I decided to set up this blog so I could write a little about my writing and about the country (and continent) it comes from.
So, here goes.
My first book is called The Butterfly Heart and it is a story set in Zambia, a butterfly shaped country right in the heart of Africa (hence the title!) It has been published by Walker Books and is going to be released on the 3rd of March 2011.
I moved to Ireland in 2003 and in 2005 I started attending a Writing Course run by our now Children’s Laureate Siobhán Parkinson. It was a brilliant course and during it I started writing my first book (not Butterfly Heart – but another children’s book set in Ireland called All Fall Down) Ireland seemed to be the right place to start writing in because despite it being a small country it is filled to the brim with writers, musicians and artists.
It was on the basis of my first book that Sophie Hicks became my agent and through her that I found such a wonderful home in Walker Books for my second book, The Butterfly Heart.
My partner, Tom O’Neill, has also had a book published during this time and his is called Old friends – The Lost tales of Fionn MacCumhaill, published by Little Island. A magical tale described in a review by Gemma Hussey as ‘Wonderfully irreverent, engrossing … a tour-de-force of storytelling’ .
In between writing we breed horses – a varied collection of Irish Draughts, Cobs and Clydesdales on our farm in Kilkenny, all gentle creatures. You can visit our horses at www.laragh-horses.com
Ireland is different in some ways from the countries in Africa that I lived in, but similar in others. The sun doesn’t shine asoften here, that’s one difference. And when it does shine, it’s not as hot! But at the end of it all Ireland is country where people are trying to make a living, entertaining one another and doing what they can to get by in this world. The Irish, like Zambians, have folk tales, myths and legends and an ancient history. They have music and art and dance, like anywhere in the world. So, for me moving continents was not hard – I have grown to love things about Ireland in the same way as I loved things about Zambia, about Kenya and about South Africa. There are things I would get fed up with as well, in all places, but that’s life. and we all have to do what we can to change those things.
Here’s the cover of the book!