What I Write
This book has a bit of everything. The most powerful thing it does possess; soul. Good, old-fashioned, soul. – Margaret Madden, Bleach House Library and Irish Independent reviewer.
Hello and welcome! I am a politically engaged, character-centred author of high-concept, dramatic, emotive fiction and consider myself an activist writer in the tradition of John Milton. While I have published mainly historical fiction, it seems a dereliction of civic principles not to address more contemporary social problems, which is why I am pivoting to a wider time period and other genres while still keeping the “big picture” which looking into the past offers. I have a burning desire to rip through saccharine, sentimentalised, packaged narratives, and tell powerful stories that will keep any reader enthralled.
Examples of Literary Activism
I have long campaigned against our harsh defamation laws and recently had a story published in Cork City Libraries Words 3 anthology titled “The Defamation Suit” which addresses the common practice of powerful men silencing bad behaviour through the use of SLAPPery. I have a forthcoming story from Channel Magazine which is trans-affirming and expresses hope for the future of our seas. My current novel on submission is to do with eco-crime in County Cork with a backstory in the Irish Civil War. My novel White Feathers (2014) has a narrative of resistance to a hostile state and a positive abortion story, for which it has been reprimanded.
I am a member of the Irish Green Party and have previously served as a local area rep (2017-19) – I wish to work our environmental situation directly into fiction.
What I am Not
I do not write spare, restrained prose. The historical novelist in me sees this mindset as intergenerational trauma arising from the Great Famine. Words are not calories, and I like to have lots going on.
I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in English and History in the late 90s, then pursued a Graduate Diploma in I.T. in Dublin City University and a Masters in Writing in NUI Galway.
My first novel White Feathers, a tale of passion, betrayal and war, was selected as one of the final ten in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair, 2013, and published in 2014 by Brandon Books. The book won critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the UK Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2015.
My second novel, Lucia’s War, also concerning WWI as well as race, music and motherhood, was published in June 2020 and has been named as the Coffee Pot Book Club Honourable Mention in the Modern Historical Book of the Year Award.
The writers who have most influenced my work recently are: Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy, Yeats, Graves, Riding, Binchy, Spain, Charlotte Bronte, Dermot Bolger, Andrea Levy and Carson McCullers.
I formerly lived by the sea near Dublin. I now live by the sea near Cork 🙂 where I go for walks, get more involved in politics than I bargained for, attempt to manage my
mental health and continue to work as a software developer, when I’m not dealing with cancer ‘n stuff.