Dark story by Eileen Lynch in the Hennessey New Irish Writing feature of the Irish times. A school girl is having a dangerous affair with a much older man, mirrored in the menace of a tree full of crows in the garden.
Many thanks to the good folks on the Incubator Journal who will be publishing my story “When I Lay My Burden Down” in their September issue.
It’s been a bit quiet on the competition/publishing front the last two years as I have focussed on my novel, but delighted to see one of my stories on the long list of the Flash500 competition.
My story Death is the sound of distant thunder, strongly based on the third chapter of my novel, has won first prize in the monthly Writers’ Forum magazine competition and will appear in issue 168.
I was delighted with this, first big win since my story in New Irish Writing late 2013, and also because it reflects well on the novel.
After a long break mostly writing my novel, I have two short listings.
Death is the sound of distant thunder, a war/love story set in the same world as my novel is shortlisted with the Writer’s Forum Magazine, and I’m also on the shortlist for the People’s College competition:
Click here for a dynamic version of this synopsis (Scroll down once the image appears)
Click here to read three chapters
What would you do if you loved somebody so much that you were driven to destroy them? Two generations of the Slane family must answer this question, tossed about on the turmoil of one war after another, pursued by the dark power of the Lightning Bird. Jimmy and Maureen fight with the British Army in the Boer war, but evil follows them home from the killing fields of Ladysmith.
Their son Alex fights the same demon, first in the Royal Hibernian Military School, where he kills another boy, but persuades his friend Finn to take the blame, and later he is mobilised with the British army during the Easter Rising. Finn, meanwhile, fights with the IRB in the GPO along with Alex’s cousin Caer, who has sworn her love to him. Finn is wounded and, when they try to escape, they are nearly killed. Alex rescues them but is labeled a traitor as a result.
The three hide out in bleak west of Ireland, but Alex’s demon draws him into involvement with the IRA, and later, in the heat of the violence, he has an affair with Caer, leaving her pregnant. As the war of independence drowns them in bloodletting, they are forced to come to a realisation of themselves and each other. The ultimate revelation that Alex’s true mother was a Boer woman who died in a concentration camp drives him to discover things about himself and Caer that finally lead him to sacrifice himself to save his lover and child.
I had the pleasure of attending award winning author MJ Hyland’s fiction workshop in the Irish Writers’ Centre at the weekend. She’s a fascinating speaker, the day passed in a flash, even with the water protesters screaming outside.
She went through some great exercises on developing your style through studying other authors as well as knowing yourself. Came away with some interesting thoughts around the characters in my novel and a very long reading list. Two things to particularly recommend: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews and the fiction podcasts on the New Yorker http://www.newyorker.com/podcasts, great authors read other stories previously published and explain what’s great about it.
Worth missing the greatest day in the history of six nations rugby? Well, I still have that to watch on the recorder.
20 years ago, Lesa and I were living in London with the greatest joy that life can bring, a beautiful and perfect one year old boy, Brendan. I was trying to develop as a writer and Lesa was finishing her art degree. One weekend, high on exhaustion and disinfectant, we produced a picture book. I wrote the words – I admit now I did not put enough effort into revision and re-draughting, and ignored some of Lesa’s advice – and printed them out on a noisy slow dot-matrix printer. Lesa set to with pens and brushes. I guess Brendan was a little on the young side, but we brought it out every year or two, and shared it with the girls too when they came along. Then it languished on the bookshelf. When the RTE Guide and Poolbeg announced a competition to write a story for the Jack and Jill Foundation, a little light switched on in our heads. We dragged the story off the shelf – the cover was decaying and the plastic pockets it was displayed in were sticking together. We applied love – and twenty years of experience, several draughts and some collaboration – and came up with a revised and, I hope, much improved version of the story. When we heard it was accepted for publication, we were delighted that this work can live again and bring not only joy to those who might read the book, but also bring some little help to the families and children that Jack and Jill helps every year. Please click on the link below and enjoy the graphics and, by way of appreciation, please purchase a copy of the book, Once Upon a Bedtime, when it comes out in October, all proceeds to Jack and Jill. The full original graphic story
Having published Thickened With Blood in the Independent last December, I am now nominated in the Emerging Writers section of the Hennessey Literary Awards. Lesa and I get to go to a posh do in April, excitement and dress choices all round!