Mad in Pursuit Publishing

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KITTY'S PEOPLE is a biographical novel following the Flanagan family as they grapple with disease, organized crime, alcoholism, fires, a wicked stepmother, abortion, and cold-blooded murder between 1885 and 1934. Born in Chicago, Kitty experiences the utopian community of Leclaire, Illinois, before the family settles in St. Louis. This saga is Kitty Flanagan's origin story from her youth as the daughter of Irish immigrants, through her years as a tragedy-plagued young mother and businesswoman, till her rise as the woman-in-charge—confident, organized, fierce, and supremely generous. Kitty was my grandmother and a role model for our times.

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Editorial Review Excerpts

“This is a thoroughly researched, well written, fictionalized family history that provides an engrossing look at an Irish-American family’s experience in the Midwest from 1885-1934.” Blue Ink Review

“A well-crafted family tale that will enthrall readers interested in the early 20th century...[combining] a family history and an immense tapestry of oral histories, focusing on a beloved grandmother.” Kirkus Reviews

“This historical novel, an act of love, digs into an extraordinary Irish-American woman’s life and family.” BookLife/Publisher’s Weekly

The Research: Facts & Insights Woven Together on the Loom of Imagination

Most recent update 20 Feb 2023.

MAP: Interactive map of family homes, workplaces, and other key locations. From city directories, U.S. Census data, birth/marriage/death documentation, newspapers articles. (Google maps)

FACTS: Public Ancestry Tree for births, marriages, deaths, relationships, and other factual material for Flanagan, Barrett, Keville, Gibbons, and Curran families (at See also, Curran Family History (Mad in Pursuit)

INSIGHT: Postponing Marriage: Living with Your Family (Old Green River blog, 15 Nov 2020)


I'm using the Table of Contents from Kitty's People to organize essays, scrapbooks, and other material related to the research and writing of the book. This will continue to be updated.


[PROCESS] 5 Motivators That Got Me Through My Big Writing Project (9 August 2023)

[PROCESS] Virtual Séance, 1908 (getting started with the Kitty project, 19 Apr 2020)


Part 1. Chicago Love Story, 1885-1891

Maggie Keville: Mayo, God Help Us (Death in the Townland of Moyne) (Old Green River blog, 24 Jan 2021)

Maggie Keville: Passage to America (Old Green River blog, 12 Feb 2019)

[PROCESS] The Fabric of Fact and Imagination [How Moses and Maggie met] (Mad in Pursuit, 25 Jan 2023)

[PROCESS] How to Spin History into a Good Family Yarn: Using Deep Third-Person POV (Mad in Pursuit, 23 Aug 2023)

Part 2. Workers’ Utopia in Leclaire, 1894-1897

God Bless You, Mr. Nelson: the Leclaire Experiment (6 Sept 2023)

Leclaire: Illinois Utopia (Old Green River blog, 25 Apr 2020)

Scrapbook: Flanagans in Leclaire (pdf). Documentation of Moses Flanagan's time as Superintendent of the Cabinetry Shops at N.O. Nelson Mfg Co, in the "workers' paradise" of Leclaire, Illinois, 1893-1897.

Part 3. Rebuilding in St. Louis, 1897-1898

Part 4. Maggie’s Pain, 1903


Part 1. Meet Me at the Fair, 1903-1904

Part 2. Disasters, 1907-1908

Moses Flanagan: Disastrous Second Marriage to Bridget Mehan Flanagan, 1908 (Old Green River, 19 Apri 2020)

Part 3. Hellos & Goodbyes, 1908-1913

Map insights: Imagining how Kitty Flanagan Became Friends with Francis Barrett, 1908 (Mad in Pursuit, 19 Feb 2023)

Kitty Flanagan and Tom Barrett: Palm Sunday, 1912 (Old Green River, 6 Apr 2020)

Nellie Flanagan Kralemann: Coroner's Inquest, 1913. (.pdf)

INTERLUDE. Ellen Barrett’s Story: Motherhood

Barrett Family: Love in the Time of Fever, Famine, Fire (Old Green River blog 29 Mar 2020, adapted from Tribe of the Breakaway Beads.)

Martin Barrett: Unsung Hero (Old Green River, 15 Feb 2021)

Ellen Gibbons Barrett: Her Story (Old Green River blog, 22 Mar 2020)


Part 1. On Bayard, Trouble Ahead, 1914-1918

Part 2. On Cote Brilliante, Murders and Plagues, 1918-1920

Moses Rafael Flanagan: Scrapbook of Life as a Gangster. Timeline of activities, newspaper clippings, and known associates in Chicago and St. Louis. (.pdf) [Formating is very casual, sorry]

Map Insights: Modie and Joe Flanagan in Chicago, 1917-1919 (Mad in Pursuit, 19 Feb 2023)

Part 3. On Rowan, Blessings and Curses 1923-1926

Tom Barrett: American Support for Ireland, 1921 (Old Green River blog, 8 Feb 2021)

Tom Barrett: Neighborhood Banking, 1925-1930

Tom Barrett: Of Germs and Judgment (Old Green River blog, 14 Mar 2020)


Part 1. Back on Her Feet, 1926-1929

Ewald Curran: Friend Indeed (Old Green River blog, 22 Feb 2019)

Part 2. Course Corrections, 1931-1933

Kathleen Barrett: Girl on Fire, 1931 (Old Green River blog, 10 Jan 2020)

Kitty As Matriarch: 4251 Penrose

Part 3. Bearcat, 1934


Two Barrett cousins: Bob Barrett and Francis Pedrotti (Old Green River, 9 Oct 2020)

Bob Barrett's Fiery Crash (Old Green River, 1 May 2020)


Books from Mad in Pursuit and Susan Barrett Price: KITTY'S PEOPLE: the Irish Family Saga about the Rise of a Generous Woman (2022)| HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) | THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) | TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) | PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008)