Thursday, July 28, 2011
This month I would like to introduce you to an aspiring poet and novelist, Jamie Sullivan. Here she tells us of her first inspirational experience that paved the way on her journey as a poet.
Over to you, Jamie....
You could read twenty or so poetry books by any given author, put them down and a few minutes later, they would be forgotten about. You could have really liked them at the time but they just didn’t have that oompff factor that makes you remember them years down the line. That’s why they were and still are forgotten. There are only two poets that really stood out to me because they did have the oompff factor. Lord Alfred Tennyson and more importantly, Edgar Allen Poe.
I was already a weakling poet when I first found Poe. Poe threw everything I thought I knew and had known about poetry up into the air. I would read the same poem over and over again, mesmerised. The words flowed with mastery, they imprinted crystal clear pictures onto my grey matter. Never have I forgotten that poem: Alone. I felt as if I wasn’t reading the poem but the poem was reading me. I was lost in a world of fluid artistry, words that spoke as clear as someone stood next to me, as if I had been violently sucked from one world and cast into another. I was enthralled.
The book in question was a battered old hardback that I had bought off a car-boot sale for fifty pence. The Complete Works by Edgar Allen Poe, Second Edition. I had heard his name before but thought nothing of it as I cracked open the tatty cover just a few hours later. Sat on my bed, legs dangling over the side on a hot summer's Sunday afternoon; I remember it perfectly. I was eleven years old and it was the school holidays. Once I had opened that fabled blue and faded gold cover, never again would I forget, or sideline, his name again.
From sunrise to sundown I read that book, absorbing every word, every metaphor, every little scene that played out behind my eyes. And now, even as an adult, Poe is the main driving force behind my poetry.
Every now and again I will grab a poetry compilation off my (badly overcrowded) bookshelf with every intention of reading Eliza Cook, William Blake, Lord Byron but no. I would and will always find myself absently creeping back to Poe on page one hundred and fourteen. Ha! That should say something, I don’t even have the book in front of me.
Like Poe, my poetry is dark and sombre. Some people say its too dark but that is my own personal spin on it. Just like Poe. He did not care about rules or what people wanted to read, he just wrote because he had a passion for it, the same as myself. I consider my writings to be my life's blood.
I do have my lighter poems but they are few and rare. I only write lighter poems when something truly inspires me to do so as they are the ones that tend to be harder to pen.
My biggest desire is not to be famous, not to be a best seller but to impact my readers. I would love twenty years down the line for someone to pass a junk stall pitched up next to a battered Toyota and halt in their tracks when they see the battered and faded cover that belonged to my poetry. For them to gasp and remember the delight of holding one of my poem's in their hands. For them to remember what fantastic journey I took them on as Poe did for me. For them to walk excitedly up to their friend and yell passionately that they are holding another book of my works. I don’t care if I have to live in poverty for the rest of my life if it means achieving this.
This is my dream and it will never change.
Now, in all honesty I am not a great poet, I am not even a poet with a capital P. However, I will say this: admitting one's mistakes and trying again is one way of becoming something or achieving something you truly desire. If you don’t admit to your flaws or your shortcomings or your mistakes, you will never get anywhere. And THAT is the beginnings of becoming a poet with a capital P.
|R.I.P. Edgar Allen Poe 1809 -1849|
A little about Jamie
I first begun to write in my early childhood as a way to escape the trails and tribulations of family life. It was at first, only a pass time for me but when I reached my teens it became something of a hobby. In my late teens I knew what I wanted to do with my future: I wanted to be an author. Not for fame or money or the proverbial red carpets. No, I wanted to offer other people the chance to escape everyday life like so many authors had (and still do) for me. That is how my writing became a part of me. It was my passion, my vice and my mind. It spoke to me in so many volumes it was hard to ignore. It was my calling.
In my mid teens I entered a poetry competition through United Press for the International Anthology of Young Poets with a prose poem called Her Arms Were Heaven. I came within the top 20 runner up's. It was my first poetical piece and I was awed that I had made it so far. My poem was printed in a large ten piece volume of leather bound and gold embroidered tomes.
My future is unset. Whether I get published or not, that is unclear but I will continue to try. It is a goal I am aiming for but not one I will achieve until I know within myself that I am ready. Writing is not something I do on a whim. I take it seriously. Writing is my child that needs to be nurtured and raised to a decent level of self acceptance. Only when I agree with myself that I have created a piece of art shall I be ready to get published.
Thank you Jamie for an informative and insightful glimpse into your world!
If you would like to connect with Jamie and find out more about her and her work, then click the link below.
I think this is one poet we need to keep our eyes on.
Until next time, ciao and happy reading my lovelies.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Recently we at FTN had the pleasure of a quick Q&A session with the fiery Julieanne Lynch, an author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens, with her latest offering; In The Shadows, described as "one hot vampire read" currently being primed for a second edition.
According to her Bio Julieanne is: originally from Northern Ireland and now lives in the Republic of Ireland, where she works on her Shadows Trilogy and other series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and believes all of her education and reading prepared her for it.
An avid reader, Julieanne has always had an encompassing fascination with folklore. When not writing, she enjoys crime series such as Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS and Cold Case, and loves anything with Vampires, listening to metal, meeting new people, drinking lots of green tea, and sharing her dreams with her children. She is a self-professed goth wanna-be,and is happy when left to write into the early hours of the morning.
I caught up with Julieanne and hit her with some quickfire qestions a few weeks back and here's what the Author had to say:
Tell us a bit about yourself, who are you and what do you write?
Well, firstly, I am Julieanne, a native of Fermanagh, a mother of four brilliant children, and I have a love of all things dark, horrific and erotic. Mostly I write horror stories, erotic flash fiction, psychological drama, but I have a new found love of urban fantasy. Basically, I just love to delve into the unnatural and create something that leaves me breathless as well as satisfied. My debut novel In the Shadows, follows Giselle Bergman, an eighteen year old ‘girl-next-door’ on a journey that opens her eyes to the supernatural elements of her world - or what she thought was her world. She is never in one place, and throughout the story I introduce my readers to some pretty amazing settings. It is a fast paced, adrenaline filled story that leaves you craving the next installment.
What is it about the supernatural fantasy genre that drew your interest as a writer?
I love the thought of being pulled into something that is completely out of this world. I hate to be pigeonholed, and I love nothing better than my imagination being pushed beyond its boundaries. Even as a small child, I remember sitting on my own, watching Christopher Lee portray Dracula, and instead of being scared, I was drawn in. I wanted to be a part of it, and call me weird, but most of us (even closet horror fans) love the adrenaline kick from being frightened. So in a sense, the thought of being able to create this for my readers gives me a rush that I cannot explain. Being able to hold a readers attention is the best feeling in the world, and I think that I do that to great effect. The fantasy genre drew me in simply because I wanted to write about unexplained phenomenons that cannot be rationalised by science.
Which genre do you feel most heavily influenced your own writing?
I love the horror genre. I love anything that can be described as macabre. There is just something so beautiful about constructing a piece of writing that you know will deliver horrific visions in your readers mind. Some people would call that sick, but to me, I love shocking an audience. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t just add things for the sake of it. Most of what I create has a good solid plot, and back story, but I just love to add certain elements that will grab my readers attention and leave them bewildered and craving for more.
Is there any particular author that gets your creative juices flowing?
I’ve always had this fascination with Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz, but the one that constantly helps me strive for success is Poe. I am obsessed with his work. The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Fall of the House of Usher were two of my first encounters with Poe’s writing, and I can tell you now, reading these stories at the age of thirteen was terrifying, but it opened up my own imagination. 150 years later, and his work still carries the same weight as it did then. More and more young people are drawn to his poetry, it proves to us that we are masters of our own imagination.
Do you feel the traits of your main protagonist Giselle, reflect your own or do they stem from external experience?
I love my Giselle. I knew as soon as I outlined In the Shadows, that I would find it hard to let her go. In a sense Giselle does reflet some of my own personality traits - she’s moody, curses, and is insecure, but overall she’s a trooper. In the beginning of her story, she is timid, easily domineered, but come full circle, she knows how to kick ass, and finds that she isn’t so submissive. BUT, I did use my little ‘black book’ of notes from people watching to help me construct her in a believable way, and by that, I mean I wanted to keep her outlook on life similar to girls her own age. It would be too easy for me to draw on my own life experiences, and craft them into her own personality. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to make sure that when my audience (predominately young adults) read this, they would connect with her way of thinking, how she deals with certain situations, and to me as a writer, that is an important key point when constructing characters.
You’ve written some fairly racy material; do you ever worry about upsetting some people’s delicate sensibilities?
Absolutley not. Why would I? Seriously, in this day and age were sex and violence is thrust in our faces on a daily basis, why would folk be offended by something I’ve written? It’s simple, if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it.
With a plethora of five star reviews, what is it about dark erotic stories with mysterious supernatural creatures that really excites your audience and leaves them wanting for more?
I think when I create my story-lines, I create them with my audience in mind. I want my readers to connect with every pitfall that a main character goes through. I don’t want my books to just have a straightforward, beginning, middle and end. I want them to be a journey that my audience undertakes. I think the way that I weave the darker elements of horror and serious drama through my story excites my reader. I make my stories faced paced, I create monsters none of us want to meet day or night, and overall, I like to play with my readers, I like them to think that they know what’s going to happen next - when in actual fact, I take them in the opposite direction.
If you could be any supernatural creature from the universe that you’ve weaved what would you choose and why?
This is hard. I obviously would love to be one of my classical vampires, but there is something so sinister about the shadow creatures, that I find myself drawn to their existence more. Being able to evaporate into thin air, causing mischief and pain, excites me. I would love to have their compelling powers, their way of mentally torturing people, and their unique sense of doom. They don’t care what or who they inflict their pain on, they just do it because it’s their purpose - it excites them.
If you could meet any of your characters in real life who would you choose and why?
Oh, now this is easy, Antoine. He is simply delicious, and he can bite me anytime. Seriously, he is a great strong character, and just when we think we know him, he stuns us and does something so out of character, that you are left slightly confused, but overall even more in love with him. He is a great man, and although he is a vampire and not wholly trustworthy, there is just something about him that draws me in - but I am biased.
What’s next for Julieanne Lynch?
Next, the second edition of In the Shadows will be released in the next few months, and my publisher plans to have the complete trilogy published in the next six to eight months. My adult novel, Ice Goddess will be released in the new year, as will my spin off series, based on Antoine. I am also writing a series of short stories, which I hope to have published in the next year or two, as well as working on a series of children’s books, which has been inspired by my own children. Busy times, but good times.
The novel, In the Shadows is the first of a Shadow World trilogy with Julieanne working on the second book, Walking with Shadows.
Julieanne's The Shadows Trilogy follows the war between vampires and shadow creatures and Giselle Bergman, an 18-year old human girl, falls victim to a scheme by one of her closest childhood friends, and embarks on a journey that sees her become the center of a between good and evil.
Sounds fantastic and we will definitely be putting the Shadows Trilogy on our 'to read' list. For more info on Julieanne and her upcoming projects click http://www.julieannelynch.co.uk
Saturday, July 2, 2011
The other night, on a very rare occasion, I was watching television with my not so better half and I watched a rather interesting documentary on Haunting’s in Ireland and one story in particular hit my senses.
I grew up in a town called Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, and knowing the legend of the Cooneen ghost existed gave me a sense of curiosity and an obvious desire to find out for myself. I remember on one occasion, my father took my two younger sisters and myself up to Cooneen, and I can tell you right now, the whole area is spooky. The forest around the surrounding country side is without a doubt eerie and I can remember well how awful it felt when we walked from the car. We searched for the path that led up to the house. But thankfully, our fear was enough to have the outing halted quickly. We all looked at each other and our faces said it all, ” Get us the hell out of here.” And even to this day, I still wouldn’t set foot near that place.
Here is the story of Cooneen and a family tormented by an unseen entity.
In 1913 a family by the name of Murphy were to become victims of one the worlds most famous Poltergeist cases in history. The story states that Widow Murphy, her son and five daughters, who lived in a mountain cottage near Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, became plagued by a poltergeist shortly after her husband died in an accident. Strange happenings started to occur with rapping’s and banging’s along with other noises. Above the house was a room used as storage for hay, the room was only accessible by a stone staircase adjoined to the farmhouse. In this room heavy footsteps were often heard; even though nobody was in there. The family often got friends and neighbours around to witness the strange happenings and they did. Shortly after widow Murphy turned to the church for help and Father Coyle from Maguiresbridge. Two excorcisms were performed but to no avail, the torment continued, with the disturbances happening day and night.
Father Coyle described watching as the blankets would rise and fall on an empty bed, as if someone underneath were breathing. Mysterious shapes appeared and disappeared. He also reported that pots and pans would suddenly without warning fly across the kitchen and music would waft across the room. Sources claim the rapping’s were sometimes to the rhythm of tunes. A couple of favourites were ‘Boyne Water’ and ‘The Soldiers Song’ and that the Poltergeist would dance along to them.
The Murphy family became so scared they decided to flee their home and set sail for America, but they left with the knowledge that superstitious locals had started to accuse them of performing witchcraft. They left via Glasgow believing they would be safe as they were leaving the Poltergeist behind them in Ireland. Much to their surprise and horror it seemed the Poltergeist had travelled with them; at night the banging’s and rapping’s continued in their cabin, others aboard the vessel complained to the Captain so much he threatened to put the family off the ship. Even when the Murphy family arrived in America and found a new home the disturbances continued. But over time the manifestations and rapping’s subsided and eventually stopped completely allowing the family to get on with their lives the best they could.
It is said and believed that the “Cooneen Ghost” pronounced “Coonian Ghost” is the best-recorded and authenticated ghost in Irish History.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I will not be going anywhere near Cooneen anytime soon. I know that there are those of you who would be totally excited by this, and in some cases, you would travel from far and wide [folk have already done so] just to experience whatever it is that Cooneen has to offer. But take it from me, as a native of the area, this is no joke and is most certainly not for the faint hearted. If you dare to take a step towards that house, do so with caution, remember, that whatever it is that possess that cottage has a tendency to hold onto you and will not let go; well, not until it is ready to release you – no matter the cost.