By Anne O'Connor
PEPPERELL -- Sean James McGinty is what you might call a professional Irishman.
Being Irish is part of the coin of his realm. He was born in California, but Ireland shaped his identity.
His soon-to-be-released collection of four short stories, "The Storyteller," brings Irish themes into the bigger universe.
In one story, good versus evil is not God against the Devil, but the people of Pepperell standing up to Devil with the help of Catholic religious items.
McGinty, 65, set out to create a legacy for his daughter Molly through his writing.
"She'll always be able to have this book, or maybe this book and the next one, as a reminder of how a guy not being great at being a dad loved her," he said.
Molly, 14, lives in Groton with her mother. Like her parents, she holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland.
In all four stories, the protagonist is female. McGinty attributed the presence of strong women to growing up with his sisters.
McGinty is facing his own devils: He has Parkinson's disease.
Dealing with the physical changes and the periodic depression that the disease brings is a daily challenge.
He describes it as puberty at age 65, bringing unexpected changes to his body. More than anything else, he hopes it will not lead to dementia.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the disease, he accomplished one of his life goals: writing this book.
"It's allowing me to do things that otherwise I couldn't," he said. "In so many ways, I don't think I've been happier in my life than right now."
He writes, is a substitute teacher at North Middlesex Regional High School and sometimes sits in the back of the church and plays harmonica.
He trained to be a Jesuit priest.
He has written before. One screenplay was optioned, but never went any further. Disney looked at another, but passed.
"I wrote a bad novel," he said. A literary agent in Belfast picked it up, but it nothing happened.
McGinty expects his short stories to hit the shelves by Dec. 10.
They will be available online at Amazon and locally at Pepperell Family Pharmacy, the Groton Exchange and Tyngsboro Family Pharmacy.
He will read from his book at the Lawrence Public Library in Pepperell at a date to be announced.
Whatever happens, the book has served an important role in McGinty's life.
The collection is "my own unique way of telling me daughter I love her," he said.
Follow Anne O'Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.