If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
The first time I wrote down a story I illustrated it with drawings sewed the paper and bound it with boards and cloth like a real book (my mother had been a book binder when she was young). I was about 10. The illustrations had people with those big heads and simple lines that was an outgrowth of Holly Hobbit. I still have my effort at age 11 when I wrote Mr Dealy’s Inventions. It had proper chapters and I illustrated that as well but ran out of steam about chapter four (no more inventions).
All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
Well it has to be a librarian. I am in my other life have always been a librarian and archivist of one sort or another.
Where do you get your superpowers from?
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
Tucked away in a remote part of Ireland. It has loads of books lining the walls and a comfortable chair and kettle, teapot, cup and tea and access to water. The computer is there in case I want to write.
Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Wooly jumpers/sweaters if I’m in Ireland and an umbrella.
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
At the moment finding the time because I’m working full time as well. It used to be my physical self- I find my mind races ahead with the story but I get pains from writing in my hand and legs if I sit too long. I need a secretary.
What was the supervillian that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
This full time working lark. So my job. Still trying to vanquish it and working out the best time for me to write.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
In terms of writing -to trust my instincts, to relish good books when I read them and allow them into my own voice to become part of the blend that is me.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
There is nothing like that first thrill of being offered a contract for publishing your book. All the effort is rewarded and the self doubt banished with an outside affirmation that your book is worthy of publication.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I would probably have sent my work out earlier, I guess, though events that I couldn’t change got in the way. I am happy over all with the way my writing career has developed.
What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.
The best advice I ever got was to read, read, read. It seems a cliché but it is so true. You learn so much by reading other works, looking at works you enjoy or admire and understanding how they do it. Also you don’t realize how much you absorb by reading. You get to know a genre and understand subconsciously how it is structured.
Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
I just published, ‘In Praise of the Bees’ set in 6th century Ireland. It is about a woman with terrible injuries and no memory who is taken to a community of nuns for healing while around her a political storm brews in which she is a part.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
I have a WIP that is set in 16th century Scotland about a woman who poses as a male lute player at a Scottish Laird’s castle to hide after overhearing a plot to poison Mary Queen of Scots in the Paris court. It is a romantic adventure of derring-do that is much like Diana Gabaldon with a pinch of Dorothy Dunnett. It is the first in a series.
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