A Conversation with Author Jenny O’Brien

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jenny O’Brien who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Jenny, please introduce yourself:

Firstly, thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Pam.

I view myself as a mum who writes. I have three teens and spend most of my spare time acting as taxi driver. But I always carry around a notebook and pen and, when I have a spare minute, write. I’ve been doing just that for the last 12 years and, funnily enough, am about to publish book number 12. I’m also a qualified nurse and still spend my mornings at the local hospital doing what nurses do. Although born in Dublin I now live in Guernsey and spend my time between there, Wales and France.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I’m currently writing thrillers. I started out writing romance and, whilst I’d never say never, my writing has moved on from there. I also write for children. There’s something engaging writing for this age group. The skies the limit as far as imagination goes – it’s fun. Writing thrillers isn’t fun. It can be enjoyable but it’s also complex and emotionally demanding.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I read every day when perhaps I don’t get to write. It’s my first love. I own 2 kindles just in case one breaks or something. I know – madness. But I don’t watch TV so it’s my main form of relaxation. I read romance, crime and a smattering of literary classics.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

Start late and leave early. Something I read many years ago and still practice today. Basically, it means jumping straight into a scene rather than beginning with a long intro. And, at the end, leave early – leave the reader with a need to turn that next page to find out what’s next.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I find I have to squeeze my writing in between work and running around after the kids but I do enjoy that first half hour when the rest of the house is asleep.

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

You name it I’ve tried it. Knitting is my first love, but I’ve tried all sorts of crafting projects with varying degrees of success. I’m the proud owner of numerous woollens and a variety of patchwork. I even make my own jewellery not that I ever wear it. Reading would also feature – there’s nothing like curling up with a good book.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

Probably the complete works of Jane Austen barring Sense and Sensibility, my least favourite. There’s always something new each time I read them.

Please tell us about your latest published work, which I have just pre-ordered.  

My latest book is Missing in Wales, the first in a crime series which features DC Gabriella Darin, half Italian, half Liverpudlian and living and working in Pembrokeshire. I’ve included the blurb below:

Alys is fine – don’t try to find us

Izzy Grant is haunted by the abduction of her new-born daughter five-years ago. When a postcard arrives from her missing partner, the man she believes is responsible, saying they’re fine and asking her not to try to find them, she knows she can’t give up hoping. Then she sees a face from her past. Grace Madden. Just where did she disappear to all those years ago? And is there a connection between her disappearance and that of her child?

DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Swansea, is brash, bolshie and dedicated. Something doesn’t fit with the case and she’s determined to find out just what happened all those years ago.

Available in paperback now or pre-order as an e-book here.

Thank you for inviting me. I love hearing from readers. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram as Scribblerjb and on Facebook here


A Conversation with Author Caroline E Farrell @carolineauthor

Today in the Library we have the multi-talented ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Caroline E Farrell, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author and film maker.

You are very welcome, Caroline, please introduce yourself:

37186650_10214601731649976_273695614116560896_nI’m a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. My current novel, Lady Beth, won the Carousel Aware Prize for Best Novel, 2017. I have also written a vampire story, Arkyne, Story of A Vampire, and have recently written and directed a short film, Framed, which is currently on the film festival circuit. Several of my feature scripts have won awards, and I have written and co-produced two other short films, Adam (2013) and the multi-award winning In Ribbons (2015). A Conversation with Author Caroline E Farrell @carolineauthor

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 Sharon Thompson

Head shot 1 Feb 2018 copy for gravatarThis evening in the Library, I am delighted to welcome fellow Irish author, Sharon Thompson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Please tell us a little about yourself:

Sharon Thompson here, Irish author who is living in Donegal. I write anything I can but my debut crime novel just launched in January 2018 with leading digital publishers, Bloodhound Books UK. It was a #1 Best-seller on Kindle. A Conversation with Author Sharon Thompson

The O’Donovan Saga: Tales of 19th Century Ireland & America

One of the greatest joys for me since stepping into the publishing world, has been the opportunity to meet and befriend fellow authors, particularly those who write historical fiction. So I am delighted this evening to host Irish-American author, Patricia Hopper Patteson. Earlier this year, Patricia and I met for the first time, face-to-face, on one of her trips home to Dublin. I also had the opportunity to attend Patricia’s Irish book launch for Corrib Red. The O’Donovan Saga: Tales of 19th Century Ireland & America

A Conversation in the Library with Author Nicola Cassidy

Thanks so much to fellow writer Pam O'Shea for comingOnly a few weeks’ ago, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of December Girl, the debut novel of fellow Irish historical fiction author, Nicola Cassidy. I’m a few chapters in and really loving this story. It grabs your attention straight away – I read the first chapter with my heart pounding!

Nicola has found some time in her very busy life to come along and  join me in the library this evening to share some insights into her life as an author. A Conversation in the Library with Author Nicola Cassidy

A Conversation with Author Amanda J Evans


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


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 Dianne Ascroft

Today in the Library I am delighted to host author ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Dianne Ascroft, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Dianne, please introduce yourself:

Dianne Ascroft headshotHi everyone. I’m an urban Canadian writer. I moved to Britain more than a quarter of a century ago and gradually downsized until I’m now settled on a farm in rural Northern Ireland with my husband and an assortment of strong willed animals.

I write historical and contemporary fiction, often with an Irish connection. My current series The Yankee Years is a collection of Short Reads and novels set in World War II Northern Ireland. After the Allied troops arrived in this outlying part of Great Britain, life there would never be the same again. The series weaves tales of the people and the era. My previous writing includes a short story collection, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves and an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars. Online I lurk at www.dianneascroft.com. A Conversation with Author Dianne Ascroft

A Conversation with Author Paul Kestell

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Paul Kestell, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

You are very welcome, Paul, please introduce yourself:

 imageHi, I started writing when I was very young …  but I was shy and I didn’t really come out till my final years in secondary school, when I made the school magazine with a few stories in the flash fiction genre before it was ever invented. I started writing novels when I was forty-six after a sudden illness forced me to change almost everything in my life. I went to live in a small fishing village in West Cork …. where I wrote Viareggio, and Wood Point, both novels, and then two collections of novelettes called The Mad Marys of Dunworley and The West Cork Railway and Other Stories. My reviews have been very good but not good enough to tempt a mainstream publisher to take me on. So I continue to publish under my own imprint Black Cormorant Books, and my new title is ‘Nogginers,’ a series of twelve short stories set where I grew up in Sallynoggin. A Conversation with Author Paul Kestell