A Conversation with Author Frances Macken

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

You are very welcome, Frances, please introduce yourself:

Frances Macken by City Headshots Dublin

I grew up in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. I completed a BA in Film and Television Production at the National Film School, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in the mid-noughties. I have since worked in the advertising, PR and non-profit sectors and I’m working in a marketing role at a non-fiction publishing company at the moment. I’ve written several short stories and been shortlisted in national short story competitions run by RTÉ and Penguin Ireland. My ambition is to write eight fiction novels and I am reading for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford at the current time. I have published a novella, a paranormal thriller entitled The Diary of Natalya Zlota, available on Amazon. My writing is creepy, humorous and experimental and can be likened to the ‘magical realism’ genre. A Conversation with Author Frances Macken

Celebrating Irish Women Authors: Katharine Tynan Hickson

This blog post is dedicated to Marcella & Keith Flanagan, Katharine’s relatives and my life-long friends


It was a song I learnt in school and one, I’m sure, most of you know. All in the April Evening has a beautiful melody and the words touched something in my childish heart, something most of the songs that were inflicted on us at the time most certainly didn’t do. It was only many years later that I discovered that the writer of the poem that forms the lyrics of the song, was Katharine Tynan, and that she was related to my next door neighbour and life-long friend!

So who was she?

Katherine TynanKatharine was born in Clondalkin, Dublin, on 23rd January, 1859. She was one of twelve children and grow up on her father’s dairy farm. From age 6 to 14, she attended the Dominican Convent of St Catherine of Siena, Drogheda, and even considered life in a religious order. Celebrating Irish Women Authors: Katharine Tynan Hickson

My Writing Heroes: Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849)


“Thady begins his memoirs of the Rackrent Family by dating MONDAY MORNING, because no great undertaking can be auspiciously commenced in Ireland on any morning but MONDAY MORNING. ‘Oh, please God we live till Monday morning, we’ll set the slater to mend the roof of the house. On Monday morning we’ll fall to, and cut the turf. On Monday morning we’ll see and begin mowing. On Monday morning, please your honour, we’ll begin and dig the potatoes,’ etc.

All the intermediate days, between the making of such speeches and the ensuing Monday, are wasted: and when Monday morning comes, it is ten to one that the business is deferred to THE NEXT Monday morning. The Editor knew a gentleman, who, to counteract this prejudice, made his workmen and labourers begin all new pieces of work upon a Saturday.”

― Maria EdgeworthCastle Rackrent

My Writing Heroes: Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849)

How to Market your Self-Published Book

I’m joking; if I knew I’d be a millionaire. If anyone tells you they have the magic formula – back away very slowly. I do believe that there is one little pieMagic Wandce of magic involved, but I’m not going to reveal what it is until the very end.

This world of promotion and marketing is all very new to me. This time last year I wasn’t even sure I was going to publish. However, encouraged by my wonderful editor, Hiliary Johnson and friends and family, I finally took the plunge last July and set my book baby free in the big bad world. Frankly, that was the easy bit; what came next is like something out of a nightmare. There I was clutching my book baby and no clue how to get it noticed. I ran around like a headless chicken trying this method and that. Some succeeded and others failed. What follows is a History of the Trials and Tribulations of an Indie Author in the Virtual World’! How to Market your Self-Published Book

Edith Somerville, Irish Author (1858-1949)

Irish RMSometimes I cannot believe my luck. Pondering on where to start the research for my next novel, I suddenly remembered how much I had loved watching The Irish RM on TV. I was fairly sure it was the right period and remembered how affectionately my father had spoken of the novels of Somerville & Ross. So off I went and downloaded a few of the books. I could not believe it. What better source of contemporary writing could there be; set in the south of Ireland and in the timeline of my current work in progress! Of course the novels are dated but the level of detail, from a research point of view, is pure gold. What surprised me most was the writing; the descriptions are often lyrical and the underlying humour had me chuckling away. Edith Somerville, Irish Author (1858-1949)