Showing posts from 2017

The First Finfarran Book Crosses The Atlantic

Well, look at this. My North American debut. When I was an actress I thought that word only applied to performance but, no, it's what publishers say about books as well. Actually, the dictionary definition is as follows:- A person's first appearance or performance in a particular capacity or role. Synonyms: first appearance, first showing, first performance, launch , launching, coming out, entrance , premiere , beginning , introduction , inception , inauguration. informal: kick-off .   I love "informal: kick-off " . I may substitute it for "debut" in conversation from now on. I've always been a sucker for synonyms and dictionary definitions, which is one of the reasons why working with my US editor on The Library at the Edge of the World has been such fun. The book, the first in my "Finfarran" series of novels, is already available, with two others, acros

Six Tips For Writing A Successful Book Series

One result of a lifetime of writing in different genres and media is that you end up with transferable skills and systems. Now, with the third novel in my Finfarrran series about to appear in the bookshops, I can see just how useful that process of transfer can be. Much of what I've learned in my career has been passed on to me by other writers, so here are some hints that I thought I should pass on myself. #1. I started out as a freelance writer in radio and television, where deadlines are paramount. Whether you're writing scripts for dramas, documentaries or features, the bottom line is that it must be delivered on time . A reputation for reliability is one of your greatest references, and that applies to print publishing as well. #2. Because novelists work alone at a screen, it's easy to feel that writing your book is a private enterprise. But if you're working on a series commissioned by a publisher, it's not. Just as plays or projects

The Fabric of Memory

For my grandmother, the white piqué skirts and satin hair-ribbons, and the lace pinafore worn by baby Evie, in this photo of my mother and her sisters were expressions of respectability as well as style. Money was scarce and my granny's motto was "we have to keep the best side out." That motto was used in many an Irish family. As I say in my memoir A Woven Silence , I find it admirable and disturbing in equal measure. While the resilience it expresses is remarkable, it has certainly contributed to Ireland's unwillingness to confront its culture of gender inequality. Evie died young but Cathleen, on the left in the photo on the cover above, and my mother, on the right, grew up with my grandmother's sense of style. Which I think must be why, as I drafted the book, I found that my own image of my aunt Cathleen expressed itself continually in images of fabric and fashion.  She was unmarried and a career-woman, the only role-model in my chil

Oíche Shin Sheáin: St John's Eve is Bone Fire night in West Kerry.

The word 'bonfire' derives from the Late Middle English 'bone fire' and originally referred to large, open-air fires on which bones were burnt, often as part of communal celebrations.    June 23rd is St John's Eve when, in many parts of Ireland, a 'tine chnámh', or 'bone fire' was traditionally lit at sundown as the focal point of festivities concerned with fertility and the land. The nature of the ritual and the proximity of the saint's day to the summer solstice, on or about June 21st, indicate the subsuming of pagan fertility rites into Christian worship. Fires fuelled by bones, timber or turf were lit on boundaries, promontories, shorelines and hilltops, where communities gathered to sing, feast and dance, and young men would compete to leap through the flames.  In some places cattle were ritually driven between two fires to protect their health, and prayers and charms were recited to promote the year's success

Danny Sheehy: Loss of a Voyager.

Tonight in Corca Dhuibhne neighbours came together to wake Danny Sheehy in his home in Baile Eaglaise close to the burial ground at Dún Urlann where he'll be carried tomorrow after his funeral mass. He died on Friday June 9th after a boat which he and a friend had built, and of which he was a crew member, overturned off the northwest coast of Spain.  Danny and his companions were returning from a sea pilgrimage, taking the old medieval pilgrim route of The Camino de Santiago in a naomhóg - a traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame over which a covering of tarred canvas or calico is stretched . The boat was called the Naomh Gobnait, after a legendary saint associated with the area, and, according to the medieval Nauigatio sancti Brendani abbatis , a similar craft carried the monks who took part in the Voyage of St Brendan, the saint after whom Corca Dhuibhne's Mount Brandon is named. Over a period of years, beginning in 2014, the Naomh Gobnait had continued on its