Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet: Travels with Gannon and Wyatt – Off to Ireland!

Mar 9, 2015 by


An Interview with Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet: Travels with Gannon and Wyatt – Off to Ireland!

Michael F. Shaughnessy – 

1) Patti and Keith, I have followed the travels of Gannon and Wyatt to various countries. I understand that on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, the latest book in the series will be available. Are you guys excited?

Patti: That’s correct, and we’re really excited! Ireland is a beautiful country with one of the most influential cultures on earth. Just look at how many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here in America. More than just a celebration of St. Patrick, it has become a celebration of Irish culture.

2) Now, why Ireland? I have been there, and I know the Emerald Isle is beautiful. What was your thinking?

Keith: The Wheelers and I have Irish heritage. My grandmother lived in Castlewellan, an hour or so south of Belfast. I grew up listening to her tell stories about Ireland and have always wanted to visit. Some of our favorite writers are Irish. Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, the often quoted Oscar Wilde, and the author of National Book Award winning Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann, who I had the pleasure of meeting in my hometown of Aspen, CO.

I guess you could say I am a bit of a literary historian. I’ve been to the homes and/or graves of Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, Kerouac, Thoreau and Emerson. So, to experience the places that inspired the great Irish authors, walking the streets they walked, that was a big thrill. Truly, Ireland has it all—myth, music, food, scenery—it’s a magical place. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Irish people, who are some of the kindest, most welcoming, and wittiest people in the world.

3) What were some of the places the boys visited in Ireland?

Patti: We drove the Ring of Kerry, toured the spectacularly scenic Dingle Peninsula, visited Killarney and Connemara National Parks, the Cliffs of Moher, Ashford and Dromoland Castles, and the village of Adare. We explored the ancient Newgrange Tomb, which is older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and toured the cities of Galway, Cork, Dublin and Belfast. I could tell stories all day. Since that’s not possible, I’d recommend reading the book, which covers lots of ground.

4) Your books are usually very well illustrated with pictures. What do we have to look forward to on this outing?

Patti: As with all of the books in the series, we included lots of beautiful photographs in Ireland. Photos of the wildlife, scenery, castles, cityscapes, and cultural treasures.

5) In every book, Gannon and Wyatt seem to get themselves into some kind of trouble, What do we have to look forward to?

Keith: While investigating Irish myths and legends, Gannon and Wyatt embark on a “true Irish experience” and discover that a blight is wreaking havoc on the countryside, putting at risk family farms that date back centuries. Determined to uncover the true cause, our brave explorers embark on a (fictional) secret mission to gather evidence against a ruthless suspect and soon find themselves running for their lives.

Ultimately they must rely on their wilderness survival skills and Gannon’s “gift of gab” if they hope to save their ancestral home. This book has it all, really—fascinating characters, high-stakes adventure, humor, mystery, culture and wildlife.

6) Obviously, the Blarney Stone is a big bit of Irish Folklore. How does this fit into the book?

Keith: The Blarney Stone factors heavily into this adventure. In fact, it’s the first experience we write about in the book. I don’t want to give away too much, but when Gannon kisses the Blarney Stone, expecting to be blessed with the “gift of gab,” well, something quite different happens and their adventure takes a dramatic turn.

7) I know you have some on line resources that go with the book. Tell us about them.

Patti: We have a website,, that contains professional photography and broadcast quality video from locations around the world. We also have Educator’s Resource Guides. You can download the guide for Botswana on our home page. The Great Bear Rainforest and Egypt guides will be available in April. We’ll eventually have one for every book in the series.

9) Where can readers get more information about this wonderful series of books that kids seem to love ?

Patti: You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and at Upcoming books in the series include Cuba, Hawaii, Australia, Mexico, Iceland, the American West, and more. As long as young people are reading and enjoying the series, we’ll keep writing!

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