Friday 11 January 2013

Writer - Eileen Kernaghan

I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Eileen Kernaghan.  Enjoy!

Eileen Kernaghan

Hello Eileen.  Can you please introduce yourself?
I'm Eileen Kernaghan, from British Columbia, Canada.
How long have you been writing?
All my life! Or at least from when I first learned to read and write at about age five.
What first got you interested in writing?
First of all  having stories read to me, and then reading them for myself. 
Do you attend a writing group?
Burnaby Writers’ Society. I've been a member since the society first formed in 1967.
Why do you attend a writing group?
It keeps me motivated to keep writing. As well, I value the feedback. A good critiquing group can catch those glitches you just don’t notice yourself.
What is the most valuable thing you've taken away from your writing group?
The desire to carry on writing. 
What genre(s) do you write?  What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
Historical novels, with elements of fantasy.  These are the books I’ve always loved to read. 
Are there any genres that you don't enjoy writing?
Romance novels. I’m not terribly good at writing love scenes. 
What types of things do you write?
Novels; poetry; short stories; occasional non-fiction.
Have you ever had anything published?
Yes. Nine novels, a poetry collection, and a non-fiction book.  You can find the details on my website, 
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing?
I did  self-publish one novel, when I couldn’t find an interested publisher. It’s called Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: a novel of Mohenjo-daro, and it’s set in the prehistoric Indus Valley. 
Who/what influences your writing?  Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m inspired by history, by myth, and by the many varieties of magical belief. 
What is your writing routine?
I find mornings are best for writing. But I’m not as disciplined as I used to be. 
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I begin, usually, with a character, a period of history, a setting. I may have a general idea of the plot, but the story always develops as I do the research, and as my characters interact with their world.
Do you have an editing process?
My first reader is my husband, and next my small speculative fiction writing group, of which I’ve been a member for nearly thirty years.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Edit, edit, edit. 
That's my favourite part of the writing process.  What advice could you give yo a new writer?
Be patient. And never submit anything for publication, (or self-publish) until the manuscript is as perfect as you can possibly make it. Again, edit, edit, edit. 
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
I enjoy doing the research, and I enjoy the act of creation.  I  least enjoy the necessity to get out there in the marketplace and promote my work. 
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?  Have you ever won?
Yes to both.  Two of my novels, Songs from the Drowned Lands and The Snow Queen,  and a short story, “Carpe Diem”,. won Aurora Awards for Canadian speculative writing.
Have you ever attended an open mic event for spoken word performances?
Yes, often. Open mic readings are very popular in this area. 
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Reading, walking., history, prehistory.
What types of things do you read?  Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
History. Historical and mainstream literary novels. Some fantasy.  Some mysteries. And yes, I like to think my writing reflects my tastes. 
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Precious Bane, by Mary Webb. I first read it when I was about fourteen, and ever since it’s been my favourite book.  And my second choice would be Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm. 
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a novel (a historical novel set in India under the Raj) and I’ve yet to decide what comes next. 
There's a whole world of possibilities!  You mentioned earlier that you have a website, but is there anywhere else on the internet that we can find you?
Would you be able to provide an short piece of your work?
From Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural (Thistledown Press 2008) 
As I made my way in the chill grey dawn toward Berwick I was hungry and thirsty and my spirits very low… But I thought, however drab and grey the city may prove to be, and whatever misadventures may await me there, I cannot stay in a place where they think me at best a witch, at worst a murderess. And I remembered how Father used to say that opportunity could grow out of mischance, so as I trudged towards Berwick station I imagined the oak desk, the sunny room, the shelves of books with my name in gilt; and I began to walk faster, with a lighter heart. 
So here I sit, on the morning train to London, with my journal on my lap. The woman beside me stared when I sat down, and I know how bedraggled I must look, with my hem all smirched and my boots muddy where I cut across the fields. Soon we will be in Newcastle, with the Borders and my old life forever behind me. I mean to keep a careful record of this journey, writ plain and in proper English, as a novelist would; for when I come to write the story of my life, this will be the opening chapter. 
I must not think any more about George. It was a wicked thing I did, whether I meant it or not, and it is a shame I must live with. But more wicked than the act itself, I realize now, was the guilty joy I felt as my weapon found its mark. 
© Eileen Kernaghan 
Thank you very much, Eileen.

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