# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)
I was born in Essex England, and grew up on the Isle of Wight from the age of three. At the age of 22 I moved permanently to Ireland, where I lived in West Cork, and more recently on the border of Counties Roscommon and Longford in Termonbarry. For most of that time I was teaching children with Special Needs, and raising my three children with my husband. After taking early retirement, I love to write books for children.
After discovering Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing, I decided to start self-publishing my own books. Then I created my own brand for my books, and so Childhood Books was born.
I also enjoys writing poetry and short stories and I am the chairperson of Longford Writers Group. In 2018, I was involved in a collaborative novella called ‘Let him Lie’ with 9 other members of Longford Writers Group. In 2019, I was in the anthology, ‘Home Made’ which was produced by the group.
I have also had short stories published in four anthologies – ‘Ring around the Moon’, ‘Midir and Etain’, ‘The King at the Back of the Hill’, and ‘Writers in Lockdown.’.
In 2019, I published my first collection of poetry entitled, ‘Dipping Into The Font’. This was published with KDP under my new brand for adults, ‘Landscape Books’.
Most recently, I published a children’s book of poetry. It is called, ‘A Posy of wild Flowers’, and contains poems about wild flowers and trees, alongside beautiful illustrations by my sister Angela Corkery.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Rory Gumboots – Is a hedgehog who wears red gumboots/wellingtons. He lives in a peaceful place called, Noddinghead Nook. I wanted to keep a hedgehog as a pet as a child but I was told I couldn’t because they were full of fleas. Red is my favourite colour and I liked wearing wellingtons/gumboots. I have always loved being out in nature. Put them all together and you have the beginning of a story.
The Reckolahesperus – When I was a child if I or my siblings came in all messy from playing outside my father would say, “You look like the Wreck of the Hesperis!” (There was an old poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about a ship called The Hesperus that has been wrecked.) I didn’t understand what my father was saying so imagined a very messy creature called the Reckolahesperus.
Hattie and Jacques Love London – This was based on one of Aesop’s fables – Town Mouse and Country Mouse except I had one mouse from England and a mouse from France. I got the names from the comedy actress, Hattie Jacques.
The Dreamsmith – I was thinking about children having nightmares and it got me thinking about how to explain how dreams are made to young children and to put it in a way as a child would probably imagine it.
Frances Darwin Investigates – This started off as a short story for a prompt but it seemed to morph into a children’s book. I thought, children like dogs and adventures so why not put them together.
Dipping Into The Font /A collection of poetry –
I had poems all over my computer from years back and so decided to put them together in one place. My photographer friend, Antonio Simoes did a fantastic photo for my cover.
A Posy of Wild Flowers – The illustrations were done by my sister, Angela Corkery Bickley. The cover was by my friend, Dan Flynn. The book was inspired by my friend Margaret Manning O’Driscoll because of her beautiful wild flower pictures on Facebook. I remembered poems and illustrations about flower fairies when I was a child.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I have a very active imagination. It can be something I overhear or see, a vague memory, a writing prompt. Sometimes it just comes to me. I do get inspired when I am out in nature and sometimes listening to others inspires me or something I may have read.
# How do you deal with creative block?
I might go weeding or for a walk. I might read a poem or watch a video of someone talking about their own creativity. Sometimes I jot down words or phrases that come into my mind for when I need inspiration.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I think it is very important to make sure your book is edited and formatted properly. I have made those mistakes and hopefully learnt from them. It is also good to try and show an emotion through actions and expressions rather than telling it. I am still working on this.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I love choosing titles and covers! Think very carefully about what your book is saying and jot down all the words and phrases that come to mind. Start putting some of them together until something clicks. Google them to check if your title is original.
Imagine how you might see the cover and think who might be the right person to do it for you. For some I used illustrations from my books, for another a photograph I had in mind, and for another one some art by an artist who worked on my vision and whose work I knew already.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Bad reviews and negative feedback are never pleasant but can be useful and a learning opportunity. When this first happened to me I of course got upset and dispirited. But sometimes if you leave it and go back to look at it in a few days it might not seem so bad or you might just laugh at how ludicrous it is. If one person says it, it might just be that person’s perspective on things but if several people say it, it is time to put on my big girl pants and learn from it.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I believe that the more you involve yourself in creativity the easier it comes to you. I have recognized that what works best with me is to brainstorm and to use mind mapping and to then start organizing my thoughts into the process of getting to where I want to go. But sometimes I just start writing and the creativity flows.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best is when the book is finished and you are holding it in your hands.
The worst are the technical problems that may occur in formatting etc.
The most surprising is how a little nugget of an idea can develop into a unique story/series of poems/finished book.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I try to balance the two by enjoying the subject matter I am writing about and trying to appeal to my audience which is usually children. I try to take account of the age of the reader and what topics they might be interested in.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
I think emotions play a very important role in creativity. It is well known that heartbreak can release a plethora of creativity as we work through our grief, anger, loneliness, sense of failure and despair. When something moves us we want to share and explain to the world. Memories of emotional events can trigger creativity years after the event.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
Open the page of a book, close your eyes and point to any line. Use a sentence, phrase or word to start a story or poem.
Use prompts from prompt lists on the internet.
Role play being different genders, ages, from a different time period, or different country or culture.
# What are your plans for future books?
Revisiting some of my old books and writing some sequels.
I hope to get a book about a bunny rabbit who finds snow for the first time, published this year.
Also, a kind of fairy story to be published this year or next.
I am working on an adult novel which will probably take me a long time.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I like to ululate when I am happy. Ululate: To utter a loud , usually protracted, high-pitched, rhythmical sound.
I like to put a warm tea-cosy on my head indoors if my head is cold in the winter. It soon warms you up.
I used to make potions as a child and made my sister drink them. I could have poisoned her.