In the Library with Irish Author Susie Murphy @susiemwrites

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Susie Murphy, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as a debut author.

Susie MurphyYou are very welcome, Susie, particularly as you are a fellow Irish historical fiction author. Please introduce yourself: 

I have been writing stories since I was eleven years old so publishing my first novel this week is a dream come true for me! My book, A Class Apart, is the first volume in my six-part series A Matter of Class.

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?

I have a vivid memory of me at age seven climbing a stairs and going through big double doors into a library in Waterford. The awe that I felt in that moment was when my love of books began. I was a voracious reader in those early days (a lot of Enid Blyton and Ann M. Martin), and my mother says my most common phrase at the time was ‘I finished the book’. That carried on through my teens (I read The Lord of the Rings twice in a row in the few months running up to my Junior Cert state exams…), but college was my period of drought – I read a grand total of two books in three years. Since then, however, I am never without a book. My Kindle goes everywhere with me in my bag and I always have an audiobook in the car.

While historical fiction is my favourite genre, I do enjoy a lot of fantasy and young adult books too. I’m open to reading anything but love stories are my hook. So if the book has even a small romantic storyline you’ll have me invested in it, no matter what genre it is.

 Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am a self-published author. I did make attempts to go down the traditional publishing route and received my fair share of rejections, all of which I value because I used the feedback to make my book better. Over time, self-publishing became the more appealing option to me as I love the idea of having full control over my book. I get the final say on the edit and cover design and promotion, and that’s very appealing to me.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction set in the 1800s. I find the past a truly captivating place to escape to. I especially love  the 19th century because it’s near enough to modern times to be somewhat relatable and yet is still so different to the way we live now. The customs of the time fascinate me – I adore the idea of writing a letter with a quill, stepping into a horse-drawn carriage to go to a ball, marking the name of a dashing gentleman on a dance card. Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions about the hardships of the era! Of course there were many inequalities and poor conditions, particularly for the lower classes. But I do love to daydream…

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series. I just discovered her books in the last three years and can only wonder how I ever survived before that. Remember how I said I’m hooked by love stories? Well, I believe Outlander is the greatest love story out there. I really admire Gabaldon for the way she tells such a gripping tale, and evokes the time period with amazing detail, and makes a reader feel like they will burst if they don’t read on. I have learned so much from her about characterisation and structure and historical settings. Reading her books made me realise that I had been writing my own series in a little bubble. Outlander showed me the scale of historical fiction and gave me the encouragement to expand my series beyond the limited boundaries I had originally set for it. And Gabaldon’s writing style is exactly the kind I like – while I can’t emulate it, I can strive to make my own better because of it.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I’m from Ireland and my book is set in Ireland, so yes! The 19th century was a turbulent time in Irish history and I felt it served as the perfect backdrop to the story I wanted to write. They say ‘write what you know’ – I obviously haven’t lived in the 1800s, but I studied Irish history in school, and I learned how to speak Irish, and I know what it feels like to walk around my grandparents’ old Irish cottage and smell a peat fire, and those kinds of things were definitely helpful in crafting my story.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Writing without editing. When I’m drafting brand new sections, I itch to read back as I go along to make sure what I’ve written is making sense and properly punctuated. But that’s the best way to blunder to a halt and never make any forward progress. I have to just put the head down and remind myself that I can edit later. Oh, but what did I say three paragraphs ago— edit later. Oh, but just one quick look— edit LATER.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I gain a certain satisfaction from writing first thing in the morning and achieving some small goal while still in my pyjamas! Then the day is off to a good start. However, I have also had some special writing sessions burning the midnight oil, when only myself and my characters are awake.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is having a reader react positively to what I’ve written, whether it’s a blog post, a short story or a novel. It makes me so happy to know I’ve accomplished something that has resonated with someone else.

The worst thing is the crippling self-doubt. Who am I to think I can write anything? But getting the type of reaction above is the boost that encourages me to keep going.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I recognise social media as an essential aspect of being an author in this day and age, but I don’t view it as a chore. I think it’s a privilege to get so close to other authors and readers in what was once quite an isolated occupation. I do wish I was better at it though! I agonise over every post and tweet before I hit send. Of all the forums, I enjoy Twitter the most as a place to discover interesting links, read entertaining tweets, and interact with lovely people!

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

As my writing career is only just taking off, I still work by day as a piano teacher. One of the nicest parts of my job is walking down the school corridors and hearing music coming from every room (even if there’s still some scope for improvement…!).

For years I have devoted all my free time to developing my writing, but if I wasn’t doing that I think I’d like to join a choir for fun. I’m no opera singer but I can hold a tune and love to sing harmonies. I’ve been in choirs in school and college and there’s a great joy in hearing the different vocal parts combine to make one beautiful sound.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

 Just one? A cruel question, if ever I heard one! I have always had a huge affection for Watership Down by Richard Adams as it was my favourite book to read as a child. Although I think I would probably get some strange looks to have my nose in a book while it’s raining fire from the sky.

Please tell us about your debut novel: 

A Class Apart, is available in both ebook and paperback from July 10th. Set in Ireland in 1828, it’s the first book in my six-part historical fiction series A Matter of Class. The series follows heiress Bridget and stable hand Cormac who are on opposite sides of the class divide – and because of that, society says they shouldn’t fall in love. Keep an eye out for the second volume, A Class Entwined, coming in 2019!

Buy Link: Amazon UK

 

Thank you very much for having me today, Pam!

I am sure we would all like to wish Susie the very best of luck with her debut release tomorrow and her future writing career. It was a pleasure to chat to her this evening.

If you would like to know about Susie and her work, please check out the links below:

A Conversation with Author Patricia Asedegbega

This evening in the Library we have Patricia Asedegbega, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Patricia, please introduce yourself: 

24I live in sunny Spain and have been writing for about six years now. I started with a collection of cat stories to raise funds for a shelter and then moved on to my first suspense novel. I write both in Spanish and English and have series in both languages. Though I am a biologist, writing is my true passion. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love. A Conversation with Author Patricia Asedegbega

A Conversation with Lorna Peel

This evening in the Library, I am delighted to welcome, Lorna Peel­­­­­­, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome Lorna, please introduce yourself:

lorna-peelThank you for inviting me into the Library and interviewing me, Pam. I am an author of historical romance and romantic suspense novels set in the UK and Ireland. I was born in England and lived in North Wales until my family moved to Ireland to become farmers, which is a book in itself! I live in rural Ireland, where I write, research my family history, and grow fruit and vegetables. I also keep chickens and a Guinea Hen called Gertrude who now thinks she’s a chicken!

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?

Yes, I read a lot as a child – and I mean a LOT! My favourite author was Enid Blyton. I devoured everything she wrote and I remember saving up all my pocket money so I could buy the books from The Famous Five series at W.H. Smiths. They were 50p at the time!

I don’t read quite as much now as I simply don’t have the time. When I do read, I like to take a break from the genres I write in, so it’s mostly historical fiction, especially Sharon Penman (I’m working my way through her Richard The Lionheart novels at the moment) and C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Both. I have four novels with indie publishers and my two most recent novels are self-published.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical romance and romantic suspense novels. I love writing romance but I don’t write insta-love. I prefer to write about relationships which develop over time, so I send my heroes and heroines on a journey in search of their happy ever after. As well as that, I’ve always had an interest in history and genealogy and I’m lucky that I have very varied ancestors – I’m of Irish, Dutch, Welsh, German and Scottish descent – so I like to combine romance with history and/or genealogy in my novels with plenty of suspenseful twists and turns to keep everyone on their toes!

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

A teacher (inadvertently) and myself and my own stubbornness. I was never encouraged to write imaginative essays at school and one teacher even refused to read or mark any of their class’ imaginative essays. I wasn’t going to allow that teacher to discourage me from even trying to write, but it wasn’t until I left school that I began writing and I’ve been writing ever since.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

The city of Dublin plays a large part in my family history so I’ve always wanted to write some novels set there. My paternal ancestors were from Dublin and I’ve done a lot of research on the family tree as well as research into the areas where they lived and also into what they did for a living. I’ve also lived in Dublin, so having all that work done and being able to visualise streets and buildings and know how long it takes to walk from A to B was a great help to me when I sat down to write A Scarlet Woman. I still had to undertake a great deal of research for the novel but the groundwork was already complete.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The difficult part is finding the time to actually sit down and write something, especially in Summer. Summer is so short in Ireland (if we get one at all!) that I’m outside in the vegetable garden as much as possible or cleaning out the henhouse, whether I’m in the humour for it or not! To keep on top of my writing, and so that I continue to produce new novels, I now edit during the Summer months and write during Winter. 

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I used to write very late at night as I’m a night owl. More recently, it’s been in the afternoon (when possible) and in the evening. I must be getting old!

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is when someone you don’t know tells you they enjoyed reading your novel(s). That makes all the hard work worthwhile. The worst is promotion. It has to be done, but I’d rather be writing.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I do find social media an essential chore. I don’t like Facebook, it’s far too Big Brother-like IMO, but I need a Facebook Author Page. I much prefer Twitter as tweets are short and to the point (for now!) and, so far, Twitter doesn’t restrict who can see them.

I recently joined Instagram, but my favourite social media platform is Pinterest. I can spend hours there. I have boards for all my novels, one board with some great old photos of Dublin (which was an enormous help to me in writing A Scarlet Woman) and many more, including my favourite TV series, films, music etc. 

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Something involving historical research. I love research! I’m a research nerd!

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

If the earth is facing imminent oblivion, I don’t think I would be reading! I would be saying goodbye to family and friends instead. But if I was stuck on a desert island, my books of choice would be Sharon Penman’s Welsh Princes Trilogy – Here Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning. I was brought up in North Wales so I’ve either been to or know of the places mentioned in the novels.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

A Scarlet Woman by Lorna Peel eBook CoverMy latest novel is an historical romance called A Scarlet Woman and it is the first in The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series. A Scarlet Woman is set in Dublin, Ireland in 1880 and tells the story of Will Fitzgerald, an idealistic young doctor and Isobel Stevens, a fallen woman.

Will left his father’s prosperous medical practice to live and practise medicine in the poorer Liberties area of Dublin because he was tired of treating rich hypochondriacs and he wanted to do some good elsewhere. His parents were appalled and his fiancée broke off their engagement and married a rich barrister instead. So, when the novel opens, Will is nursing a broken heart and is expecting to be a poor, lonely bachelor doctor for the rest of his life. But when Will reluctantly spends a night in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding, little does he know that the disgraced young woman he meets there will alter the course of his life.

Isobel Stevens is the daughter of a cruel and vindictive clergyman from Co. Galway who ruled his family with an iron fist. Isobel was well educated and her father hoped to secure a good marriage for her but she was seduced and deserted by a neighbour’s son, leaving her viewed by society as a fallen woman through no fault of her own. Isobel’s father threw her out, so she travelled to Dublin and fell into prostitution, doing what she must to survive. On the advice of a handsome young doctor, Isobel leaves the brothel and finds work as a parlourmaid in a house on Merrion Square. Isobel never expected to see Will again, but their paths cross and their lives become intertwined and they find themselves falling in love. But is Will and Isobel’s love strong enough to flout convention and challenge the expectations of Victorian society?

A Scarlet Woman: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book One is out now on Kindle, in paperback and on Kindle Unlimited.  Buy Link: Purchase on Amazon

If you would like to know  more about Lorna and her work please check out her links below:

http://lornapeel.com

http://plus.google.com/+LornaPeel

https://www.instagram.com/lornapeelauthor

http://www.facebook.com/LornaPeelAuthor

http://www.goodreads.com/LornaPeel

http://author.to/LornaPeel

New Release from Author Catherine Kullmann

Catherine Kullmann 4 MBThis evening I have a special guest in the Library. Catherine Kullmann, my good friend and fellow Irish historical fiction author, has settled down for a chat about her new release, Perception & Illusion, which will be available on Amazon (ebook and paperback) on Tuesday.

Firstly, Catherine, can you tell us a little about the story?

Lallie Grey, who has been cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright and soon Lallie begins to question his reasons for marrying her. As she struggles to find her feet in the haut ton, Hugo feels ignored by his new wife and before long they are embroiled in a tangle of jealousy and resentment. Small misunderstandings lead to greater ones as Lallie’s rejected suitor stirs the pot. Hugo’s smouldering resentment finally erupts. Is all lost, or can they find their way to a new beginning? New Release from Author Catherine Kullmann

When Family History Inspires

Many writers draw on their family history, or indeed history in general, when putting pen to paper. For anyone involved in researching their family tree, it can be quite frustrating trying to pin together their ancestors’ lives. For many years, I dug around in Irish and UK records, trying to hunt down and piece together the  lives and times of various characters from the past. It was a challenging business, as many Irish records were destroyed in the War of Independence, leaving very few sources. I was often lucky. Through various contacts I made, some progress was achieved or I came across a clue buried deep in a library or an on-line source. When Family History Inspires

A Conversation with Author Amanda J Evans

 

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Amanda J Evans

Today in the Library I am delighted to host fellow Irish author, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Amanda J Evans, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Amanda, please introduce yourself:

I am an author, freelance writer, and poet. I live in Co. Meath, Ireland, with my husband and two children. I am known locally by my married name, Donnelly, but I write under my maiden name. I had work published in several magazines and journals in 2016. I am also the author of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, published in 2012. When I’m not writing for work clients, I am usually reading the latest novels from some of the amazing indie authors out there, or sharing snippets from my latest manuscripts with my husband and children. I have just published my first fiction book titled Finding Forever and I am almost finished my second which will be published in the summer of 2017.

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?

I always read as a child and I continue to do so today. I like to read in a large number of genres, but if I’m honest, romance tends to feature in them all, be it paranormal, fantasy, or suspense. I do like to try new genres every so often though and find that they can be very interesting. Once genre I haven’t tried yet is horror. It frightens me just to think about it.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am self-published.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write romance because I love it, especially a happy ever after. I’m a big romantic at heart so it features very much in  my writing. I write contemporary romance, paranormal, fantasy, and suspense.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

That’s a tough question, and I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head. As a child I devoured Roald Dahl and I loved Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as well as Anne of Green Gables. Anything I could get my hands on I read. In teen years I read Judy Blume and moved on to Mills and Boon and second chance romance novels. I also read a lot of Terry Pratchet and Terry Brooks. I don’t think any writer in particular has been a big influence though, I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I wrote my first book aged 8 and that was my ambition. Tragedy struck during my teens and writing took a back seat, albeit writing poetry. It is only in the past couple of years that I have found the confidence to put pen to paper again and follow my dreams.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I don’t feel that it has, but I do enjoy writing fairy tales for children and my story The Curse of Johnny Murphy, written for a local storytelling even last year, was based on Leprechauns. I also entered the Imbas Mythology competition with a story about the Banshee. So I guess you could say being Irish has been part of my stories.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The most difficult is the editing and marketing. I love the writing part and find that once I pick up my pen, it just flows. Editing on the other hand is a chore and I’m so glad that there are editors to help with this. Marketing the finished product is challenging. I do find it difficult when I’m writing a story and lots of other story ideas start to pop into my head. It’s hard to do everything, so I focus on one at a time and I’m very strict about this.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I write in the morning while my children are getting ready for school. I usually have 30 minutes and during this time I write my morning pages and then grab my notebook to continue writing my novel. I usually get 3 to 5 pages done. I have the same routine during the weekend but tend to get more written because I’m not tied to school time. This routine works really well for me. Before this I would tell myself I’d write when I got all my work done, but that never happened. I set myself a challenge to write a page a day before I start work and it has been amazing. Since August last year, I’ve finished a novel and I’m almost 90% on my second.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing for me is actually doing what I love. I love putting words on paper and watching them fill the page. I love listening to my characters and telling their stories. I love the surprises that come with that too. I never plan and I never know what is going to happen next. I let the characters tell me their stories. I tried planning but it didn’t work out. My main character ended up being a male instead of female and characters I had planned as being secondary turned into leading roles. I gave up after that and I just write what comes.

The worst part of being an author is trying to get your name out there and learn all the marketing techniques.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

Social media is definitely essential for marketing and at times it can feel like a chore, but at the moment I am enjoying it. I prefer to use Facebook, but I have found that Instagram is very popular. I have accounts with all the top ones, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, but finding the time to devote to each can be very difficult.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Even if I wasn’t an author, I would still be writing in some form or another. I write SEO website content for a large company in Canada and I love to blog. I really couldn’t imagine not writing something, even lists. I worked for the Health Board for 10 years before resigning and even during that time I scribbled something down. Writing is a part of me and I can’t not do it. I’ve tried but after two weeks I feel like I’m going mad. My mood is extremely irritable. Once I write something, even two sentences, it’s like calm washes over me.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

Oh God, that really is a tough one. It would have to be something with a happy ending, something that would calm and soothe the soul, take me away from it all. The genre would probably be fantasy, something filled with magic and delight. I remember reading The Never Ending Story when I was younger and that was amazing. Maybe I’d read that again, out loud to my children.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

I’ve just published my first book, Finding Forever, a romantic suspense novella. I’m also finishing my second book, a paranormal romance titled Save Her Soul which I am hoping to have published in the summer of 2017.

Finding Forever

When love refuses to give up

finding-forerver-ebook-final
http://www.bookgoodies.com/a/B01MY9IPZG

I look at his face, the face of the man who holds my heart, my forever, only his heart has stopped beating.

A woman desperately searching for her forever….

Liz Parker thought she’d found her forever the moment she said “I do”, but fate had other ideas. Waking up with a tattered wedding dress and her dead husband in her arms was not the way she planned her honeymoon. Distraught, she promised she would follow him. Death wasn’t taking forever away from her. Of course, she hadn’t planned on being rescued by pirates either, or the fact that Charles’ body would be left to rot on the beach.

Two lives collide…

When Liz meets John, he becomes her only hope, her chance to bring Charles’ body home, but there’s something more. Why does he look at her with such pity? Why does he agree to help her when no one else will? Why won’t anyone believe that Charles exists? Is Liz going mad?

51umfp86lzlSurviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind  Buy Link for Amazon Worldwide

If you would like to know more about Amanda and her work please check out her social media links below:

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+  Linkedin  Instagram


 

A Conversation with Author Fiona Cooke Hogan

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.

img_20170103_215340_009Hello, 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.   A Conversation with Author Fiona Cooke Hogan

A Conversation with Author CJ Harter

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­CJ Harter, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, CJ, please introduce yourself:

cjharterauthorheadshotI’ve dissected human bodies in Sheffield (legitimately), shushed library-users in Wigan, shared poetry with people living with dementia in Liverpool, and organised bedbaths in Salford. More recently, I’ve dipped my toe into local TV interviewing. In 2013 I self-published a psychological suspense “Rowan’s Well”. This is an ongoing adventure. I’m learning so much about publishing and marketing, and picking up great reviews all the time. This year I won second prize in Liverpool’s Writing On The Wall Pulp Idol First Chapter contest with my work-in-progress Fitful Head, a ghost story, attracting interest from an agent and an indie publisher. I have a degree in Literature and Philosophy. I’m mother to two adults, wife to one and slave to two tiny dogs. A Conversation with Author CJ Harter

A Conversation with Author Suzy Henderson

This evening in the Library I am delighted to have my friend and fellow historical fiction author, Suzy Henderson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

It’s lovely to meet you again, Suzy, please introduce yourself to our audience:

profile-pic-smallI live with my husband and two sons in Cumbria, England, on the edge of the beautiful Lake District. I never set out to be a writer, although I have always had an insatiable appetite for books.

Some years ago after leaving an established career in healthcare, I began to research family history, soon becoming fascinated with both World War periods. After completing a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, I took a walk along a new path, writing from the heart. I write historical fiction and have an obsession with military and aviation history.

My other interests include music, old movies, and photography – especially if WW2 aircraft are on the radar. I am a member of the Historical Novel Society and my debut novel, The Beauty Shop, was released yesterday, 28th November 2016. A Conversation with Author Suzy Henderson

A Conversation with Author Eva Pasco

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Eva Pasco, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Eva, please introduce yourself:

author-eva-pascoUndergoing a midlife renaissance, I rekindled my passion for storytelling by composing Contemporary Women’s Fiction that taps into significant issues affecting the lives of women over-forty. My character-driven novels host personas who plunge the depths of despair in their darkest hours prior to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel through redemption and empowerment.

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?

Living in a rural area as an only child until the age of 7, until my sister came along, I always had my nose in a book. While my leisure reading plummeted during my adult writing craze, it’s recently picked up at a frenetic pace through my eagerness to read and review books written by kindred Indie authors in my author support groups.

While I prefer books in my own genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, I’ve happily branched out to reading other genres which has broadened my horizons. A Conversation with Author Eva Pasco