Lisa Fischer Sings Samuel Barber’s “Sure on this Shining Night”

I am supposed to be working on a redraft of a short story and it’s going well. But a few days ago, a certain member of the household brought to my attention the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which is about backing vocalists, their talent and harmony, and the power they brought to the rock songs we hear so often. I have become obsessed with this film, and with the songs in it – so I cannot push it from the front of my brain down to the back and am utterly distracted. Just download it and watch. If it doesn’t stay in your heart, you are surely made of stone.

There were so many moving moments – I will never listen to “Gimme Shelter” in the same way again now that I have heard Merry Clayton’s raw and powerful vocal – but one that really stayed in my heart was one of the singer Lisa Fischer multitracked on Samuel Barber’s “Sure on this Shining Night”. Each time a new line occurred, the film “cloned” another Lisa singing into a mike in the studio, until the room was full of Lisas, all singing.

I tracked down the song on Spotify and when I heard the purity of the words and melody, its beauty and pathos, its sublime and ineluctible sadness, I thought: that’s what I’ve always wanted to write. If White Feathers could be a song, and if it could be one like this, I would be very happy indeed.

Lisa Fischer Sings Samuel Barber’s “Sure on this Shining Night”

Romantic Novel Awards Update

No cigar for me this time, alas. The winner in my category was Hazel Gaynor, for her Titanic novel, The Girl Who Came Home. Strong Irish contingent for this one as she was in this category along with me and Stephen Burke (far right) while Ciara Geraghty was also shortlisted in the Contemporary category. Hazel and I are in the centre, she looking resplendent in green.

romantic novelist award historical

Continue reading “Romantic Novel Awards Update”

Romantic Novel Awards Update

A World War I Evening in Carlow, 11 March

My weekend in Donegal was lovely in spite of Biblical rain. Thanks to Maureen Curran who hosted me, bought me lunch, and conducted a wonderful interview in Cafe Blend in Letterkenny. Her questions were the kind you always love answering because they really engage with the book. The following day I ran a writer’s workshop in a garden terrace in a beautiful house on the River Swilly. Authors, if you are looking for a great place to talk about your book and meet like-minded people, I cannot recommend North West Words highly enough and I hope I will get to come back sometime soon – I’ve left with really happy memories. See the last post for links to their site.

And no sooner am I back than I’m off again – this time to my hometown, Carlow, where I’m joining Paul Maguire of the Carlow Military Museum and other historians, giving a talk on the real life influences and events behind White Feathers. This is taking place in the Seven Oaks Hotel at 8pm and copies of the book will be on sale. Many thanks to Mona McGarry for organising this event. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to Paul on the phone and I can tell he is a kindred spirit  – and what he doesn’t know about the period isn’t worth writing on the back of a postage stamp.

Then on the Friday morning, I will be on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1, discussing all things romantic novel. This is in preparation for the gala night in London next Monday where the winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year 2015 will be announced – I’m really looking forward to meeting Hazel Gaynor and the other Irish shortlistees. Happy to meet non-Irish shortlistees too, of course :)

A World War I Evening in Carlow, 11 March

An evening with me in Letterkenny, Friday 27 Feb

The lovely Maureen Curran from North West Words has helped organise this event on Friday night in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. The venue is the award-winning Cafe Blend and the time is 8pm. I will be giving a reading and responding to questions from the reading groups. I’m really excited at the opportunity to talk about the book with book groups and engage with all the readers. Anyone in the Donegal/Letterkenny area who would like to pop along, booking details are down below. Thanks to everyone who has made this possible. I will also be giving a workshop the following morning in the same venue at 11.

From the Donegal Now website:

North West Words and Cafe Blend are hosting an evening with author of ‘White Feathers,’ Susan Lanigan.

White Feathers was described in Sunday Times Culture as ‘a sweeping and engrossing tale of love, betrayal and death – masterful.’ The book tells the story of Eva Downey who jumps at the chance to attend finishing school, especially as she is about to be forced into marriage by her overbearing parents. At the school she finds kinship and unexpectedly, love. But when war breaks out in 1914 her family are pushing her into giving the man she loves a white feather of cowardice because he refuses to enlist. Eva’s decision will have devastating consequences for her and everyone around her.

White Feathers is available from O’Brien Press and is on sale in bookshops around the country, including Eason in Letterkenny.

The evening with Susan Lanigan will take place in Cafe Blend, High Road Letterkenny on Friday, February 27 from 8.00pm. Booking advised by calling (074) 9177787. More information on this and other upcoming North West Words events can be found on the organisation’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/North-West-Words/114542588559059

An evening with me in Letterkenny, Friday 27 Feb

The Links School – The Real Life Counterpart

Look at this from the Eastbourne Herald archives! This is the real school whose name I used for my fictional school in White Feathers. They published a story about me and the school, which I attach below, and the story of how it came about:

Picture of the Links School, including lawn tennis courts and ladies lounging around. Also article about me!
Picture of the Links School, including lawn tennis courts and ladies lounging around. Also article about me!

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People who read this blog will recall that last November I went to south-East England to conduct an interview with BBC Sussex and Surrey and meet Sheila Bugler and her friend Annemarie Field of the Eastbourne Herald. Continue reading “The Links School – The Real Life Counterpart”

The Links School – The Real Life Counterpart

White Feathers Shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award

I’ve been sitting on this for well over a month now so it’s great to shout it from the rooftops at last – White Feathers has been shortlisted for the prestigious Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

(This is a scheduled blog post as I won’t have access to post when the news is announced so hopefully those links will have up to date info)

To add to the pleasure for the publisher, fellow O’Brien Press author Kim Hood has also been shortlisted for the YA equivalent. Here is one small Irish publisher punching WAY above its weight :) (not to mention that we also have the same agent, and she is badass)

How am I feeling now? Absolutely delighted – and vindicated, at last. I always said I’d fight for that book, but turns out the book seems to fight for itself pretty well.

White Feathers Shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award