Celine Kiernan Interviewed

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As I said in the interview with Peadar Ó Guilín I came across a few authors over the two days of Octocon and asked them to be interviewed.  This is the second one, Celine Kiernan, an author whose books I have very much enjoyed over the years.

Celine was born and raised in Dublin and worked for a while in the Sullivan Bluth studio and I love meeting her at Octocon, she is a passionate speaker when she's on panels and I enjoyed the ones I managed to get with her on them.

The Links in the book names or author names will bring you to Dublin City Public Library's Catalogue


1. So what kind of fiction do you write?

Fantasy (possibly magic realism?? Not sure actually how to class it) It is mostly marketed as cross-over adult/YA


2. Why?

It's always liberating to sidestep reality a little in writing. It makes the exploration of deeper themes less heavy handed. I do like to examine the long term consequences of real life actions & to explore quite sensitive themes (like societal reform for example (Moorehawke), or the changes history makes on how we see ourselves and our own actions (Into the Grey) or seeking self-worth in a world that deems you/your kind worthless (Resonance) Telling these stories via fantasy elements is a great way of exploring sweeping concepts while still having a little fun.


3. How long have you been writing for?

Quite literally since I could write the words down. I wrote my first completed (terrible) novel at 11 years old.


4. Does it give you a special thrill to see your books in your local library?

 Gives me a thrill to see my books anywhere other than my own head.


5. Do you visit your local library often?

At least twice a month.


6. Have you ever lurked near your books in a library or bookshop if someone seems to be interested?

 God, no.


7. Do you do readings in libraries, how do you find them?

Yes I do. Always by invitation only and I'm very grateful to the coordinated efforts of the various Irish libraries, county councils and schools that continue to make such visits possible. I've found them to be a very positive experience all round. They generate a lot of interesting discussion with the kids involved (it's always kids) and sometimes quite long-running e-mail or letter based communication afterwards.


8. Do you use the interlibrary loan system in your library service (well I might as well get a minor plug in!)

very very often, as I tend to go into the library already knowing what it is I'd like to read.


9. Have you ever reserved your own book just to prove it's in stock?

Good lord! LOL. No.


10. Did you have a favourite author as a kid?

 I had favorite books more that favorite authors, but I did return again and again to Stephen KingRay Bradbury when in my teens. (though I had the usual on going love affair with Enid Blyton and the Hardy Boys when a very young child) Among my favorite young teen books were The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (Alan Garner), Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees (Thomas Keneally), Little Grey Men  & it's sequel Little Grey Men Go Down the Bright Stream (BB), Alice Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll) & Something Wicked This Way comes (Ray Bradbury)


11. Have you read those books again as an adult?

I do try to avoid going back as I will never be that child again and I don't want to hurt the memories with my elderly cynicism. But I read Something Wicked recently as part of a literary event, I also dip into Alice now and again as I think it's timeless.


12. What was it like? Did it stand up to adult reading?

Something Wicked was a lovely re-read, I enjoyed it tremendously (though I did - on rereading - find it terribly over written. It didn't spoil my enjoyment at all) I recently ( at an acquaintance's urging) tried Weirdstone again and sadly found I had out grown it.


13. List five favourite authors (who aren't you!)

Again, I tend to like books rather than authors, but folks whose work I return to again and again as an adult reader are: Sebastian Barry, John Connolly, Colum McCann, Louis de Bernieres & Gabriel Garcia Márquez. Yes - all men. What can I tell you about that fact?? It is what it is.


14. Have you read any books about Ireland that made you laugh/cry/breathe smoke?

Not about Ireland per se, no.


15. Do you have an alias? Why?

I'm called Tinycoward on my Art site because that's what I am (IE I'm actually very shy and find meeting new people difficult) & Gary Clarke over at AbsoluteWrite (after a beloved uncle who dies too early and whose name I had intended to use as a pen-name)


16. Do you read any genres outside what you write? Deliberately?

Very much so.

I think it would be more of a deliberate decision to stick within my genre to be honest. I read what fascinates me, and I'm fascinated by many many different things - but most especially society, history and why human beings do what they do.


17. Do you go to any Irish Conventions?

Last year (2011) was my first convention (Octocon) and I only attended after years of being cajolled and bullied into it (like I said - shyyyyy) It was a good experience, so I came back again this year. Next year I've been invited to Pcon which I'm already knotted up in anxiety over : )


18. Do you go to any non-Irish Conventions? Any favourites or recommendations?



19. Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?

 I draw. I garden.


20. Have you visited Libraries in any other country?

 I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for a while and attended a library there.


20. Which one impressed you the most?

There was only one. It was very good.


22. Is there anything that you would like to see Irish Libraries do?

 It would be good if they had the freedom to raise money outside of state funding (perhaps by the addition of a small bookshop to each library maybe?) but overall I think the library service is an excellent one in this country.


23. Is there anything you would like to see Dublin City Public Libraries do?

I'm not too familiar with Dublin City Libraries. Sorry. [Sadly - Deigh]


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