Q&A with Author Daragh Fleming,

Author of Lonely Boy (Forthcoming)

 

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

Mental health is important.

I think that’s as simple an answer I can give. This book is a reflection on my own mental health, the ups and downs, the lessons I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made. Men in particular have always had a tough time being vulnerable and addressing their mental health problems. This book is a book about a man addressing his own mental health, in the hope that people won’t feel alone in their struggle, and in the hope that they will be able to inspire others to talk openly about their own mental health.

Q: Is the book based on you?

Lonely Boy is a sort of memoir/narrative non-fiction hybrid where I reflect on the last ten years of my life, and try to draw out lessons from some of the more difficult moments of my life. The book begins in 2012 when my best friend died by suicide, and it takes us right up to 2021 during the pandemic. It’s a book about the obstacles and challenges I faced mentally within the last decade. The book talks about what happened, what went wrong, and what I learned about my own wellbeing from it all.

Q: What do you hope will come from others reading it? 

I hope the book will help readers to understand that everyone deals with some sort of battle, and that they are not alone in theirs. The book is a raw and honest take on the mental journey I’ve taken as a man. It addresses the more flawed aspects of my character and the long process of accepting them and learning to live with them. The hope is that readers will find solace in truth that we are flawed on some level, and that it is important that we forgive ourselves for these flaws.

Q: What’s the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?

Self-acceptance. Writing this book was therapeutic for me as much as I felt it would be helpful for others. The book recants a journey 0f self-reflections. It’s the story of looking oneself in the mirror and getting to place where you can accept all parts of yourself – both the good and the bad. That’s probably the most important message conveyed in this book.

Q: What lessons have you learned so far in your writing?

Writing for yourself is key. I think a younger me got caught up in writing what I thought other people would want to read. The work becomes flat and uninspired when you do that. Writing for yourself makes the work more real, and it that sense, it makes the work more relatable anyway. The other lesson writing has taught me is persistence. We often give up just before we’re about to ‘make it’. Sticking with it, regardless of the failures, or the rejections or the time it takes, is always so incredibly worthwhile.

Q: Did writing this book change your life in any way?

Writing this book gave me the opportunity to resolve many things in my life which I had ignored and buried. It allowed me the space and compassion to accept myself for who I am. Lonely Boy is a reflection on some of the hardest parts of my life, and so it has changed my life by allowing me to work through these issues and use them to help other people.

 

Q: Advice to anyone sitting at home, saying I would like to publish a book?

If the fire is in your heart to write, then write regardless of the outcome. Write because you need to write rather than because you won’t some arbitrary version of success. Take it a day at a time. Write when you can, and never force it. You’ll know yourself that you want to write a book, and if that desire is within you then nothing on this planet will be able to stop you. Write and write and never take the rejections personally – because the rejection will come often in the beginning. And remember above all else, you like writing! Enjoy the process as much as will enjoy the outcome.

 

Q&A with Author Ronan Rooney ,

Author of
The True Nature of Our Reality

Author Q&A

Why did you write this book?

I have always been interested in, reflected upon and studied the true nature of our reality. I have had many transpersonal experiences in my life that have awakened me to seeing reality as more than what we are led to believe is our reality.

This is a follow up to my first book The Secret Of Life which was published in 2006 when the world was a very different place to the one we have today.

From my own experience and extensive study of the subject I believe humanity is experiencing a paradigm shift in the evolution of our consciousness. This has triggered a mass awakening in many and a breakdown in many of the global social systems. While it seems that there is chaos in the world I believe it is a natural rebalancing.

The breakdown has been triggered by an imbalance in humanity’s evolution whereby we have allowed the evolution of our intellect to surpass and supersede the evolution of the other aspects of our being. The intellect is intoxicated with mental stimulus to the detriment of our mental health. This has led to the tsunami of mental health illness across the globe we are experiencing.

Our general perspective of reality is based on what is determined by our physical senses. By using the physical senses alone to reflect on our world all we perceive of is the physical which I call the phenomenal world of form and matter. We have been conditioned to view reality in this context only even though modern science as quantum physics proves there is more to it.

There is so much more to life but to recognise this necessitates a shift in our perspective.

I have been blessed to have learned from and studied with a number of inspiring people over the past 30 years. As a result I have a perspective of reality that allows for the recognition of the true majesty of “really living” as opposed to the monotony of “just getting through life”.

I wrote The True Nature of Our Reality to facilitate a shift in perspective, a rebalancing, to support those experiencing an awakening and to help others to realise the true nature of our reality and that we create it.

What surprised you the most as you researched or wrote it?

What surprised me most is how we have allowed our intellect to take over. The conditioning has been so strong that we have forgotten the truth that we know deep within if only our mind would pause to enable us to recognise it.

Moreover, the power of the intellect and the audacity of what we believe is the truth of our life and living as instructed and endorsed by social governance by way of conditioning and the media is astounding.

After extensive researching the extent of the breakdown in global systems took me by surprise. There is so much turmoil in our global systems yet they remain unquestioned as regards their validity or sustainability. There seems to be a reluctance to alter the status quo no matter how turbulent the waves are. This only strengthens the power of our conditioning whereby we are directed how to think without contemplation, reflection or personal judgement.

I found it interesting that both the stimulus for the system breakdown and the greatest challenge to global health is a conditioned corrupted perspective in thinking. What needs to be rebalanced is our intellect in line with the other aspects of our being especially the emotional and spiritual whose development and evolutionary journey have been forsaken and neglected.

What is the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?

That we actually create the world through our perspectives and beliefs which have been conditioned to present us with a challenging frame of life and living very different to the truth that has been forgotten of the majesty and miracle of life.

The freedom and liberty of knowing you can change your reality by choice and that the turmoil in the world is in fact a natural rebalancing as is the turmoil in the mental health of many of us.

Having evolved physically, that we have become trapped and infatuated in the evolution of the intellect and now we are rebalancing to evolve at the level of our consciousness. We are moving from a thought provoked and created reality of consciousness to an awareness of the true nature of reality.

As a result many of us are having awakening experiences or expansions of consciousness which themselves are often triggered by a period of turmoil.

In addition we are not separate, we are all interconnected and an integral part of Universal consciousness.

Did writing this book change your life in any way?

While I was aware of many of the subjects, concepts, theories and insights that I discuss in the book it was only when I compiled them altogether that the common theme became apparent. The simplicity of what was unveiled to me was what struck me.

I realized that we are all interconnected aspects of God, that within us is the Atman or Divine Soul, then the Jiva or individualized Soul and then the outer conditioned Ego. Our purpose is to recognize that we are more than the conditioned aspects of the Ego, to peel back the layers to reveal the individual Soul (Jiva) and to express the grace of the Divine Soul (Atman) within us as an integral part of God.ui

Each of us is special and has an integral part to play in a greater plan. As such what is empowering is that we didn’t happen by chance, we have an important role to play and we participate and co-create in reality. There is great comfort in realizing that you don’t need to change the world or anyone else all you need do is change yourself to contribute to the evolution of the species.

What do you hope will come from others reading it?

I hope my readers develop a new perspective on life and living, that they will recognize their power as co-creators of the world, that they accept their true purpose to express their Authentic Self. In this way I believe they will recognize the majesty of life and embrace living as an important, unique and individualized expression of God and so live a rich and meaningful life.

Q&A with Author Sean Dunne,

Author of
A D’Arcy Blake Mystery: A Case for the Tech Detectives

 

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

Like most people you think about writing a book at some stage in particular when reading someone else’s work and think ‘Can I do this’, the simple answer is yes you can. It’s just about taking the time and space to give it and go and see where you go.

 

Q: Is the book based on you?

The book is based on a fictional character D’Arcy Blake who moves back to Galway from America and is trying to find a way to fit in. Having spent a year in college in Galway studying for my M.A in Journalism at NUI Galway, I always said I’d love to write a book based in Galway so the scene was set for creating D’Arcy’s world.

Q: What lessons have you learned so far in your writing?
I worked for several years as a news reporter for newspapers here in Ireland and I think sitting down to write a book for a younger audience is a totally different skill in itself. Being open to constructive criticism and advice along the way helps. I’d definitely like to write another book because I think learning the process of writing a book and where not to go wrong is half the battle.

Q: Did writing this book change your life in any way?

I think working in the news all day, it’s nice to escape to a fictional world sometimes. Creating a set of characters is a lot of fun and tracking their own journeys.

Q: Advice to anyone sitting at home, saying I would like to publish a book?

Give yourself a chance, even if you only write 250 words a day, do that and keep going until you have an initial draft.

Q&A with Author Dr. Mary Helen Hensley,

Author of Hugh And The Manatee

Q&A with Author Sarah O’ Donnell,

Author of When Winnie Met Betty

Why did you write this book?

I have always been drawn to the excitement surrounding children’s fiction. When children read fiction, it is a form of escape from their worries as they delve into the fictional world and make connections with the characters. My favourite type of book when I was a child was children’s picture books. I loved connecting the words to the illustrations and exploring this new world in my imagination. Writing stories has always been a hobby of mine, and when I began to study English literature in NUIGalway, my interest in writing grew stronger.

My mom and I would often browse around the children’s section of book shops and discuss potential plots and characters we would love to see. Bringing out my own children’s picture book was always a bucket-list type of dream. It was only then when I at home, watching my own cockapoo Winnie chasing our neighboring dog Betty, that my I got the vision for my own children’s picture book. A burst of inspiration struck, and When Winnie Met Betty came to life.

What surprised you…?

As I began to write, I was surprised about how quickly my story came to life. Basing this book on my own dog, I felt a strong connection to her character and could easily imagine her next move. I was surprised how nostalgic I felt while writing this book. Memories of primary school constantly crept in as I began rhyming the words on each page.

What is the most important message readers will get from it?

My hope for this book is to inspire children to hold on to their sense of adventure and put themselves out there to create lasting friendships. This is a story of bravery, where Winnie went outside of her comfort zone to find ultimate happiness.

Did writing this book change your life in any way?

The whirlwind of writing and publishing this book has far exceeded my wildest dreams. As a current postgraduate student, I have been introduced to this new industry that I have since learned so much about. I never realised how much this book would consume my life in such as fulfilling way. I feel proud and excited for the future ahead.

What do you hope will come from others reading it?

Fundamentally, this is a book to be enjoyed by children and to be read together. I want children to feel the emotions and excitement surrounding this story, and ultimately to feel inspired to create their own memories with their friends too.

 

Q&A with Author Margaret Connor,

Author of My Enduring Ireland

 

Why did you decide to write a book?

Over the years in America, I have shared many of my stories about growing up in Ireland with my friends. They found the stories both entertaining and refreshing and advised me to write them down since they were very special and should be preserved. Once I reached semi-retirement with more time to spare, I started to write in the evenings. At that time, I conducted my daily business from the Greenwich library and the setting was perfect for a writer. Once my daily business tasks were complete, I then turned to my special project. Being in the library helped me focus. It was quiet there with people busily working on their computers and resources to draw on as needed. Since writing can be solitary, being in the library offset my isolation. I remain indebted to the Greenwich library with its comfortable facility and its supportive staff.

This is your first book and you are a business professional, describe the transition.

It is not unusual for business professionals to also write books during their careers and in retirement. I waited until I was semi-retired and wrote my memoir as a part-time project. I looked forward to the evening time when I could resume where I left off, averaging four hours each evening.

What did you learn from writing your story?

As I started to write, I was amazed at how clear I remembered those years even to the time of my father’s illness and death when I was just four years old. I was able to describe the scenes precisely as they unfolded. Writing the book chronologically, helped give structure to my project. At times, I found myself unable to write the scene down but by taking a walk or sleeping on it, I found that it came to me more clearly and I would then rush to my computer while it was fresh in my mind. As I progressed from section to section, I felt much gratification in my accomplishments.

Is the story based on you?

The book covers my stages of development from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood and finally to immigration. In each stage, I am part of a community. As such, it is the story of many others since our lives were intertwined in a homogonous society.

What are some of the important themes in the book?

The book addresses village and communal living where neighbours supported each other unconditionally. It emphasises friendship and generosity free of competition and exploitation. The setting is rural Ireland of the 1950s when the country was mainly agrarian. It describes the cycle of country life with the farmers working together seasonally. The book takes the reader through the farming tasks from ploughing the fields with joint horses to planting the potatoes with volunteers, from threshing the corn to harvesting the turf, and demonstrates the team efforts involved in each stage.

Who are the main characters in the book?

My mother is one of the most important. She was left widowed with four young children, ages four to ten, and continued to operate our farm independently as a single mom. The book acknowledges her many talents and skills both on the farm and inside the home and marvels at her ability to make ends meet from the resources of a small farm. I was very close to my mother, learning from her strengths and character. Since I enjoyed life on our farm, I took on many of the daily chores willingly as a helping hand for my mother.

What authors influenced you and motivated you to write your memoir?

I was influenced by Frank McCourt’s memoir titled Angela’s Ashes. In it, Frank describes his miserable childhood growing up in the 1950s Ireland. While we both grew up in the same decade, my experiences and memories are very positive and completely opposite to Frank’s. Though Ireland was poor during our time, living on a farm in a village setting versus on a lane in Limerick City made all the difference. From this perspective, it is worthwhile to learn about the differences.

How did your childhood environment prepare you for the world?

It gave me much confidence and wisdom. Being raised in a defined culture with strong family values, a stable home life where farms were passed down through the generations, a strong work ethic on the farm and a religious conviction, were all key elements for my stability.

Did living in America confuse your identity?

Not at all. In fact, it reinforced my Irish identity. In a sense, I never really left Ireland. Though I lost my father when I was four years old, I have very happy memories of growing up there. It taught me to trust other people and have great faith in humanity. It also taught me to accept all types of peculiar personalities as experienced in village life. Living on a farm was synanons with nature and animals and I learned to appreciate both. While America has been good to me, deep down I am not materialistic. America has exposed me to numerous cultures and their differences and has provided me with work and resources for travel, thus broadening my horizon and for that I am grateful. But my heart has never strayed from Ireland. It is where my roots lie.

What will the reader learn from your book?

They will get an understanding of the 1950s Ireland and, hopefully, an appreciation for the values of that time. It was a simple lifestyle, uncomplicated, innocent, civil and safe. The reader will learn how people found happiness and pleasure with less, how they entertained each other since there was no television, how they got around on bikes since there were few automobiles, and how they worked hard for their livelihoods.

Will there be a follow up book?

Yes, I plan to write about my life in America. Initially, I considered combining the two but then realized how different they have been. I concluded that Ireland should stand alone, unique and preserved as I experienced it while growing up in the 1950s.

 

Q&A with Author Anna Gray,

Author of Coming Out Of The Dark

Why did you write this book?

I always knew one day I would write a book. I just didn’t know what it would be about, until I realised that I knew the story inside out already. It was a story about my life, my challenges and my learning. What better to write about than what I already know, I thought. I wanted my story to help others. I know that phrase is used a lot, but I truly felt that if I could muster the courage to share things that were deeply personal and raw, that it could reach out and touch others in a way that helped them.

What surprised you the most as you researched or wrote it?

I was surprised by how deeply healing it was for me. It connected a lot of dots for me as I wrote it, chapter by chapter, and I wasn’t expecting that. I quickly came to the realisation that I didn’t know as much about myself as I thought I did and noticed that as I wrote, I learned more and grew more. I also came to see that writing a book isn’t as easy as it can seem.  There was a lot more to it than simply sitting down and writing, although that’s the essential first step!  I really enjoyed it, every single part of it, even the challenging times.

What do you think will surprise readers the most?

I think that might depend on each reader and their own expectations of the book. Some may be shocked by particular elements of my story, the feedback I have received so far has all been good and I really value each review and comment I receive. There are some difficult and sensitive topics in my book, such as Intimate Partner Violence, and this may be painful for some people to read about. What I hope is, that readers are pleasantly surprised by my strength to overcome the darker times of life and that they find it inspirational.

 

What is the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?

I hope that readers can find hope and strength in my message of healing. I wanted to write this book with full disclosure and honesty, so that it may encourage a reader to feel safe to do the same with someone they trust. I wanted to portray the transformational power of telling your own story, no matter the fear or guilt or shame that may have prevented it in the past.

Did writing this book change your life in any way?

Yes, in more ways than one.  It helped me to heal whilst also showing me that I could actually write in a way that touched other people. The important thing for me was that my story was relatable and that readers felt they were simply listening to me talk. I had always hoped to write one day but didn’t feel I was capable or that anyone would believe in me enough to take me on as an author. Writing this book really helped me to see the value of sharing your story with others, both for them and for the author.

Furthermore, what I learned along the way about the technical side of writing a book has meant I have been able to expand my writing career into editing for other authors. That has been the most amazing gift for me out of this process, as now I have the honour of walking beside someone else who is telling their story and helping them to do it in the best possible way through their writing.

What do you hope will come from others reading it?

I hope that anyone who reads it feels that they can also find a place to share their pain and be heard and supported.  I wanted to share various healing modalities that had helped me, so that others may explore those too if they felt drawn to them. Most of all, I simply hope that my book can capture the essence of what the human spirit is capable of overcoming and the healing that is possible.

 

Q&A with Author Cathy Fitzgibbon,

Author of Eat With The Seasons

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

Growing up on a farm, I witnessed first-hand the way food was lovingly produced using a farm to fork ethos. I enjoy researching, educating and writing about food, so publishing a book was a fascinating way for me to channel these personal interests and communicate practical knowledge and practices that I’d learnt and gradually refined through sustained research and natural awareness in terms of my personal heightened experiences with food. I wanted to write this book to help others but was equally waiting for the right time to bring it to life. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck and we were all displaced from the lifestyle routines that we’d built up over years, food took its rightful place, at the heart of our homes helping us through the difficult times we found ourselves faced with in our daily lives.

 

Q: Is the book based on you?

Eat With The Seasons is not directly based on me as it’s written as a self-guidance journal, however certain themes that run through it relate to my own mindful eating lifestyle. I’m blessed to have an extremely good relationship with food so I hope it will also empower others in their own daily experiences, helping them to mindfully map out their own personal relationship with food. The seasonal eating approach (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and way that the journal is laid out is the foundation on which my brand ethos (The Culinary Celt) is built upon and it also features aspects of my own daily food-related lifestyle.

 

Q: What do you hope will come from others reading it? 

I hope the book will be a positive educational tool that will help readers explore and shift their relationship with food in a mindful and healthy way. I would like readers to embrace my CELT mindful eating model principles that have been developed in the book by way of a four-pillar framework, as its extremely important to understand the role that mindful eating and gratitude plays in terms of enhancing our overall wellbeing.

Q: What’s the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?

The journal has been designed to empower readers with practical and meaningful ways to self-reflect and understand individual eating patterns in tune with nature and the four varied seasons of the year, enabling them to uncover and embrace a positive relationship with food. It’s perfectly normal that our attitudes may differ when it comes to nutritional food but it’s equally important to note that the food we choose to eat has a profound direct impact on nature and the book shines a light on this seasonal approach towards our eating lifestyles.

 

Q: What lessons have you learned so far in your writing?

Getting started is the most important part. Then as the writing process evolved, I began to see inspiration everywhere. A lot of work goes into researching and writing the content. There were various stages during the writing process that were exciting and fun whilst other stages, at times, anchored and halted my creativity to flow. It’s like a rollercoaster! I also learned that when you’re passionate about the subject matter that your writing about then there is lots of scope to channel creativity.

 

Q: Did writing this book change your life in any way?

It has given me a far greater appreciation for the work of other authors and book publishing teams in terms of the dedication they put into their work. It also gave me a huge sense of satisfaction in the way it’s come to life and will a tangible tool that to can be used to positively educate others on the areas of sustainability and their own personal wellbeing.

 

Q: Advice to anyone sitting at home, saying I would like to publish a book?

You can do it! Choose your deadline and writing goal. Prepare before you write, scheduling your time and mind mapping out the core development ideas is extremely helpful from the outset. These can then be fleshed out and amended along the way. Like everything in life, it is all about enjoying the journey and with this comes a sense of achievement, which brings the destination within reach. Just stay focused and true to yourself in the writing process and connect with others, as they can offer great guidance and help to act as a sounding board for your suggested ideas.

Q&A with Author Alan Creedon,

Author of The Search For Still Waters

Why Decide to Write a Book Now?

I had been writing the book for four years, on and off, when I finally decided to get it published. I think it was COVID times that finally pushed me into working with editors and a publisher. There was something about that time – spring 2020 – that inspired me. There was a lot of fear around, the world was changing more rapidly than we’d ever seen and that helped me make the decision. I suppose I thought “life’s too short not to finish this.” When I made the journey, Walk For Aoife, in 2016 I decided to keep a journal each day. As the journey progressed, so did the writing, and after a couple of weeks I found I was writing for a good hour a day after walking between 15 and 30km per day. It started to flow the further I walked and by the end of the walk I decided to try and put it all together. The idea kept developing, because my reasons for writing it became stronger. I realized that I had to share what brought me to making the choice to take on the journey in the first place, to place it within the context of my life. This meant writing about family and childhood experience, adolescence and adulthood, touching on some of the events that shaped my life up until the point where I knew I had to make that journey.

 

What is the most important lesson or message people will get from it?

I am hoping people will see that it’s a genuine account of a life and how our personal choices and circumstances make us who we are. Some things we are in control of and some are purely circumstantial, but it’s what we do with these circumstances that counts. I hope people will see that things like depression and anxiety can be cultivated over decades but it’s never too late to tackle them. Also, that grief is something we need to feel rather than ‘deal with’ by pushing it away. I hope people will read that being a boy or a man does not mean we have to behave in a certain way, be emotionally closed and ‘handle’ things by holding our heads high and getting tough, which is often the way to repression and sadness, disappointment and a closed mind and heart. Also, that searching is a great thing. I spent many years searching for answers, looking for the next thing to inspire me. But the big lesson I learned was that it is only through getting down and gritty with the reality of situations that I truly learned about myself and the beauty and pain of life. I had to be completely involved in order to heal. I couldn’t do that through reading books or learning, although it all helped give me perspective.

How do You Think Reading This Book Will Help People?

 I think we can learn from any experience – be it some rejection or success, a passing moment in the street or a planned journey across countries and seas. Reading a book can bring all sorts of things to people. I wrote this book partly for myself but also partly for the audience. I hope that people will see that I have put my heart and soul into it, that I share difficulties and challenges, perhaps in a way that many people wouldn’t, how a lot of men wouldn’t, and I hope it would encourage people to be more in touch with their feelings and be able to express themselves emotionally, especially in regard to mental health issues. I hope it will encourage people to follow their dreams, because making the choice to do an adventure or a life-changing journey is difficult – but it is so worth it! I hope it will help people to see that holding on to grief and sadness can cause all sorts of problems and it’s always best to talk to people. I encourage people to be outside and appreciate the wonders of this beautiful world we live in and how that too can play a big part in our healing and connection. I hope it will help people to not be afraid of change, both cultural and personal – the world is rapidly changing right now and so many of us don’t know how to help and so we hide. I hope this book helps people to see that facing problems, both personal and global is both our responsibility and a very fulfilling thing to do.

Did Writing This Book Change Your Life in Any Way?

It changed my life in more ways than I could imagine! Because it was about my life, I got a massive chunk of perspective once I wrote it all out – that was the first draft. Once I had ‘exorcised’ the first draft I was on to the second and with each draft I uncovered and confronted my ideas about myself and other people and began to accept a great many things about myself I was previously unable to. It was like a massive journaling project, in a way, layers were stripped back with each draft. I had to look deeply into my experience of my childhood and adult life to separate out my ‘stories’ about things that were not necessarily true, heal old wounds and begin to see life afresh. One could say that writing this book has been very cathartic and has even helped make a man out of me.

Do You See a Follow up to This Book?

 My intention was to write this and be done with book writing but I’ve learned so much in the process that it’s likely I’ll continue.

I read somewhere once that the seed of your next project should be contained within the last project. I suppose I will use this logic regarding my next project.

What Lessons Have You Learned so Far in Your Writing?

Keep at it, follow the flow when it’s there. It’s definitely easier when you follow the flow and it takes discipline to write every day when you’re working on a project. This book has given me so much confidence as a writer – and that’s before anyone has even read it! The joy and pain and all of that is within the process – whatever other people think of it is up to them. I’ve also learned that it’s important to write every day when there’s a ‘serious’ project like a book happening. Also, trust what’s coming out of you – even if it doesn’t seem to be making enough sense to you at the time, you will likely find the people who can help you to make sense of it later on. Sometimes it feels easy and sometimes it feels hard – this is how we learn. Don’t let that put you off. Life is like this. Sometimes it feels easy and sometimes it feels hard. This is normal, this is making room for growth and learning.

Advice to Anyone Sitting at Home, Saying I Want to be Like Him and Write a Book?

Don’t bother! Only joking. Start your project. Everyone has different ways of doing things so it might be good for you to tell someone supportive that you want to write, or it might suit you to just get going and not wait for anyone to help you. I would say it’s worth it, all the crafting and shaping and editing. Write as much as you can first, before worrying about what it might look like. Often these things do not arrive fully formed and will need honing later. Just get that stuff out if it’s in there, see what it looks like, get someone you trust to read it and offer help or suggestions. Support is important. Be prepared for it to be sometimes easy and sometimes difficult and when it feels hard remember that this is part of the process, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or it will never be finished – it’s just part of it!

Q&A with Author Siobhan Dunleavy,

Author of Accepting And Connecting With Muscular Dystrophy

The purpose of this book is to inspire others to embrace all forms of adversity they may experience along their journey. Siobhán believes that in times of crisis, the impulse is to give in to fear and panic, but when we learn to look inwards, we begin to heal and can take on, with greater ease, the vicissitudes of life that come our way.

Siobhán tells her personal story of how being diagnosed with a life changing condition had a massive impact on her mental health but just when she thought her life was falling apart , she realised it was actually falling into place. Siobhánexplains how during her emotional mission to find faith and hope she was divinely guided into a magical state of spiritual awakening. Siobhán speaks about exploring superpowers such as meditation and connecting with angels, and how this allowed her to reconnect with herself and all of the abundances the world had to offer her. In this light hearted yet intimate tale, Siobhán highlights the challenges people with rare conditions and disabilities face every day.

Q&A with Author Siobhan Lally,

Author of The Violet Mist

This story is loosely based on real events that occurred early in 2013 when I was on maternity leave with my fourth child, Daisy. My husband, Andy, arrived home one day with two new-born lambs that his brother asked him to take because their mother had died. Despite my protests about having enough for doing, my other children, Daniel, Caitlin and Lucy, fell in love with them and within minutes the lambs were adopted and christened –  Leo and Shane. A few days later Leo became very unwell and it was suggested by well-meaning sheep experts locally that it was a waste of time trying to save him as they don’t usually survive. I was horrified and being a Nurse went into the ‘NOT ON MY WATCH’ mode.

Around the same time, I had developed an interest in spirituality and energy healing. I had just completed a course in Reiki so, after a trip to the Vets, Leo was started on a course of antibiotics, two hourly feeds, Reiki treatments and chest physio. To my own and everyone else’ amazement he survived! He became such a pet. He was so used to human interaction that he was like a puppy playing with the kids and looking for cuddles. Eventually Leo was big enough to be moved out to grass in the field behind our house where himself and Shane could be seen and were accessible to us.

Then one day he just died! I was heartbroken and then became really annoyed with spirituality.  I decided I was finished with all that Reiki and Angel nonsense. I was convinced the universe was out to get me but one day I was packing all my books about spiritually, Reiki and Angels into a box, when a small book about fairies by Doreen Virtue fell out onto the floor. It was opened at a page about Fairy Queen Oonagh from Ireland. I had never heard of her before, so I Googled her and a picture of a beautiful woman with long blond hair down to her toes with a lamb at her side, popped up on the screen. One search led to another and another until I uncovered a range of old Irish mythical characters of An Tuatha de Danann who are now known as the Sidhe. Over the next couple of months I read everything I could and visited sacred sites around Ireland that were connected to this mystical race. I had never considered myself a writer but in the Summer of 2014, drawing on my own characters – my children and their pets, An Tuatha de Danann and a great deal of imagination, The Violet Mist started to take shape.

 

What surprised you most as you researched this book?

I was surprised in the beginning about the lack of information and stories about An Tuatha De Danann and the Mythological Cycle in Irish history. There was a huge amount about Cuchuallain, Fionn mac Cumhail and the Fianna but very little information about their predecessors with the exception of The Children of Lir who turned out to be the last of the Tuatha de Dannan before the Milesians came. Even though I loved the Fianna stories I was more interested in the more peaceful and mystical race that are responsible for building the mysterious mounds at Bru Na Boinne and other astronomical structures all over the country. They are still relatively unrecognised except for the occasional cameo appearance in the tales of the Fianna. Thankfully, since I started writing this book I have found more and more websites and literature are being dedicated to them.

Also, when I first started to visit associated sites, many were inaccessible and required much jumping of walls, electric fences and brambles which was very difficult with four children in tow.  When we first visited the Hill of Uisneach it was a working farm but the owner, David Clarke, very kindly gave us permission to walk on his land to see the Catstone and all the other structures. At the time, there were no guided tours like there are now so it was very difficult to find anything. When we first went to the hill of Knockma in Tuam, the summit where the Cairns and the ruins of Finvarra’s castle are, was mainly inaccessible except by more scaling of walls and prickly hedges. Thankfully, the Hill of Uisneach now has its own visitor centre and the summit of the Hill of Knockma has been cleared and made accessible to the public.

Because there was so little record of the Sidhe I was lucky to come across authors who were mystics and described their encounters with the Sidhe. It was from the works of George AE Russell that I obtained most of my information and material in his book ‘The Candle of Visions.’ written in 1908.  Also, John Matthews’ book ‘The Sidhe’ provided invaluable insights into the peaceful and loving nature of the Sidhe who they believe still exist beneath the mounds in the Irish countryside.

 

What do you think will surprise readers the most?

I think readers might be surprised to find that even though the story is essentially a fairy tale, many of the characters and places mentioned in the book have their foundations in Irelands history and folklore and can easily be explored. Tir Na Nog, I suppose, is not as easy to reach but a little imagination might get you there.

What’s the most important lesson or message readers will get from it? 

I would hope the message is that good friends come in all shapes and sizes and you don’t have to be the most popular or cool to have the best adventures in life.  Also, there is subtle hint of gender equality running through which depicts women as warriors fighting shoulder to shoulder with men which was the way of An Tuatha de Danann.

Did writing this book change your life in any way?

Yes, I had never contemplated being a writer and my main experience in writing was in nursing academia which had to be factual and practical. However, there was one area called ‘Reflective practice’ where I discovered my descriptive ability. In Reflective practice we had to describe events you came across in your practice that were not taught in nursing textbooks or lectures. The idea was to describe the occurrence with as much detail as possible in order to educate your colleagues if faced with a similar situation. My tutors said I had a great descriptive quality to my reflective practice essays for which I always got A’s.

I started writing this book in 2014 in bursts when ideas came to me. It was only meant for my own entertainment and not to be made available to the public. It was only in 2018 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I decided to give it structure. I was listening to a podcast by Wayne Dyer – 5 lessons in life – he said ‘Don’t die with your music still in you’.  And so I threw myself into finishing the book which was a great distraction while going through treatment.

What do you hope will come from others reading it?   

I would like to see more people familiarise themselves with our ancient Irish history. An Tuatha de Danann were hugely intelligent and Ireland prospered under their rule. The monuments they built all over the country are older and are just as important as the Pyramids of Giza. Unfortunately, with the exception of Bru Na Boinne, many are falling into ruin. There is very little mention of them in the history books and so our young people are not taught about them in school. There seems to be a greater emphasis on our more recent history i.e the Famine, the 1916 rising, War of independence etc … which, of course are hugely important but, wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn about the brilliance of our ancestors as well. As I already mentioned I studied the works of George AE Russell while researching this book. Although AE was a poet and mystic, he was also a great political influencer and writer. He wrote in his book – ‘Imaginations and Reveries’ in 1925 that our literature focuses on ‘Irish people going forth into battle but always fell’ but he stated that ‘no country can ever hope to rise beyond mediocrity where there is not unbounded confidence in what its people can do.’

What are you working on at the moment?

The sequel … during a global pandemic I’m hoping the Sidhe will help us find a cure…

     

  

 

Author Ciara O'Malley

Q&A with Author Ciara O’ Malley,

Author of
Miracles Appear When Loved Ones Are Near

  • Why did you write this book?

This book was divinely guided by David and my angelic team. This book is part of my soul’s purpose here. From reading this book, you will see all the synchronicity that led up to the writing of this book. David gave me lots of signs that assisted in me following my intuition and writing this book. Grief tore my life apart and stripped me off everything I once knew. Grief stripped me of who I thought I was and what I thought I knew about the world we live in.

Through being stripped of everything, I had a chance to rebuild myself and find out who I truly was. Something which I am now eternally grateful for.

One day I chose ”me”, and that was where the magic happened. You could say I surrendered.

It was not easy, and at times it would have been easier to cave in and give up. But I had magic right beside me, pushing me on every step of the way. I had my beloved Davey, and he was going to do everything to show me he was still around guiding me on this new journey.

I have grown so much as a person and learned so much about my life and life, in general. For so long, I felt so lost, alone and honestly, I did not want to play a part in this cruel world. A world that had stripped me off everything and taken my David.

Through resilience, I have grown through all of this and completely changed my outlook on life. I have a newfound love for life that I never had before. I view every day as precious and something that it should be cherished.

This book is intended to uplift and inspire others to seek their own inner strength and courage in the face of adversity. To use my story to empower others to never give up hope, even when faced with the worst challenges. To enlighten others that miracles do happen when we have hope. To show others, we are so guided, loved and protected by our past on loved ones.

Everything I have done, you can do too. This does not just have to relate to grief, it can be any troubling situation in your life.

Once you choose ”you”, you are on the path to discovery, and you can welcome miracles into your life.

Everything comes back to you, and through my own self-healing journey, I have become fascinated with how the mind works.

Through my own journey, I believe we have everything within us to heal and grow as a person. The moment we choose ourselves, we welcome extensive experiences and opportunities into our life.

Our mind is such a powerful tool, and once we figure out how to navigate it, we can really step into our own and claim our power back.

Early on in my journey of grief and loss, it became apparent that writing helped ease my pain and release some of my anguish.

Early on, this book was only planned for my own personal healing. My intuition and signs from David led me to believe though it had a bigger purpose. I needed to use my experience and healing journey to help others.

What surprised you the most as you researched or wrote it?

 

As I wrote the book, it brought me to a deep state of reflection. It brought me so much healing. I had to go back and sit with everything that happened. It brought me back to the part of me that never thought I was going to overcome this. The part of me that was broken beyond repair. The part of me that could not see a life without David, that was so consumed by grief and loss in this world. It was very empowering and uplifting to go back and revisit those parts with my new sense of purpose and understanding of the world around us. I felt so proud of myself and inspired because If I could do it, so could others. It made me feel in awe of myself and how far I have come and grown as a person.  To say I prefer myself now than before David’s death sounds a bit mad, but It is true. I feel at home and I feel like I have a purpose. I have developed a newfound relationship with myself and a new connection with David.

After writing this book, I was able to see the natural flow of my life and all the synchronicity that occurred. Before I was so stuck in my grief it was hard to see all the signs David was showing me. It made me feel so blessed and grateful, even though David was gone in the physical sense he always had a plan and guided this new journey I was embarking on.

  • What do you think will surprise readers the most?

I think that fact we found David could be surprising. We were up against all the odds. We were dealing with a monster of a lake and, at times, the possibility of this looked so bleak and out of reach. But we were strong, resilient and never gave up hope. Hope prevailed and, ultimately, we got to bring him home. We never gave up hope, and we really did witness a miracle. My heart still feels so full. I am eternally grateful for this.

The connection I continue to have with David and all the signs and synchronicities he sent me and continues to send me. As you read the book and follow the sequence of events it is comforting to see how supported I was by David. I hope it gives other people some comfort as their passed on loved ones are doing the exact same for them.

When I needed it, David would send a sign or a message to uplift me and give me the strength I needed to carry on. I always think of it as our love story never ended; it just took a different turn. In my darkest time, he sent me my own personal earth angel who he would give messages too. This person has been an especially important part of my journey. Through them, David would give me handwritten notes. These notes brought me so much pain at times but were also so beautiful. These notes extended my connection with David and opened me up to spirituality which in turn has changed my life around. Our loved ones in spirit will do anything they can to connect with us and make their presence known. I have tried to use as many examples as possible to clearly display this throughout the book.

  • What is the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?

That our past on loved ones never leave us and will do anything to connect with us. We are so protected and supported always. That no matter how broken you are, you can overcome any challenge, that hope will always prevail.

That when you put the work into yourself the whole world around, you will change. Everything you need to heal, and grow is within you. Do not ever underestimate how powerful and strong you are.

Miracles can and do happen all around us, every day is a miracle. Do not ever stop believing in them. Your belief alone is welcoming miracles into your life.

  • Did writing this book change your life in any way?

This book brought me so much healing, and it is my pleasure to share my story with others to help spread hope, inspiration and love. The book made me feel so grateful at the newfound connection I have with David. I just feel so in awe of the world we life in and the magic that surrounds us.

I never, in a million years, thought I would ever say something like that. I feel like I had done a full 360 in my life. I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Every day I get up knowing that there is a plan for me. I feel connected, protected and supported always knowing David continues to guide me in this life.

  • What do you hope will come from others reading it?

I hope people put that book down and feel a sense of awe of the magic that surrounds us all each day. That it uplifts people and inspires them to never ever give up hope. Life can throw anything at you, but never give up hope that your situation can improve or that a miracle can occur. I never ever gave up hope that would find Davey, even when people thought I was mad and that I was inflicting more pain on myself.

I never gave up hope, life has taken everything else from me, but one thing it was not going to take was my hope. I hope that this inspires others to never give up, your miracle may be just around the corner.

I hope that my story lights something in others to help them start their own healing journey. I am as unique as every single person who reads this book. Everything I have done; they can do too. I feel so much love thinking that this book may help others.

For people who are grieving, I hope it shows them that love never dies. It knows no boundaries or depths. A symbolic part of the book is the poem about a dragonfly; a water beetle who transforms into a beautiful dragonfly. How wonderful.

Just like our loved ones, the water beetle had transformed, gone to a new home.

Our loved ones would love to come down and tell us they are ok, but they cannot. They may be gone in the physical sense, but their soul does not ever leave us. Your relationship continues with them; it just takes a different form. We live in a world where we are continually seeking logic to back everything, ok. When our loved ones send us signs, we must believe, trust and have faith. When we open ourselves up to this magic can really occur.

Most importantly, I hope that it empowers people to realize we have everything we need within ourselves to heal and grow as people.

In the world, we live in, we often seek everything from outside of us. We need people to fix us, we need others to validate us when really everything we need is within each one of us. You are special because you are you.

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