I was born in this red-bricked two-up two-down house you see to the right. The house is in the centre of Liverpool in England. I was delivered by my grandmother and my mother gave birth to me in the front bedroom. I lived there until my teens when we moved to my father’s home-place in Ireland. If you are curious, I have written a little bit about growing up here.
LOVES TO WRITE
I write for both children and adults. Even as a child I loved writing. I wrote my first novel when I was nine years old. According to my mum it was short and the drawings were smudged but she still rewarded me with two jelly-milk-bottles and a glass of orange juice.
My love of writing and my experience in teaching creative writing led me to develop a website just about creative writing. This site is all about writing and is full of writing information, ideas, tips and lots of free writing exercises, as well as a free creative writing tracker. You can find it here at www.practicalcreativewriting.com
STORIES FOR ALL KIDS
Like most writers I love reading. When I was growing up in Liverpool all the books I read were about kids with big houses and cars who went to boarding school and had great aunts with massive houses in the countryside. My house was a tiny terrace, in a narrow street, with no bathroom, or inside toilet.
We either went on shank’s mare (walked) or got buses everywhere. I did love those stories but I still would have loved to read some stories that had kids like me and my friends in them.
These days, things are very different. There are all sorts of stories out there, and some of them are written by me. You can find some of them here.
Eventually, my family moved back to County Wicklow in Ireland where my dad came from. This meant moving from the inner city of Liverpool to a lovely little village called Greystones which lies between the sea and the Wicklow hills.
I had my first story published in a news and literary magazine called SEAM. I wrote lots of stories and articles for SEAM before it ended. After that I continued writing for a variety of magazines.
I also won prizes for my stories in writing competitions and literary festivals. These helped pay some of my bills but mostly they helped keep my spirits up because, like most writers, there were also lots of times when I sent my writing away and never heard another thing.
I had a great interest in writing for film and television and so I did a three-year film course as well. After I graduated I wrote and directed several award-winning short films for adults as well as some serious documentaries.
THE SCHOOL FOR LITTLE VAMPIRES
WRITING FOR RADIO
I still loved writing fiction though and strangely, for a country with a wonderful literary tradition, there weren’t all that many places in Ireland that accepted short stories. When I heard that a radio show called Fiction 15 was looking for stories I sent one in and heard from the producer only a few days later – the great news was that they were going to broadcast it. I was very excited about this. It was my first radio story and it was going to be performed by an actress on national radio!
Soon I was a regular writer for Fiction 15 and I absolutely loved writing these stories. Sometimes I went into the RTE recording studio and read them aloud myself, and other times RTE got actors to perform them.
My first published adult fiction novel, Piggy Monk Square, was published by Tindal Street Press and was short listed for the Commonwealth Writer’s prize, was optioned by Willy Russell and was also chosen to be ‘The Book On One’ on RTE.
Recently I wrote a short book to raise funds for my daughter’s TNR rescue charity. If you like cats you might like to have a look at Maggie Many Cats And the Cat That Flew Through The Window.
Right now I still love living in the countryside and I moved to Galway a few years ago near a beautiful little bay that I have the good luck and pleasure of being able to walk to every single day. I am still writing and I still love it. I hope you do too.