2016 Wrap Up!

2016 was an incredibly mixed year. Professionally, things couldn’t have been better, but there were some personal lows that certainly kept my feet on the ground and made me question many aspects of my life.

The year began with The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1 being chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children. An initiative that encourages reading for fun, this is very close to my heart because if it wasn’t for books, my life would be very different indeed. Books were my childhood sanctuary and I can’t extol the value of reading enough – books really can change lives.

As for the UNESCO events from January to April, words can’t explain how amazing an experience this was. Walking into a room where all the children have read and enjoyed your book is just incredible, as was reading in the beautiful National Library of Ireland and the grand finale – a St Patrick’s Big Day Out event in a Georgian house based on 23 Mercury Lane in my book (with real pet rats).

The UNESCO team – particularly Jackie Lynam who has now become a true and valued friend – was incredible to work with; both professional and human. It was during this time that I lost two close friends and they were so incredibly supportive, I can’t thank them enough – so a huge thank you goes out to everyone involved. (Look out for Dave Rudden’s Knights of the Borrowed Dark events from January to March as the 2017 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read kicks into action – they’re going to be amazing).

Publication wise, my first young adult book, Caramel Hearts, was released in Ireland and Australia in June, and I was honoured to have Sinead Gleeson launch the book for me. Sinead is an incredible woman whom I admire very much because of her kindness, her honesty and her integrity. Sinead’s writing and interviews always have a profound effect on me and I’m looking forward to more in 2017.

img_6895Later in the year, The Book of Shadows – Nine Lives Trilogy 2 was published, and this went on to be shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards! This was a wonderful night, shared with many great friends who were also shortlisted and I also got to see my husband in a tux! In addition, The Book of Learning was optioned for dramatic rights by the lovely and enthusiastic Ripple World Pictures – watch this space!

There have been over 100 events in schools and libraries this year, including a rather busy October, spent touring for joint events with Alan Early. The Children’s Book Festival is exciting yet hectic, but Alan really made the month fly by with plenty of laughs – if you haven’t already, you should check out his Arthur Quinn series. It’s brilliant.

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Festivals have been kind to me also this year, including West Cork Literary Festival, Doolin Writers Weekend, Ryedale Book Festival, Mountains to Sea, Belfast Book Festival and Listowel Writers Week – each was a pleasure and a joy and I can’t wait to return.

Festivals provide so much for writers; the chance to get in front of an audience, some income, time to meet with other writers and also attend their events to keep the whole writing side fresh and interesting. Writing festivals are a highlight in any writers’ calendar, so thank you to everyone who works tirelessly to keep them going!

However, on the flip side, some very close friends died this year, and the loss of their smiles, their chat, their talent, is keenly felt. In addition, with so much success comes lots of hard work and I have to admit, even though I’m a born grafter, I found the workload crushing at times. I’ve had to sometimes neglect those close to me and have struggled to maintain friendships without any free time. My husband, my friends and my village have all been so understanding – it’s an incredible thing to have finally found a home.

And so, what has 2016 shown me? To make sure you look after and cherish those close to you, as well as your own health – because that’s what really matters. And so, that’s exactly what I intend to do in 2017. I have many more people to thank for their support and encouragement this year, but that’s a post for New Year.

Happy Christmas all and see you in 2017 x

Thank you everyone!

the book of learning australia

That wonderful feeling, when people read your book!

2015 was a busy year and a bit of a rollercoaster, but oh so exciting; not only did my debut The Book of Learning hit the shelves, but it was also named Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read for 2016! This is a huge honour as a new author, and I’m looking forward to the many events that have been planned for next year as a result (I’ll provide more details on those in January).

In the three months since my book has been published, I’ve been lucky enough to meet many readers through the Children’s Book Festival (run by the incredible library service), as well as Dublin Book Festival, Creative Ardagh FrightFest, the CBI Conference and various school events. It’s been a dream come true and there’s nothing like getting feedback on your book – it really is the best feeling ever!

The next book to be published, March 2016

The next book to be published, March 2016

Two more books have already been delivered to their respective publishers, and so there’s plenty more to come. But I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the part they’ve played in making my first year as a published author so special.

To everyone who bought my book, reviewed my book on goodreads or amazon or their website, attended a launch, sent kind words of encouragement or feedback, gave heartfelt advice or simply a hug when I looked tired, thank you so much. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And for those of you seeking a book deal -whatever you’re writing, keep going. I know you’ll get there, and it will be worth the slog.

 

 

The Book of Learning – 2016 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read

BookofLearningFullCover-1Being a debut author has been crazily exciting so far, and now I have some incredible news to share… The Book of Learning is the chosen book for the 2016 Citywide Reading for Children campaign. The Citywide Read is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Council’s Libraries Service, in partnership with Mercier Press and runs from January to March 2016.

So what does this mean? You can read the press release here, but In a nutshell, it’s a scheme that encourages children to read for fun. I’ll be facilitating events across Dublin City libraries throughout January, February and March 2016, and the children of Dublin, along with their parents, will be encouraged to read my book and to visit their local Dublin City library to enjoy the events taking place. It can be summed up as follows:

Children encouraged to read for fun + visit libraries = a very happy author!!!!

Planning starts now, and I cant wait to reveal more in the near future 🙂