Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Back to Work (again)

I am finally back at work on the revisions to The Book of Dreams. It's over a month since I have even attempted to do this. I realize now that losing my annotated copy of the book had a much greater effect on me than I originally thought. Afterall, I had made notes up to Chapter 22 - almost halfway through the book! - and losing them meant I had to start all over again. An appalling prospect. But, in fact, it has been greatly helped by my listening to the CNIB/INCA (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) version of the book which is read by Irish-Canadian poet Lucy Brennan. Here's a pic of the two of us at a party which Kathy Stinson and Peter Carver threw for me when I was in Canada a while back. Thanks to Lucy, I am already up to Chapter 8 and I only started yesterday! Listening to her, I am actually enjoying my own work while busily scribbling away. You know, it's not a bad story. And what did I do all the time I wasn't writing? Well, I went quietly mad.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tolkien Complex

Yeah, I've got one. So here's my version of author-in-a-tree, in homage to his. My sister Pat took it on one of our hiking jaunts, when I dragged her up the Powerscourt Waterfall which you are NOT supposed to climb as it is extremely dangerous. But I needed to do it for research in The Light-Bearer's Daughter. This old woods is on top of the falls. I set a scene here between Dana and a fairy woman. As you step beyond the trees you are suddenly faced with waves of green hills: the Wicklow Mountains.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Reader Mail

Often when I get letters or emails from readers thanking me for my work, they say "this probably isn't important to you" or "I'm sure you hear this all the time, so it makes no difference." Let me say this clearly: it IS important to me and it makes a HUGE difference. Like most or probably all writers, I have times when I am tortured with self-doubt and I agonize over whether I have wasted my life or if I am doing the right thing or if I should be writing something more profound than fairy tales. When readers tell me that my stories have helped them through a dark time or refreshed their souls or made them happy, I am elated. It's not enough to write for prizes or money, though these things can be nice in themselves. Einstein said, "only a life lived for others is worthwhile." And Victor Frankl, the great psychologist and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, concluded that ultimately we need to know that what we do has meaning. So to every reader who thanks me, I say thank you.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Japanese Book of Dreams

Here are the covers for the two-volume Japanese edition of The Book of Dreams, to be published May 31 of this year. My Japanese agent at Tuttle-Mori says the colours are much brighter in person, but I think these are gorgeous nonetheless! Will try to post the two together.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

German Rights Sold!

Would you believe, I forgot to post this bit of excellent news. Yes, I have a German publisher: Verlag Random House GmbH, also known as Bertelsmann. Can't wait to see what kind of covers they do. This means I can give books to Finn's Austrian cousins (on her Dad's side) who speak German and very little English. Wunderbar!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Poems and Stories

Headed up to Baronscourt in Northern Ireland last week (halfway between Omagh and Strabane)to put on two days of writing workshops for the Pushkin Trust. Founded by the Duchess of Abercorn, it's a wonderful programme involving students, teachers, student teachers, artists (writers, painters, musicians, composers etc) and environmentalists, from both sides of the border. The writing workshops are held in a log cabin by a lake, with a wood stove and candles. I've run workshops there for adults, but this week it was primary school children. Decided to use some Native Canadian artifacts I had collected in my travels, i.e. a rain stick, a birch bark berry basket, and a moose horn. They inspired wonderful poems and stories.