Meet our author: Eileen Moynihan
Today we are meeting another of our authors Eileen Moynihan. If you happen to be fortunate enough to live or be visiting County Longford, Ireland, on the 18th March, you can meet Eileen at the Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre and purchase her new book The Dreamsmith! All her four books are also available to buy on our website and are definitely worth a read!
What made you start writing?
To be honest I don’t know what made me start writing. I think it was because I enjoyed reading books and had a good imagination.
How old were you?
Probably about 6 or 7.
What are your books about?
‘Rory Gumboots’ is about a hedgehog who wears red gumboots/ wellingtons and lives in Noddinghead Nook with his other animal friends. One day he gets a shock when he sees a big monster like machines near Noddinghead Nook. A meeting of the animals is called and they ask Professor Puffanwheeze to help.
‘The Reckolahesperus’ is about a boy called Sam who is a bit lonely. But one day his mum says something strange to him which has Sam puzzled. That night Sam makes a new friend with an unusual creature, and they go on an adventure together.
‘Hattie and Jacques Love London’ is about a mouse called Hattie who lives in a big house in London, England, and Jacques a French mouse who arrives in Hattie’s house by accident. He has travelled in the suitcase of a French au- pair/nanny who has come to mind the twins who live in the same house as Hattie. One day they go on a tour of London with the twins and Sophie the au-pair, although the humans don’t know they came too. They have many adventures on their tour and their friendship deepens.
‘The Dreamsmith’ is about a girl called Eleanor who has a bad dream one night. She asks her mother who makes dreams and her mother tells her about the Dreamsmith. Eleanor falls asleep and meets the Dreamsmith who explains how he makes the dreams and together they make a dream for Eleanor’s mum.
Where did you get your ideas from?
My ideas just come from random thoughts and memories. I always loved hedgehogs, my favourite colour is red and I thought it would be quirky to have a hedgehog with red boots and Rory Gumboots became alive for me. Just like Sam in ‘The Reckolahesperus’ I was puzzled by my father saying, “You look like the Wreck of the Hesperis,” when I looked messy as a child. I too thought it was some strange creature. Hattie and Jacques were based on the mice in the story Town Mouse and Country Mouse. I got the name from the well-loved comedienne Hattie Jacques. ‘The Dreamsmith’ came from thinking how children deal with nightmares.
What do you find challenging in your writing?
I find a lot of things challenging in my writing. The first challenge is to actually start and to keep going with it. Then trying to work out where the plot is going and how to bring it all together for the ending. I worry about having everything right with my punctuation and grammar.
Who and what has influenced you?
My parents and teachers definitely influenced me by encouraging me to read and appreciate books. I remember being read to at home and at school. Libraries were and are terribly important. It was one of my favourite place to go as a child and I went every Saturday morning
Do you have a favourite book/ author?
My favourite book was and is Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillippa Pearce. I also loved Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott. But I enjoyed Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis and A.A.Milne as a child and love Julia Donaldson’s books now.
Why do you love reading?
Because I can travel to different times and places and become a different person without even leaving my house. Reading can make you think, move you, thrill you and educate you.
How many books have you written?
I have written four books.
How many books would you like to write?
As many as I can.
Are you working on a book at the moment? What is it about?
I have a book nearly ready to go about a girl who investigates mysteries and gets involved in catching some dognappers.
What are your future plans?
To keep writing and improving.
What is your favourite part of being an author?
I get a great feeling when a child enjoys my book and is inspired by it.
How long did it take you to write your books.
It took from a few years to a few weeks for different books.
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Jot down any random ideas that come into your head that might lead to a story. Get feedback from others. Practice and maybe enter some competitions. Believe in yourself.
We are running a competition where children can write a story which will be made into a book. Do you have any advice you can give to the children?
Try to be different. Think about your character and who they are inside and out. What is your plot? Something happens and how does your character deal with it?
As part of our competition we also need an illustrator. Who was your illustrator and how important were they in the production of your books.
My first two books were done by a company in India and there were a few teething problems about clothes and animals because of different cultural experiences. These were digital pictures. My last 2 books were done by local artists who I was introduced to – Stephen Ribeiro aka Jason Silva and Robert Peacock. Stephen drew very detailed pictures for ‘Hattie and Jacques Love London.’ Robert Peacock used a mixture of drawing and digital art in ‘The Dreamsmith.’ The illustrations were very important for my books as they are books for younger children and the pictures are a reference point for young readers. They bring my vision of the story alive.
When you are not writing how do you like to relax?
I enjoy dancing and swimming and of course reading.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I hope that anybody who buys my books will enjoy them and get something from them to inspire their imagination.