5ft 2 and full in vigour – that’s the short version (pun intended)
as for the long version…….
City born and country reared, my early years were formed in the seaside town of Kinsale, Co. Cork Ireland, and through the ‘Peig Sayers‘ type national school that was aptly named, Summer Cove. I would walk/cycle to school/friends house on my own during a time when it was considered okay to do so, and at an early age grew to enjoy a certain independence and confidence.
The youngest of 3, after a gap, I always thought I was the after-thought, or the ‘mistake’ – but learned in latter years, that I was the ‘celebration of life’ after my father’s release from 6 months in hospital after nearly dying from TB.
My two older siblings, older brother of 4 years and older sister of 5 years, great friends, were always doing their own thing and I was the tag along or ‘pain’. So my memory is that I either spent much of my time on my own, or playing gooseberry, when my siblings were instructed to ‘bring your sister along’.
I learned a lot by hanging out with their teen peers, probably a bit too much on occasion.
I was fortunate that friends of my brother and sister also had a younger brother, Dermot, who they too had to ‘mind’ and so the two of us were thrown together whenever the group of friends banded together – we were as young as 3 or so at the time and fortunately got on from the get go. Then there came a day when Dermot and I wouldn’t need the guys and we took to our own escapades and adventures. This involved lots of cycling, beach combing, forest trailing and wet days indoors playing dress up and board games.
Secondary school brought about decision and change, having discovered the library and loving Enid Blyton’s books, on Mallory Towers, I fell for the idea of how exciting boarding school might be and convinced my parents to send me to one.
Whether it was Kylemore that found me, or me it, but the rest, as they say, was history.
How much of it made me the woman/author I am today?
Was it Nature or Nurture?
I am biased I suppose. I feel becoming a ‘K-Girl’ has definitely influenced me – hopefully the essence of which is captured in the series that is K-Girls. And yet there is no doubt that my upbringing also influenced me. I have been very fortunate to have been raised in a very loving secure family – screaming arguments and all – and to have been surrounded by good friends and plenty of muddy pants and cut knees.
So when did the writing start?
Diary writing I took up as a result of a Christmas present from my sister back in 80’s – it was a diary and address book gift pack that was de rigueur – I still have it today (see Diaries blog) and I always enjoyed writing in it. Even on the bad days – it was a great way to vent, rejoice, share my feelings.
In school I loved my time-out used to write, when others were gossiping in their cubicles and/or sneaking a fag before lights out – I would love to snuggle up in my bed, torch in hand and diary/pen in the other. I kept a diary through my six years there and thereafter. In class time I always looked forward to essay writing – where others groaned at the thoughts of having to write 3-4 foolscaps pages on a topic, I found it hard to restrain myself to just that. (I still find writing a short story challenging!)
As an older teen, I was in awe of anyone who could touch type – oddly enough when I was picked up from the train by my father’s secretary Síle, and she would bring me back to the office to wait on my father to finish for the day, I would blissfully watch the pool of office girls at their electronic typewriters, touch type and professionally manage their dicta-phones. I loved the idea of being so skilled to be able to put words down on paper quicker than the hand could pen.
I never saw myself as a secretary, but could see myself sat for hours throwing thoughts onto a page – and strangely enough, never associated that with a career, never mind becoming an author.
Admittedly, the one area that Kylemore lacked in the 80”s was Career Guidance, and so left to our own devices I never thought of linking what gave me daily joy to a day job, and looking to college for a career in perhaps Journalism, Creative Writing, the Arts even.
I followed my father’s advise and studied first, Marketing and Languages (where I met my husband), and having dropped out of first year , and spent some time sailing, I took up Auctioneering and Real Estate (my father’s calling)
Not wanting to bore you with the details, I never worked in either and eventually settled with my man back in West Cork – as a hotelier – and had babies (the youngest of which was a home birth) – and still felt unfullfilled – and that was when I took up writing again.
Fast forward many years and even now, writing gives me a satisfaction that cannot be tapped. The husband knows when I have had a day where writing has been a part of it – like a drug – I suffer withdrawal and if I go too many days without I get grumpy. The whole family can suffer.
So here I am, with one manuscript in the bottom drawer, another self published that is ‘K-Girls’, and having just completed the second in the series, I am already throwing shapes at the third.
Where it will lead? Who knows? – I do have a plan,though.
but in any case, I will continue to create, type, write and well, make it up as I go along!