Today I am pleased to introduce my guest, fellow Irish multi-genre author, Fiona Cooke Hogan, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Fiona, please introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m delighted to be here. I’m a writer, poet and blogger living in Abbeyleix, a quaint little town in the midlands of Ireland. I have been writing since a child and self-published my first collection of short stories in October 2015.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
Books were a huge part of my childhood and for years I dreamed of owning a bookshop and I fancied the idea of scribbling away whilst selling and reading the works of others. It may still come to pass. I hoard books and re-read my favourites at least once a year. With eclectic tastes – I devour the classics, crime, supernatural, horror, young adult, faerie tales and sci-fi. My favourites being of the gothic genre.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I have self-published a book of short stories on Amazon along with two novellas. I am presently looking for an agent for my current novel – Martha’s Cottage. I’m interested in seeing how the process differs from self-publishing.
Which genre do you write in and why?
This question really ties my answer with the next one. I’m greedy, I can’t choose. My short stories are mixed genre – going from romantic comedy, supernatural and horror to humorous contemporary tales and my first novel is romantic comedy. My work in progress is a psychological thriller. But my favourite genre has got to be gothic horror.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
I grew up on Stoker, Le Fanu, Lovecraft and Poe. I also devoured the Brontes, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy; where the period they were written and the setting were as much characters as the protagonists. My stories often have a strangeness, a fey quality and a twist in the tale.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
I was born in England but moved with my family when I was a child. We lived in George Eliot country and I was dragged around ancient ruins and roman roads from a young age so I have a yearning for the past. I also lived in London for a time and my experiences have definitely coloured my tales. But living in Ireland as long as I have, and considering myself Irish, I’m told that my work is nuanced and has an Irish flavour.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
It used to be not recognising the fact that I had to write constantly, that it was a need. I spent years dreaming of writing but not doing much in the way of creating, apart from the odd poem or story. Belief in oneself and one’s abilities is a large obstacle in the way of the writer. Overcome that and you can do anything.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Not particularly. Morning is good when the children are in school but I often write into the early hours.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
The best thing is seeing your work in the hands of someone else, getting great feedback and reviews. Most of all knowing that you are doing what you were born to do and not hiding behind your dreams. It took me all my life to come to this point.
The worst thing is how I feel if I’m not writing, like I haven’t finished my homework. It nags and nags and I actually feel quite depressed if I don’t put something down. Completing a chapter is actually a huge buzz.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
It can be a pain, definitely, the “having to” aspect of promotion. I’d rather spend the time online interacting with other authors, to be honest. The support I have found online is unbelievable. I love twitter, it’s such a great promotional tool.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
In my youth I fancied the idea of being a torch singer – I even went so far as to advertise for back up musicians then bottled it at the last minute. I have the voice but suffer from nerves. However now that I’m learning guitar maybe I could use it to hide behind.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
Easy, The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien.
Please tell us what you are working on and your latest published work.
I am currently working on a psychological thriller/horror set in The South Downs, England that moves between the present and the late Victorian period. I’m two thirds of the way through the first rough draft and it is I have to say, putting up a good fight.
My other work includes: (Click on the image for Amazon)
If you would like to know more about Fiona and her work check out her links below:
And her author page http://www.facebook.com/theHazelHedge
Great post, very interesting about Fiona’s eclectic taste in reading and writing and the influences places have had on her. I love the name of the place you live, Fiona, Abbeyleix, it sounds very romantic/historical.
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I’m looking forward to your novel, Fiona. Ah, Abbeyleix. I passed through many times when I worked in Portlaoise.
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