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February « 2009 « All Things Moorehawke and Otherwise INCLUDE_DATA

Archive for February, 2009

Thanks To Roisín Ellis

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
I was recently lucky enough to be interviewed by Roisín Ellis, a pupil in Brefni College, Co Cavan. Roisín was interviewing me for her school magazine. I was very impressed by her questions, and she gave me kind permission to reproduce them here.
Thanks Roisín, it was such a pleasure speaking to you. I shall see you and your school mates at the Brefni International Day!

  1. Are your characters based on real people or are they all from your imagination?
  2. Well, I do mention an Arab inventor called Badi’ al-Zaman al-Jazari. He was a real person, as was his work The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. ( I believe it was on tour in the Chester Beatty a few years ago, I deeply regret not having seen it.) But, of course, al-Jazari is not a character in the book. So the answer is no, the main characters are not based on real people.

    I’ve kept everything grounded in the realities of everyday life at the turn of the fourteen hundreds, though. Even the fact that Wynter is a guild approved carpenter isn’t too off the wall, as records show that there were two female Blacksmiths practising in London only a few decades later. Though there is an element of fantasy to the books ( ghosts and talking cats and the like) I’ve kept the technology as accurate as possible. In regards to some things that come later in the series, I’m trying as much as possible, to make sure that Lorcan would actually have been able to succeed in building The Bloody Machine.

  3. Why did you choose to write your book set in the 14th century?
  4. It just came out that way! It’s a time I’m interested in, a time of great change and innovation when the renaissance was beginning to ask questions about the nature of humanity and its place in the world.

    Later in the trilogy, someone mentions Razi and Jonathon’s ‘scandalous humanism’ This refers to a renaissance way of thinking about human beings and how they relate to each other. The philosophy of humanism was a great step towards Europeans treating each other with respect and understanding regardless of their religion, and also a step towards understanding the physical properties of this world, instead of simply answering every question with ‘because God wills it.’

    I also wanted to explore the consequences of living in a world where violence is an acceptable method of getting what you want. What kind of person would you become in that situation? How would you go about standing up for what you believe?

  5. What is your favourite part of “The Poison Throne”?
  6. I think I can quite honestly say that my favourite part of the book is the characters. I love these characters, they are very real to me.

  7. When is your next novel due to be released?
  8. Autumn 2009. All the books are written and with my publishers, just waiting to go out!

  9. What inspired you to write this trilogy?
  10. Hee, I know I’ve told you this before, but it’s the truth – I have this thing, this kind of visual in my head? Of a dark room with lots of boxes in it. Each box has a story in it, and they sit there ’til I’m ready to work on them. Inside the box, while they’re waiting for my attention, they percolate, or they grow. Like coffee, or fungus.

    Anyway, The MooreHawke trilogy began while on holiday to the South of France, it was a little story about a carpenter’s daughter, a missing prince, a ghost in an avenue and, perhaps, the mention of a talking cat. It was intended as a sun-soaked, bright, action adventure type thing. My kids like to tell me that it went into the box a happy, skipping child and shambled out the other end a drooling, blood-soaked monster. I suppose they’re not far wrong.

  11. Who inspires you?
  12. In terms of what writers inspire me? I have an abiding love of John Steinbeck. I love Neil Gaiman, Patrick O’Brien and the great Shirley Jackson. I also adored Stephen King’s early work, his early stuff is absolute genius.

    I suppose, anyone who’s work moves or intrigues me is an inspiration!

  13. Do you have a favourite character?
  14. In The Poison Throne? No, I don’t think so. They’re all so different, and they all have their own motivations and their own ideas on how to deal with this very trying and extreme situation they find themselves in. I may not agree with how some of them handle themselves, but I feel for and sympathise with them all.

  15. If so, who would it be?
  16. Sorry, I genuinely can’t choose! I’d love to know who your favourite character is though! If anyone wants to let me know feel free!

  17. Is there a character that you really hated creating?
  18. Gosh no! Even my bad guys are fascinating to me. I think it would be impossible to create a character towards whom I had no sympathy at all. There are some characters that I hate to let go – Rory for example, I really wanted to put more of him into the story. But there was no place for him. Thankfully he plays a huge role in the prequel, so I get to hang out more with him then.

  19. Do you enjoy writing?
  20. I love writing, always have.

  21. Do you ever find it stressful?
  22. Well, it’s extremely hard work and some days, particularly towards the end of last year, I had to really force myself to sit down and write my four pages a day because I was so tired. Also, at least once during every project I hit an almost insurmountable patch of self-doubt where I question whether anyone will ever want to read the story. At times like that I find the whole thing very stressful, but for some reason I keep going.

  23. Have you any hints or tips for young people who wish to become authors?
  24. Write everyday, whether you want to or not. Try and get at least four pages done. It’s very important to have discipline in order to get anything finished because you will always hit that wall during a project where you feel you can’t or shouldn’t go on.

    Write what you love or believe in, not what you think other people want to read. You need to be invested in your subject if you want other people to believe in it too.

    Also, find someone you trust who will read your work and give you an honest opinion. It’s difficult at first, because it’s hard to separate the constructive criticism from the hot air, and you need to believe in yourself enough to know the difference. If you can’t talk to someone face-to-face there are many very good writing forums on-line. One of the best of them is, Absolutewrite It’s a great source of information for all stages of writing, and has a place where you can share your work and get comments. ( it’s also a great place to learn about the actual business of publishing, and what to expect if and when you ever get around to submitting a ms for publication.)





Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Sigh. Unfortunately the blog is being mercilessly spammed by some damned idiot who’s obviously taken one of those jobs where you ‘get paid to post on the internet’. Nice. I hope no-one buys your damned sleeping pills, pal. So I have to implement one of those irksome processes where I need to approve your comments before they appear.

I’m so sorry about that folks. I promise, all comments which aren’t designed to try and sell me horse pills or new and improved portions of anatomy shall be approved.

A Reader’s Questions Answered.

Monday, February 23rd, 2009
Big thanks to Elizabeth in Canada, who took the time to write and let me know what she thought of The Poison Throne. I’ve put a portion of your lovely mail up on the reader’s letters page of my website, Elizabeth, thank you so much.
Just to answer some of your questions ( hopefully without spoilers):

You will find out why Jonathon did what he did to the cats, but not ’til book three in the trilogy, The Rebel Prince.

It’s never discussed in the trilogy, ( as far as I can recall) but cats are the only animals who have developed verbal links with human beings. It was basically because they found humans useful but inferior in intellect, and so in need of instruction :0) This bond has been destroyed in every other Kingdom but Jonathon’s, of course, due to the dangers of being accused of witchcraft.

I hope this helps? If readers have any other questions just ask, I’ll try my best to answer them!

March Events

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Gawd help us, but can you believe there’s only one week left in February? It’s scary how fast time is flying. This being the case, it’s time for me to update my events calendar. For a more long term forecast, you can check out the regularly updated Complete 2009 List here; but for more immediate dates, here is the March Events list:

Monday March 2nd: World Book Day Presentation.

Beech Hill College, Monaghan. Reading from The Poison Throne, talk, and prize giving.

Andrew Myles, a pupil from Beech Hills College in Monaghan, has won a prize in the UK and Ireland World Book Day Short Story Competition. Congratulations Andrew! I am looking forward to meeting you and your classmates at the presentation.

Thursday March 5th: World Book Day Readings, Dublin.

11am - Borders Bookshop, Blanchardstown Dublin: Reading from The Poison Throne.

2pm – Dubray Bookshop, Swan Shopping Centre, Rathmines : Reading from The Poison Throne.

Friday March 6th: Dublin Book Festival,

12-1pm - City Hall, Dame St, Dublin.Reading from The Poison Throne and talk followed by Q&A.

Monday March 9th: Breifne College International Week.

2.30pm – Breifne College Cavan. Opening ceremony of the Briefne International Week, celebrating cultural diversity and integration in the community. Attendance by invitation only.

Thursday march 19th: Sean Dunne Literary Festival, Waterford.

7pm – Keynote speaker at opening night. Venue TBA.

Friday March 20th: Central Town Library, Waterford.

Reading and Talks, times to be announced.

German Titles

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Folks have been asking what the German titles for the next two Moorehawke books will be, so I asked, and…

The Crowded Shadows will be called “Geisterpfade” (Ghost Paths)
The Rebel Prince will be “Königspfade” (King’s Paths)

I’m very happy with that!

The Poison Throne German Cover!

Friday, February 13th, 2009

 The O’Brien press just posted a lovely bit of Moorehawke related news on their blog. The German publishers, Hyne, have made the German cover of The Poison Throne public! 

Must say, it’s been an amazing experience working with my German translator, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely so far. Her dedication and attention to detail have really impressed me. (Hi Astrid!) I feel very happy knowing she’s working on the text for me . 

Can anyone translate the German for me? What does the tag line say? ( I know the title means The Shadow Path. But what means ‘Die Welt ist im wandel …’ etc?)



Down Time.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I’m trying very hard not to start my new project already. Though it’s scratching and biting away in my noodle wanting to get out, I need to recharge for a bit or I seriously think I might dry up and float away! I’ve spent the last three and a half years writing four books one after the other, and much as I am tempted to dive right back in again, I need to get some of my health back.

So, a month of enforced rest and recoup I think. I’ve started to working out again, and getting out in the fresh air. All that healthy stuff fell aside on the last few years ( and it shows) I need to get a good routine going again, and make myself keep up that routine when I do start the next project. As any writer will tell you, it’s too easy to chain yourself to your laptop during a project and forget the rest of the world, I call it my book-coma.

I’ll placate my restless soul with a good lot of solid research now, and catching up on my much neglected reading.

Speaking of which, I just finished listening to Neil Gaiman reading The Graveyard Book on CD. As ever, I’m in love with his work. Graveyard Book is just incredibly good, with a great story and brilliant characters (but you didn’t need me to tell you that, did you?) Also, this being the first time I’ve heard Mr G speaking, I think I’m in love with his voice. It just wouldn’t have been the same read by anyone else.

You can get to hear that voice yourself on the 17th Feb if you go here

The Poison Throne book launch.

Monday, February 9th, 2009
Better late then never I suppose ( a running theme in my life, it must be said.) But I finally got around to downloading the photos of The Poison Throne book launch. ( What? It’s only four months ago! I’ve been a very busy woman :0P )
I particularly like this one. Left to right. The author Ms Catherine Dunne, John McEvoy ( owner of The Crannóg Book Shop, Cavan. Thank you for the wonderful launch, John.), Celine Kiernan (me), Michael O’Brien ( publisher of The O’Brien Press) and Svetlana Pironko (my fantastic agent).

Ms Catherine Dunne, John McEvoy, Celine, Michael O'Brien, Svetlana Pironko

Ms Catherine Dunne, John McEvoy, Celine, Michael O'Brien, Svetlana Pironko



Caomhnú Reading Cancelled.

Sunday, February 8th, 2009
So I finally get my beloved and longed for snow … on the day I’m supposed to be reading in the SAS Radisson for the Caomhnú Literary Festival. Just got a phone call to say today’s events are cancelled. *Glances wryly at Heaven.* Oh, God, you little minx you!!
There was no snow last night mind you, and I was lucky enough to get to hear Michael Harding, Billy Roche and Padraic Mc Intyre read from their work. I must say, the three of them were incredible. The stories themselves were riveting and they were all delivered not so much as readings, but more as actual performances. ( Michael Harding in particular, reading from his play The Tinker’s Curse, blew me away with his acting. He was the character and the audience were enthralled.) if you ever get a chance to see any of these authors perform do not pass it up!

I’m a little disappointed not to have the chance to read today. The audience was due to be older then the teen audience I’m used to, and so the reading was to be longer and more complex. I was looking forward to that. Ah well, I get to go out side and play in this ( that’s my back garden folks! And the valley in which I live. Weeeeee!! Snowmen here I come!)

The flower alley that leads from the house to the duckhouse.

The alley that leads to the duckhouses.



View of the Valley where I live.

View of the Valley where I live.

PJ Lynch Talk and Slideshow

Friday, February 6th, 2009

It was my great pleasure to meet PJ Lynch today, and to hear him speak about his career as an illustrator. I have been a huge fan of PJ Lynch’s work for … well, I shan’t age either myself nor PJ by specifying exactly how long! ( suffice it to say, PJ kindly signed a book for me today which my husband bought me 18 years ago. Coff coff.) It was a thrill to meet him in person, and to see his work on such a large scale ( He presented a very beautiful slideshow) It was also great find out that he’s such a warm, friendly and interesting person! Check out PJ’s incredible gallery here.

pjlynch and painting

pjlynch and painting


Here is a photograph of PJ standing in front of one of his Gulliver paintings ( both of which are permanently on display in the Cavan central Library!)

Big thanks to Josephine and Catriona who invited PJ to talk as part of the Caomhnú Literary Festival in Cavan. The festival itself runs from Friday 6th to Sunday the 8th of February.

 As part of the festival, I’ll be reading from The Poison Throne in the Radisson SAS Hotel,  at 12.45 on Sunday the 8th of Feb. For more information phone the hotel or e-mail

(Special greetings to the guys from Breffni College TY! It was lovely to see you again! Red-headed fellow, I name thee Darren!)