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 to my website! I write mainly historical fiction, my particular interest being World War One. I have a burning desire to rip through the saccharine, sentimentalised, packaged narratives of this era, and tell powerful stories that will keep any reader enthralled.

Read more about my books here.

Unfortunate Stars – Blog Tour

Unfortunate Stars – A Wartime Confession (audiobook)

Between August 15 and 25, I had an audiobook blog tour organised by Kelly Lacey from Love Books Tours. This idea was inspired by the earlier review of Unfortunate Stars on Audiobookish podcast – huge thanks again to Fahed Rahman for featuring it on the pod – he and Poppy provided such an inspiring and thoughtful critique.

The tour went really well – I had comments such as the following:

I was completely engrossed with this story. As I was listening to the audio I was overcome with emotion as the story unfolded. The story set in 1938 spoke of the loss of a life unlived and Fredrich’s continued journey to explore sides of himself that are shunned in society and leave his life in constant danger. The story set before and during WWI spoke of friendship, unspoken love and the difficulties of living true to yourself. This story particularly made me tear up.

Continue reading “Unfortunate Stars – Blog Tour”

Michael O’Brien

At the launch of White Feathers, 2014, with the late Michael O’Brien, founder of O’Brien Press

I have just learned of the passing of Michael O’Brien, founder and director of O’Brien Press, who was a cheerleader for White Feathers from the very start, ever since the Novel Fair in 2013. He was also married to my wonderful then-agent, Svetlana Pironko (you should have seen the back-and-forth on that publishing agreement :)) I’m shocked and a bit winded. Michael had an incontrovertible life-force to him and it’s hard to imagine that force extinguished.

Continue reading “Michael O’Brien”

My Letter to the Independent on Trans Coverage

I recently wrote a letter of complaint to the Irish Independent about an article they published about rehashed and refuted transphobic hate. They kindly published it in their Sunday edition and I’m grateful to the editor for that. It got quite a bit of traction. I got some pushback including messages sent to my website from people who disagreed, but mostly people were glad to have someone say what I think most people in this country feel.

I want to emphasise this is not just about the Independent, in fact if anything their coverage has been better than most. Nor is it about any individual person. We’re having this issue in the New York Times now, and the boycott of the Irish Times is still going strong. It’s a problem in media and arts circles everywhere.

The letter I wrote does not yet appear to be online in screen-readable fashion so I will reproduce my original text here (it was edited down for space – extra text not included is in italic) I was quite impassioned when I wrote it as you can see 🙂

Continue reading “My Letter to the Independent on Trans Coverage”

Could You All Do Me a Favour?

Embedded clip of Chick Lit 4 Life podcast show

If you are reading this post and are a fan of great books written by women, Irish and otherwise, could you please hit the subscribe button for the Chick Lit 4 Life podcast, hosted by the wonderful LC Lewis?

LC founded this podcast a few years and without any external support, grants from the Arts Council, mainstream media exposure or even a Patreon, she has mustered the power of The Girls – six late teenage readers – to deliver their decisive and hilarious opinions on everyone from Jane Austen to Marian Keyes and even yours truly somewhere in the middle. This all in spite of a demanding job and pesky mental health issues. It’s done for pure love. It’s joyous but surely exhausting work and I want this wonderful show to get the fair wind it deserves. So please, like, share, subscribe and boost – and if you’re in the media and want to check it out, I’d particularly encourage that!

Five college girls get together to discuss books that are not by men.
Series 1: Marian Keyes
Series 2: Jane Austen
Series 3: Unusual Protagonists
Series 4: Authors of Colour
Series 5: LGBTQ+ Authors
Series 6: People we Love Loads 🙂
Written and recorded by LC Lewis in her bedroom.

Lost Launches – featuring Lucia’s War

Cork World Book Festival 2022 decal

Hello folks, my long-time friends Fiction at the Friary along with Cork City Libraries are running an event called Lost Launches at St Peter’s Arts Centre, North Main Street, Cork at 3pm tomorrow 24 April. I’ll be present with several other authors who launched during the pandemic and an actor will read out excerpts from all the novels – including Lucia’s War! There will also be a chance to buy the book, as I’ll have a few paperbacks with me 🙂

Tickets available here for anyone interested. Free event, so register here.

“Beautiful writing”…Audiobookish Podcast Review of Unfortunate Stars

I feel truly blessed by divine auguries to have received this gift of a review today. A few months back, Fahed Rahman from Audiobookish podcast contacted me to ask if I would be interested in having the audiobook of Unfortunate Stars featured on an episode. He and his co-host Poppy Knight have just issued their review now. Do have a listen!

I would like to thank Fahed and Poppy for reviewing both book and narration with such empathy, perception and care and appreciating that this story lends itself perfectly to voice narration. They loved listening to the linguistic trickery which I enjoyed writing (and that hopefully Greg Patmore enjoyed narrating – he did it with aplomb!) It gladdens my heart that they were moved by the story and that they recommend the audiobook to their listeners. Thanks so much and God bless 🙂

S3E11 – A chat with Kelli Fairbrother Audiobookish

Episode Notes We chat with the co-founder of XigXag Kelli Fairbrother about their favourite audiobooks and the future of storytelling. Head over to https://xigxag.co.uk/ to find out more about the app and to start buying x-books. About XigXag: Xigxag, wants everyone to enjoy more books. Co-founders Mark and Kelli met in 2017 as colleagues and started XigXag in 2019 with the aim of revolutionising reading. Together, they’ve built the XigXag app, offering users the first-ever fully integrated listen-and-read experience, at an affordable price without a subscription. XigXag, created the first-ever fully integrated listening and reading experience for audiobook listeners, which they call the x-book®. This powers first-ever features for audiobooks: now you can search, see illustrations, take notes, share quotes, lookup words and switch to reading or read along. The last episode in the current season. We'll be back in July or August! Support Audiobookish by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/audiobookish Find out more at https://audiobookish.pinecast.co This podcast is powered by Pinecast. Try Pinecast for free, forever, no credit card required. If you decide to upgrade, use coupon code r-8a93af for 40% off for 4 months, and support Audiobookish.
  1. S3E11 – A chat with Kelli Fairbrother
  2. S3E10 – BONUS! #BritishBookAwards Winners Special
  3. S3E9 – S3E9 – British Book Awards Special 3: Sandman Act 2 by Neil Gaiman & The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien
  4. S3E8 – British Book Awards Special 2: Never and Forever by Cressida Cowell & Careless by Kirsty Capes
  5. S3E7 – British Book Awards Special 1: The Night She Disappeared Lisa Jewell, and, The Man Who Died Twice Richard Osman.

How Do We Get Our Joy Back?

Photo of an open gate on the Waterford Greenway, with blue skies and mountains in the background, taken by yours truly

Today I read some of the saddest words I’d come across, from a gifted and generous practitioner of the arts whose ability and intelligence I hold in high esteem: I don’t know if I will ever write again.

The reason for this was burnout – but not from overwork. It was emotional exhaustion from the frankly abusive environment within which so many writers, poets, artists, performers and musicians in Ireland are forced to work. Whether through employment of stigma through review abuse, hostile behaviour towards vulnerable minorities, straight, flat-out racism, sexual harassment, abuse of harsh defamation laws to silence those who speak up, bullying and nepotism in arts bodies and the commentariat, or the constant, constant gaslighting that these closed groups perpetuate against victims because they’re terrified the same thing will happen to them, so of course it’s all our imagination – whichever of these malevolent forces is chewing and spitting out brave people, strong people, gifted people, I’m absolutely fucking sick of it.

I’m sick of seeing good people’s careers derailed and destroyed. I’m sick of those who speak up and fight getting stonewalled and ignored. I’m sick of diversity initiatives that are not worth the paper they’re written on because abusers in the arts scene still retain their power. I’m especially over abusers infiltrating their way into organisations designed to speak up against bad behaviour, either by having publishing power over people in the organisation, or appropriating the cause themselves.

So, what are we going to do about this? How are we going to get our joy and freedom back? I’m saying “we” because there are a lot of us who have been wrung dry by this system. I’ve found my peace, though, and I’m writing again.

I don’t want to fight and overcome toxic systems. I don’t want to plough my energy into conflict with an order that has no real incentive to change. My desire is rather to break free from these feelings of alienation. I want to love writing again.

And I do.

So, in the style of Joanne Harris, 10 Things I Did to Get My Joy Back.

Continue reading “How Do We Get Our Joy Back?”

Lucia’s War – Goodreads Giveaway (US Only)

I haven’t felt much like sharing my thoughts recently due to the dreadful news of war and wickedness about, but there’s a Goodreads giveaway of Kindle copies of Lucia’s War in progress, from today until the 17th. Only open to U.S. readers unfortunately because that’s how Goodreads rolls. I’ll be trying other platforms later. See below for details and to enter! Meantime I’ll be knitting more beanies in blue and yellow ::sigh::

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lucia's War by Susan Lanigan

Lucia’s War

by Susan Lanigan

Giveaway ends March 17, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

White Feathers and More on Shepherd.Com

When Ben Fox and his lovely team on Shepherd.com contacted me with a promotion opportunity for White Feathers and a request to list five favourite books on a topic of my choosing, I was delighted to oblige. Featuring Lia Mills, Martine Madden, Ruqaya Izzidien, Sebastian Barry and Adam Hochshild.

Here is the link – enjoy 🙂

The best books about WWI which don’t have the same old story