Monday, August 28, 2006


Turned out to be five last chapters, as two scenes could not possibly go together, so I split up a chapter and made a sandwich. All in all that's forty-five (45) chapters and the entire book is now with my editor. Great news. She started on the first batch I sent her and said, "gorgeous" and "I feel I am in the presence of an ancient storyteller". Well, it doesn't get better than that. So I am happy happy and celebrating (see Blog for details).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nearly There

Yes, my editor now has forty (40) chapters and I am working on the last four (4). So the book has gone from an original 26 chapters plus epilogue to a full 44 chapters. That's some rewrite. Meanwhile, I tried to post the link that will bring you to this blog in Japanese on Yahoo, but no luck. It threw out all the graphics. Will ask my webmaster about it. But it is quite amazing to see. Who does the translation? It looks wonderful. And now there will be a post in Japanese about me writing about the blog in Japanese. A blog is a blog is a blog. Actually, my books sell better in Japan than they do in Ireland. (Typical, eh?) Hello to my Japanese readers! I hope to visit in 2007 when The Book of Dreams comes out in two volumes! More about that anon!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Nearly Dead Author

Today was the deadline for sending the ms of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. Did I make it? Well ... I sent 23 beautiful, tightly-finished chapters. There are 21 more to go. I have completed another 13 which just need a quick once-over and off they go too. And Chapter 36 is just about done. And then there are 8 left to be re-written. Fingernails worn to the bone, brain like gloop, crawling and gasping toward the finish line; books are completed in their own time. I'd be upset if I wasn't so happy with how it's turning out. And that is the bottom line. If it's turning out well - and it is! - a little bit of lateness is not a big prob. Must collapse into bed. More work tomorrow. There is nothing else but the work right now. The personal life is dead in Russia. (Favourite line from Dr Zhivago.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Magical Landscapes

Even though I write fantastical fiction, the beautiful places I describe are real and not imaginary. As the new edition of The Summer King makes its way into America, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, I thought I would post some photos of Achill Island, the main setting for the book. I have travelled to Achill often, as I love that magical island, but I made two specific research trips when re-writing the book. See below for the pics. And thank you to my fellow hiker and eldest sister, Pat, who took the photos. By great good fortune she is a gifted visual artist (like many of my sisters) as well as great company.

On the Ridge of Croaghaun

This is a view of Slievemore from the ridge of Croaghaun. In the book, Laurel and Ian climb the ridge together to search for the golden eagle, Laheen. Given that Slievemore - Sliabh Mór, the Great Mountain - is 2,204 feet, you can see how high up this is, as the peak appears so small! And it looks utterly different when viewed from below. Everywhere you go on Achill, the Great Mountain dominates the landscape from the northern side of the island.

Cliffs of Croaghaun

This is facing north from Achill Island, overlooking Blacksod Bay. I imagined Laheen's nest inside this rockface, but further up the precipice, facing the Atlantic Ocean (inaccessible and unseeable unless you get out in a boat). You can see how high up we are if you look in the distance. That flat pancake out there is a large island!

Laheen's Domain

These are the cliffs of Croaghaun, along the two mile precipice from Saddle Head to Achill Head, Europe's highest sea cliffs. It was not easy getting up this high, I can tell you. It took us about 3 hours with little stops for tea and sandwiches. At one point I was counting my steps, just to get one foot in front of the other. I would stop for breath at every 25. One time I looked back and my sister, Pat, was flaked out on the mountainside. I'll have to scan that pic since I took it!

Keel Dunes

These are the sand dunes leading to Trawmore or Keel Strand. They are behind Amethyst Cottage, Dana's grandparents' summer house on Achill Island. This is where Dana stormed off after her fight with Ian and then down onto the beach (see below). It was these dunes she was standing on when she dreamed of Midir and the fairy cavalcade.


This is Trawmore - Trá Mór, the Great Strand - also called Keel Strand, below the village of Keel. Those are the Cliffs of Minaun in the distance. In Laurel's dream, Midir and the fairy cavalcade come over the cliffs and down onto the beach. This is also where Ian carried Laurel, from the caves in the cliffs all the way along the shore. On a sunny day, everything shines - the sea, the sand, the sky. You cannot see where one begins and the other ends.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Best Yet!

Little time for blogging as I am in sight of the finishing line for this penultimate draft of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. There will inevitably be one more full re-write once my fearless editor gets her hands on it. She is truly brilliant, Susan van Metre at Abrams. And then of course I will be tweaking it right up until they wrest it from my fingers and take it to the printer. But if I do say so myself, I think, yes, this third book is even better than the first two. Very complex plot and some really fabulous stuff. I keep thinking, "Who is writing this?!" Now back to work ...