Eva Downey jumps at the chance to attend finishing school, especially as she is about to be pushed into marriage by her overbearing stepmother. 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.What do you do when forced to make an impossible choice?
I’m delighted to announce that at the invitation of Trish Keenan from New Ross Library I will be giving an open talk there at 7pm on Tuesday 23rd February. Anyone in the New Ross area who is interested in finding out more about how I write my novel(s) and would like some inspiration for their own work is very welcome to attend. There will be a bit of mild workshopping, nothing too deep but enough to whet the appetite.
The New Ross library site is here – this link goes to their Facebook. I will add the event time into my author facebook page this evening.
Interesting to note that my work came to Ms Keenan’s attention through a review of White Feathers in Bookseller Magazine last winter, which I am currently working on sourcing so I can proudly quote from it!
White Feathers got ANOTHER review which was sent on to me by the publishers this morning and if you read it, you will see why I am grinning from ear to ear. Regrettably it is not available online, but I enclose an image of it below. Here is a bit I am really pleased got highlighted:
The second half of the book is a brutal account of some of the actions in the war, particularly the criminal incompetence of the top brass of the British army…[who] had also used their men as human fodder.
Why yes, my novel challenges authority. And even be it a hundred years back, on its publication and reading, it became clear that certain people – not the British Army, I hasten to add – didn’t like that. Certain people didn’t like that one bit.
And here’s a quote which made my morning 🙂
Though this is an intense love story it would do it a disservice to describe it solely in just a way. It is anti-war and anti-patriarchy without ever saying so …[and] leaves the reader genuinely hoping the author will take her characters through the next stages of their lives. For the second time in less than a year I applaud O’Brien Press for taking on a relatively unknown writer. Susan Lanigan has won praise for her short stories, but this is her first full-length novel. It is a bravura performance of effortless elegance that beautifully imitates the speech and manners of the era. More please.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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
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: