Monday, December 31, 2007

The Power of Three

This Christmas saw me wandering around the Irish countryside visiting friends and family. It was fantastic. Started in County Sligo at Finn's dad's big fort in the mountains (see, then off to County Clare to visit poet and painter Frank Golden. While in Clare I was invited to a fellow fantasy writer's house for dinner and there waiting to surprise me was another friend and fantasy writer whom I hadn't seen in years! She's from Australia but now lives in the Czech Republic. So here we are, three smiling gals: Kate Thompson in the front, Isobelle Carmody to the left, and OR Melling to the right. Have you read the three of us? (Photo credit: Dorothy Towers Thompson)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doris Lessing

Must speak of Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize for Literature awarded this month. I am so thrilled for this amazing woman! Now I must confess a certain block of her work leaves me cold, chiefly the middle-class women's stuff. As with Margaret Atwood's writing, I admire the intellect and the exquisite craftsmanship, but the content has nothing to say to me. Yet Lessing's speculative fiction is something else. It began with Briefing for a Descent into Hell and reached its peak with the Canopus series. I go into raptures at the thought of The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five and also The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. The first is a mind-opening study of love and sex while the second paints images that still echo in my mind years after I have read them. Conventional critics have never understood Lessing's Sufi-inspired work (she was introduced by no lesser a light than Idries Shah!) but that's because they are blockheads who refuse to look outside the box.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Film Affects

I was working away on the FAQs section of my new website and was listing my favourite movies when it occurred to me that I have never mentioned films which influenced my books. There are scenes in The Hunter's Moon which were directly inspired by the oldest film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Max Reinhardt, 1935). It's in black and white with a 14 year old Mickey Rooney as Puck. There's an incredible scene where the King of Faerie, with black eye-liner on his eyes and wearing all black, ascends into the sky, his long dark train unravelling behind him and sparkling with tiny fairies which are also the stars in the night! (And this was wayyyyy before expensive special effects.) A more modern movie that influenced The Summer King is the late Polish genius Krzysztof Kieslowski's Bleu starring Juliette Binoche. Though it has nothing to do with fairies, it deals with death, loss, grief, and newfound love. The film also features the amazing words of 1 Corinthians 13:2, Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, if I have not love, I am nothing. The entire verse plays a big part in my book. By synchronicity (that long word for magic) the American cover of The Summer King could certainly be called "bleu"!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snowy Canada

To balance snowy Ireland on my Blog, here's snowy Canada on my Book Blog. And of course this pic is appropriate here because it is of Creemore, the picturesque town featured in The Book of Dreams. This is where Dana's grandmother lives and also where several scenes are set, in particular the grand finale! By the way, Creemore was settled by the Irish in the 1800s and the town's name comes from croí mór, meaning "big heart." Also, by the way, that gorgeous signage was crafted by my friend Shane Durnford, local artist and artisan extraordinaire.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New Design

So this wonderful new look on my two blogs is a preview of the overall design that is being created for my website by the fantabulous Terry Findlay of Simtec. Isn't it only gorgeous? I'm thrilled to bits. Right now, however, I am also bug-eyed from trawling through data on the old site to update and send on to Terry. He's in Canada. I'm in Ireland. Fitting for an Irish-Canadian author, eh? With any luck ... what's that saying? ... the cows will be home for Christmas. (What an odd saying. You have to wonder where the cows went in the first place.) Anyway, I shall have a whole new look for the whole new year.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

New Work Space

Yes, I am finally out of the bush pilot space and into a more expansive area for working. Also, cosier. I tell you, in the grey drizzly wet days of an Irish winter there's nothing like an open fire and a new book to warm you up. (And when I say a book, I mean writing one, not reading one.)