Questions and Answers
Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
In Kildare Town and I went to Scoil Bhride and The Presentation Convent, an all-girls secondary school.
Did you get any inspiration from your childhood for your books?
Yes, I did. There is a big green acre of land across from my house and during the summer the grass grew up to our hips. Kids being kids, we would tie so many knots in the grass and then we would line up and run through the grass and try to make it to the other side without tripping. If you hit a knot you would fall, and fall at full speed! It was great fun (not something I would like try now though!) I remember it so fondly, I included it in my second children’s book, Ping and Po-Li, Rainforest Rescue.
What is your favourite restaurant?
It is so hard to pick one so I will pick one from each town that I live in, work in and I grew up! The Silken Thomas in Kildare Town, the food is always delicious and the staff and service is second to none. Fallons in Kilcullen is beautiful too and there superfood salad is so tasty. I work in Naas and I just love the Lemongrass for lunch!
What would be your ideal day?
My favourite place is the beach, and my kids love it too, so spending the day at the beach would be my ideal day. I love to play Badminton and hours can pass without even realising it, one more game, one more game, is our favourite saying!
Have you ever attended writing courses?
Yes. I have done two ten-week courses with the Kildare Writing Centre in Athgarvan, Pauline Clooney is a phenomenal teacher and host. I also studied journalism in Ballyfermot College before I went into law and I love to write short stories.
What is the highlight of being an author?
The highlight for me is being invited to primary schools across the county and to hear children say they love my books, that is very rewarding. My books are about a panda and I am now known locally as “The Panda girl” which I get a great kick out of!
Does Ping and Po-Li have a brother or sister?
Yes, Ping has a little brother named Kai and Po-Li has a little baby cousin named Bo. You can read all about them on Ping and Po-Li’s site.
Where in the Asian Rainforest is the book based?
The Borneo Rainforest and I hope to visit some day!
What is the inspiration for your books?
My children. They love to read and to read my very own children’s books to them is very special.
Is it easy to write a childrens books?
That is a tough question, yes and no would be the honest answer and I will explain why. The idea for the books came into my head very quickly and also three follow up stories for Ping and Po-Li but it took months and months to tweak the stories and to get a beginning, middle and end, to make sure that there was something happening on every page of the book and lots of waiting, so you have to be patient and I lack patience sometimes so it can be hard, but like anything in life, the hard work pays off in the end!
Are you writing more stories?
Yes, I have two more stories for Ping and Po-Li.
I am working on a story for children aged 8-12 and also a toddler book.
Feel free to contact me if there are any more questions you would like to ask about the books or the process of writing, I would love to hear from you.
With any book, you have to figure out whose story it is, so for example if it’s a little girl you have to tell everything/show everything from her point of view, what she is thinking, feeling.
Try and ‘show’ before you ‘tell’ in your story especially for younger readers.
Start your story with action or dialog and that will help you get it started. Start at the latest point.
Keep things in dialog. Thoughts are sometimes confusing to young children.
Most childrens’ books are told in past tense, so the characters tell the story, not the author and stay in one character’s point of view.
Make sure you are true in your facts and try to be specific whenever you can. Kids love learning real stuff.
Most picture books are between 700-800 words because children have short attention spans.
You will have fun when you start writing it. I hope my suggestions will be encouraging to you and help you make your story the best it can be.