Monday, 15 May 2017
This week sees the publication of the second in my series of Finfarran novels, set on a fictional peninsula on Ireland's west coast where, in real life, I have my own home. Both the book's name and its release date, May 18th, signal the approach of long, lazy summer days of reading.
And, in my case, gardening.
It's important not to get ahead of yourself where the garden's concerned, though. Because, round these parts, we still have to get through The Rough Month of The Cuckoo.
Scairbhín na gCuach* (The Rough Month of The Cuckoo) is the name given in Irish to the uncertain weeks between mid April to mid May when chilly winds from the north and the east can blast the early growth in the garden and send us scuttling home from walks on the mountain to nights of music by the fire. You could call it the extra month in the Irish calendar.
One day you can be strolling on a beach by a shimmering ocean.
The next day you can wake up to find snow powdering the mountain.
Writing and gardening teach you the same lessons. The best things in life come when the time is right for them to happen. Sometimes you need to be patient and wait till an idea is ready to blossom or a seed to be set.
Every author knows the slow, steady process of drafting, re-working and editing, the discussions about cover images and colour, and the careful distilling of the heart of a work to produce the description on the jacket. It all takes time and, towards the end, you almost feel jaded by the process.
And then - just as the day comes when, at last, the Scairbhín is over - the advance copies arrive through the post, you find yourself doing interviews, and it hits you that, any day now, your book will appear in the shops.
Summer at the Garden Café, the sequel to The Library at The Edge of The World, is about secrets hidden and shared between four generations of women, the fact that love can be complicated, and the healing power of friendship and books. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it.
* You pronounce it something like 'Skarv-een nah Goo-ock'.