My questions are written without italics. Eileen Moynihan’s responses are in italics.
How many books have you written?
My latest book is my 6th children’s book and I have also done a collection of poetry for adults.
I know you live in Ireland. Are any of the children’s books set in Ireland?
Not specifically. Some of them could be in several countries. ‘Hattie and Jacques Love London’ is set in London, England and mentions Paris, France. My latest book, ‘A Posy of Wild Flowers’ has wild flowers found in Ireland and the U.K; but the flower names are also in Irish.
Why did you decide to switch from stories to poems? What did you find different about the process of publishing doing poems instead of a story?
I have always written poetry as well but never thought I was really ‘good enough’; but I was getting some positive feedback from my local writers group and others and decided to take the plunge. I wanted to put together all the poems I had floating around my computer, which were mostly for the adult market and decided to put them into a collection called, ‘Dipping Into The Font’.
I always enjoyed poetry as a child so thought I would go ahead and do one for children but also one that adults could enjoy as well so went ahead with, ‘A Posy of Wild Flowers’.
One thing that was different was the formatting and presentation of the poetry and so had to get help with that. For the poems in, ‘A Posy of Wild Flowers’ I deliberately wanted to have rhyming poems and had to work on trying to get that right. I researched each flower and tried to condense all of that into the poems.
Your most recent book is about flowers. Can you tell us about your favourite flower, or why? Or why you chose this topic?
I have a few favourite flowers. I love tulips, especially red and white ones. I love their brightness, the smoothness of the petals, and the shape of the flower. I also love bluebells, primroses and foxgloves. This book is also about wild trees and I love the Rowan/ Mountain Ash. It is very Celtic and magical. I love the feathery leaves and the cheerful red berries.
I chose this topic because my Facebook friend and now an actual friend, Margaret O’Driscoll was putting up beautiful photos of Irish wild flowers and trees on Facebook. I remembered my mother educating me about flowers and trees when we were out walking in my childhood and poetry books she introduced me too. I also thought about books from my childhood about flower fairies, so my very talented sister, Angela Corkery Bickley came on board to do the beautiful illustrations.
What shaped your image of fairies? Are they fantasies? Mythological creatures? Magical beings?
I think my image of fairies was from books I read in my childhood. The beautiful images of Cicely Mary Barker come to mind and the fairies in the books by Enid Blyton. To me as a child they were magical beings but I am very interested in the mythology of fairies in legend and story. I believe, don’t you?
I notice you have a children and teens fan club mentioned on your webpage. Can you tell us a bit about that?
This is just a new addition to my website. I want this to be a place where my young fans can give me feedback, ask me questions, enjoy competitions and get special offers etc. I am going to extend the deadline for the following competition for another month as I need more entries.
What advice do you give to young poets?
Study something that interests you or moves you. Write down lines of descriptions. Write down what feelings you have. Take parts of what you have written down to start forming a poem. Think about what you are trying to express to someone else. If you want to rhyme and you enjoy rhyme… do it. If you find rhyme hard and don’t want to rhyme… don’t do it. Read as many different poems as you can.