From time to time I get the most amazing correspondence from my readers. Sometimes they write to tell me that my stories helped them through a difficult time such as their parents' divorce or the death of a sibling. I feel so sad for them, but I'm also glad that my books could provide some solace. I also receive happy tales of decisions to journey to Ireland and travel the routes my characters have taken. This is a pic of one reader who ended up on the Hill of Tara, the seat of the ancient high kings of Eire, with her copy of The Hunter's Moon. (Yes, I have Katherine's permission to blog her.) Another two young women - Shannon and Eleri - wrote an incredible email about how they met when working in a remote camp overlooking a glacier in British Columbia. Sharing a tent together (must ask them what on earth their jobs were, sounds very Canadian) they discovered a mutual love of books including a favourite childhood book whose title they couldn't remember. But they did remember two girls travelling around Ireland in pursuit of the fairies and they decided they would do the same thing! Their email tells of a magical mystery tour that did indeed follow Gwen and Findabhair from Tara, criss-crossing the countryside and up to Inch Island in County Donegal. Though they found Ireland changed in many ways - the homeless in Dublin, the urban encroachment on the green fields, the fact it simply is NOT safe to hitch-hike here anymore (though many still do) - they were delighted to find that Irish people are still wonderfully warm and friendly, the old stones and castles are still standing, and the fairies may yet be looking out for curious travellers.
I was born in Ireland and grew up in Toronto, Canada with my seven sisters and two brothers. Left home at seventeen to live in a commune, then headed off across Canada with my pal, Carole, and we hitch-hiked around California for months, then back up to Vancouver(Van as we called it then) and across Canada with two more pals, Linda and Peggy. A year later, headed off to Malaysia and Borneo with Jeunesse Canada Monde/Canada World Youth for a year. Baik-lah! Back home, went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto (posh blokes) while also joining the Canadian Naval Reserve as an Officer Cadet. Trained on the east and west coasts of Canada every summer. Great fun. Then what? Hmm. Started to write books, dodgy personal life (that's personal but let's just say it's been a long time between drinks) started to wander around the world, had a darling daughter, settled down in Ireland, wrote more books.