

Book title: “The Silver Tattoo”

Genre: Literary thriller

Synopsis of book:  “The Silver Tattoo” is a dark literary thriller with elements of fantasy set in Ireland. It chronicles the story of protagonist Leah Howland as she deserts her eerily psychic husband and flees to mythical Ireland only to become entangled in the dangerous web of a stalker who leaves her increasingly gruesome calling cards.

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Publisher: Amazon

Price: The paperback is $13 and the ebook is $4.99.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

It was during college when one of my poems was published in Et Cetera, the student literary magazine at Marshall University (in Huntington, W.Va). It was an indelible moment when I saw my work in print for the first time. I still have a copy of that magazine. I wrote my first poem in the seventh grade and have kept a journal since I was 16. I got more serious in college and managed to keep writing while I raised three children, worked full time as a teacher and moonlighted as an adjunct professor at Marshall University.

How did the idea come about for “The Silver Tattoo?”  Was it a story that had been bouncing around in your head?

The novel began with an image. I took a photo of a busker on Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland. It was one of those moments that you hope you can capture on film.  A couple of years later, that same photo became the inspiration for the opening chapter of “The Silver Tattoo.” One of my main characters gets a silver tattoo in the shape of a triple spiral or a triskele, so the title refers to that and much more, as the reader will discover.

How exciting is it to have a published novel and to see it on bookshelves?

It’s literally a dream come true. After years of writing and revision and even more writing and revision for over a year for my agent, I was ready to see my book in print.  It has been a long journey, so I’m thrilled. When I spot my book in a bookstore, I’m over the moon. And when people tell me how much they loved the story, that’s even better.

Is the novel available in bookstores in our area?

It was just released in April, so I don’t know if it’s in your local bookstores. But my novel can be purchased on Amazon both in print and ebook or ordered from any bookstore nationwide.

I understand you were born in Hagerstown. How long did you live here and do you ever come back to this area?

I lived in Hagerstown until I was 7 years old. My father was a lawyer and my mother was a stay-at-home mom raising four children. We moved to Huntington to live with my grandparents after my parents separated and eventually divorced. Throughout the years, I have returned to Hagerstown a number of times. My mother loved it here and always wanted to return, but things never worked out. On our visits, we always drove by our old house at 143 Broadway and went to the museum and the park. As a child, I used to love to feed the swans crusts of bread and watched them glide across the water toward me. Years later, when some of my poems appeared in Antietam Review, I was especially thrilled because the journal was published in Hagerstown.

You seem to have a love of Ireland. Tell me a little bit about that.

My father grew up in Oakland, Md., and his father was born in Ireland. My grandmother’s parents were born there, too, so I was always proud of my Irish heritage. I even wrote a romantic essay in junior high school about Ireland and how I wanted to go there one day. Talk about an omen! Treacy is an Irish name and when I was in Galway, I saw hundreds of Treacys listed in the phone book — and no one in Ireland ever mispronounced my name, so I felt very much at home. I have been to Ireland three times so far. The first time, I studied with Irish poets in Dublin, the second was in Galway when I studied with former poet laureate Billy Collins and the last time I was writer in residence and stayed on the West Coast of Ireland in County Clare near the Cliffs of Moher. I walked there almost every day. The breathtaking cliffs fired my imagination, so some key scenes from “The Silver Tattoo” take place there.

What other published works are in your resume?

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