Characters from Arkyne: Coco – An Introduction

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COCO De Rais strode purposefully through the grounds of her home, a seventeenth century château overlooking the French village of Tiffauges. It was late in the evening, the end of summer, and the château, perched high and austere amidst the borderlands of the Vendee, was bathed in the golden hue of sand stone.

Breathing through her irritation, and with a flashlight shining low and discreet on the path before her, her pace quickened, and she didn’t even stop to admire, as was her habit, the magical blanket of moon dust now reflecting off the ivy-leaved façade of the sumptuous building.  Her papa, Henri, had upset her again and she was frowning, her wild black hair falling across her face to flap in unison with her furious footsteps, gravel crunching beneath her thick-soled black boots. In contrast, with its soothing liquid timbre snaking a path through the grounds, melodious ripples emerged from the Qui Donne La Vie, a tributary of the nearby Crúme River. She had once overheard her papa tell her aunt Anna how insignificant the little river had been, remaining untitled for centuries. Until he had brought Coco’s mother, Sophia, here, and she had instantly christened it The Giver of Live. Appropriate, she had heard him add wistfully, for that was exactly what Sophia had been. Not just in the physical sense of bringing Coco into the world, but also in the bringing of life to the château; and to him.

She clenched her teeth now, as similarly to a song she thought she ought to remember, but couldn’t quite, the water’s melody transported her to a moment lost, a vague remembrance that refused to clarify itself, no matter how hard she concentrated. She had finally succumbed to her acceptance of the notions that had been crowding her thoughts for some time. Like the fact that even when on her own, she never really felt that way. That another walked with her, unseen yet sensed in her bones, and was here now, with her on this path that she had walked so often. Once, and only once, had she mentioned this to her papa, immediately regretting it as he dismissed such silliness; if she were to be feeling such a presence, he told her, it must surely be her late mother, watching over her. Coco was not convinced. What she was experiencing lately was different, and she had always believed that her mother’s spirit was with her anyway. It would be impossible not to feel the essence of Sophia De Rais in this place, where the legacy of her mother’s short and tragic life lived on. Through the broken man her papa had become, and through Coco’s own image; a constant reminder to Henri De Rais of what he had lost.

No, this presence had nothing to do with her mother. At times, it felt masculine, and at others, she could sense that it was profoundly feminine. Perhaps it was more than a single entity, which might explain the strength of it, so vivid that sometimes, as she lay in her bed, she could hardly bear to breathe or move her limbs as something she didn’t understand, and could never describe, brought a great fear to descend upon her. And yet, there were also times, like tonight, when she welcomed the feeling, longing to prove that it was more than just her imagination.  If only she could touch, taste or smell this thing that moved around her, breathing through her, close and almost tangible, yet still, so far from her physical and emotional grasp. An inexplicable thing that Coco, with her fierce secrecy, let harbour there, with her in whatever space she happened to fill, and at any given time.

As the intensity of her anger fell away, she moved on, heartbeat going down. Warm sweat turned cold on her skin as she reached a rusty gate that led down a stairway cut from the natural stone, and into a disused cellar. Not just the decrepit, slightly dangerous place that her papa had forbidden her to enter; this cellar was the gateway to something else. She was sure of it, her dreams were telling her so, growing less abstract over these last few months of school vacation, until she had all but convinced herself that whatever the presence was, it must certainly reside here. It was real, it was beckoning to her, and now, she needed to prove it.

Pausing to look all around before pulling back the gate and carefully descending, Coco walked towards the pitch black interior, the air, cold and heavy. She was not afraid. Eighteen and brazen with it, she was not only a striking sight to behold, she was tough too. The epitome of health and vitality, her body, as usual, sheathed in layers of dark silk. And even if she were to feel the fear, Coco would never own up to the fact. Grown from a tomboy child, to touch her body, was to touch solid, lithe muscle, the result of endless summers here, with only her papa for a playmate, filled with physical activities like playing football and tennis and golf and wrestling matches that Henri wouldn’t always let her win.

Tilting the flashlight high to shine in front of her now as she minded her footing on the steep steps, Coco descended into the darkness that moved around and behind her, the halo of light extending from her raised arm to frame her affecting features in soft sepia. When she reached the bottom, she set the flashlight on the floor, and tying her long black hair into a knot at the nape of her neck, adjusted her eyes to see in front of her; to identify this exact scene as it had appeared in her dreams; to put an end to the hide and seek games of a recurring image. That black, hooded bird, the trickster, ensnaring her curiosity with the same bewitching tease, and as tangible as the stagnant air of this cellar that made her breathing shallow and her heart beat speed up again.

Coco had also come here this evening to view the crypt of her ancestors, and in so doing, to shame her stubborn papa in his relentless lie that no such thing existed. That it was just an old wine store, long ago spoiled, nothing of interest, and not very safe. ‘You could get hurt. Stay out of there. I insist upon it.’ And of course, the more he forbade her, the more urgent her need to defy him became.

Once, she would have believed Henri of anything he would tell her; unconditionally. But on this, and other things, Coco was no longer sure. Her papa had lied to her about the cellar. He was changing in her eyes; as she was surely changing in his.


Inside the château, amid sumptuous though somewhat decaying antique splendour, Henri De Rais sat by an open fireplace, engrossed in the pages of a small, dense volume on his lap, an ancient French Grimoire, bound in calf-leather and gold-leaf. Coco’s father was a beautiful man, far more youthful looking than his forty-three years. And yet, to look into his dark eyes was to see the wisdom of a very old soul, and heartache so profound that the beholder might shudder with sadness. With unruly hair that fell across his veritable, serious expression, he carried on reading now, his attentive eye drawn to an incantation…

And thrice I hear thee, dark-winged harvester

Eater of souls, with thine hollow caw of malaise

And so caught up between the words, his brow furrowed, that even as his pretty sister-in-law, Anna, entered the room carrying a tray laden with coffee and biscuits, Henri did not tear his gaze away from the page before him.

‘To keep you going until dinner,’ she told him quietly, and with such tenderness, setting the tray down carefully beside him, ‘It is cold in here, Henri, you’ve let the fire go down.’

With a slight smile, his dark eyes swept momentarily in her direction, and sad for the pain of it, her heart lifted to a flutter despite herself, beating faster as it always did in his presence. Her hope was fleeting, as usual, for Anna knew from deep down in her bones that despite the gratitude for the help she had given to him since the death of his wife, her older and only sister, Sophia, Henri’s deep set, soft brown eyes would never really see her in the way that she willed him to. ‘I hadn’t noticed. And where is Coco?’ he asked, his gaze already returned to the open page of his book, ‘Shouldn’t she be packing now?’

Anna teased at the smouldering cinders with a long brass poker from the hearth before stepping back to straighten her rose silk blouse and tuck her short blonde hair neatly behind her ears. His sadness tormented her, the broken heart that he had so silently endured for all these years, never healing. This day was like every other, and it was all she could do to restrain herself from rushing to his side and flinging her arms around him.

‘She is in the garden, Henri, and it is done already, the packing. I helped her myself.’

As she hovered there, Henri paid scant attention as she watched him pour his coffee. Even that simple action filled her with compassion for him. Such a man should never be alone, should never have to eat, to drink, to sleep alone. And yet, he could never have it any other way. ‘Will you fetch her, Anna?’ he asked her quietly, ‘I would like to spend the evening with my daughter before she returns to school.’

For a moment, Anna brimmed to say something, a practiced, intimate declaration that she had longed to share with him for quite some time. But the moment passed, as her confidence did, and instead, she merely nodded her head and left the room, her leather pumps making no sound on the flagstoned floor as she went.


Below in the cellar, Coco was now covered in dust as she dragged heavy, filthy crates of old, spoiled wine to the side and overcome with excitement, tugged at the latch of a small door she uncovered. A rush of adrenalin was fizzling beneath her skin; she had been right all along, or rather, the messenger in her dreams had been.

There was a crypt here, a burial chamber, and leading to it, the crypt door now gave way to her persistent kicking at it. She crawled inside the small hollowed-out cavity, awkwardly moving more debris out of her way until she found what she was looking for, her flashlight shining on a coffin-sized concrete slab set into the floor.

Coco knelt down and leaned in closer, and using her sleeve to wipe thick grime from a brass plate that was set into the centre of the slab, she read the inscription with a breathless whisper:


Lonan De Rais, 1653 – 1743

While here entombed beneath his namesake, the dark winged harvester forever is bound, a lineage ad libitum, the dark days endeth


Intrigued and fired up in equal measures, she touched the cold metal, feeling each letter until the plate moved slightly and she dug her fingers underneath it. Using the torch to hammer away at it until the plate finally dislodged, Coco pulled it away to reveal a padlocked metal box set into the ground beneath it. Her breath quickened; she was reliving this moment for sure. Even the box seemed recognizable from her dreams. Grasping it tightly in the crook of her arm, she shuffled her body backwards and out of the claustrophobic chamber, fumbling around on the gravelled, dirt floor until she located a loose stone to break the small, rusty corroded lock. Striking it over and over until the box crumpled beneath the blows, and the lid fell open, she could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand up; something was inside it. Tucking the flashlight under her chin again, she carefully lifted a lumpy wad of folded fabric from the box, and Coco could hardly contain her excitement at the sight of what unfurled in her hands. Gently shaking it out into what looked like a very old blanket or shawl, she delicately held each top corner with her arms outstretched and marvelled at the images that she could just about make out, despite the dim light. So engrossed in her find, she did not see the black bird feathers that fell from the folds of the fabric as she shook it gently, nor did she notice them floating in slow motion to the dirt floor beneath her feet…



In that same, instantaneous moment, Henri, still seated in his study, suddenly sat forward, the grimoire falling to the floor, his dark eyes widening at first to then crease up, almost shut, as if he had just been engulfed by horrendous pain. Beads of sweat formed on his furrowed brow, his mouth opened wide as if to shout out a warning, though no sound escaped him. An image flashed before his eyes, a flickering profile of a man he had never met, yet had surely known; eyes, as black as Henri’s own, seared into his soul, burned into his soul as his mirror image smiled back at him. It was a wicked smile, filled with the promise of dread, and Henri began to shake, his body overtaken by an uncontrollable tremor that hurt from the inside out, and the coffee cup fell from his hand, the fine porcelain shattering into pieces at his feet…


Extract from Arkyne, Story of a Vampire     Caroline Farrell (c) 2016



The Librarian’s Cellar: Orla McAlinden Reviews ‘After the Lockout’ by Darran McCann

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A series of guest reviews on inspiring work, old and new: Orla McAlinden reviews After the Lockout by Darran McCann

Most debut authors could only dream of having a cover quote on their first novel from Hilary Mantel, and here’s what she has to say about After the Lockout: “A wonderful novel…deeply intelligent and self-aware…entertaining…” I’d have to agree with her, it’s all of those things.

The early chapters are set in the Montgomery Street brothel district of Dublin in 1917, in a city that is wracked with social and political strife. The “Lockout” of 1913 looms large in the past, when the commercial and manufacturing heart was torn out of the city’s working class by the ruthless crushing of a mass campaign of strike action against starvation wages and job insecurity. For a detailed fictional account of the Lockout, you can’t get better than James Plunkett’s “Strumpet City”, but McCann explains enough of the bare bones of the history to allow a reader to grasp the severity and the cruelty of the crushing of Dublin’s nascent Labour movement.

The remainder of the narrative then moves to the village of Madden in Armagh, whence the protagonist, Victor Lennon, has fled, 10 years previously, after the suicide of his mother, and the refusal of the local Catholic hierarchy to grant her a Christian burial. Victor is a socialist, a Marxist, a veteran of the Lockout and much more importantly as far as the almost exclusively Catholic population of Madden is concerned, a veteran of the Easter Rising of 12 months earlier and a hero of Irish Republicanism.

Is Victor going to find out that his idea of a socialist, secular republic doesn’t suit the notions of the orthodox Catholic population of Madden?

The male characters in this novel are well drawn and well realised. I particularly enjoyed the character of Bishop Stanislaus Benedict, who I was feared was going to be yet another in a long line of Irish Catholic Priests I have read recently, upon whose malevolent shoulders rests every ill in Ireland since the marriage of Aoife and Strongbow. Instead, he reveals himself as a very complex, well developed character, with his own history of suffering, and a large dollop of compassion, although administered severely, and tempered with the morals and mores of his time. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church is the villain in this novel, but the character of the Churchman himself is nuanced and sensitive.

There are really only three female characters, unless we count the deceased mother of Lennon, and I think it’s understandable, given the nature and the topic of the novel that there are more men than women. I like the put-upon housekeeper in the Parochial House, she’s bursting with authenticity. The contrast between the two other females is rather too black-and-white.

I learned a lot from this book, in a very enjoyable way. There is a plethora of fiction relating to the 1916 rising, and to the Civil War, but this is the first novel I have read dealing specifically with the period of ratcheting tension prior to the War of Independence. Although Victor sometimes speaks a lot of exposition, and occasionally speaks like a political pamphlet, I can’t think of any other way that so much political history and background could have been included in a work of fiction, and I know I benefitted from having certain elements of the backstory explicitly explained, even if it made the dialogue occasionally clunky.

Highly recommended.

Publisher details for After the Lockout Here


Orla McAlinden is an Irish writer and book fanatic. Her debut collection of short stories The Accidental Wife will be published by Sowilo Press, Philadelphia in August 2016 and her novel The Flight of the Wren was chosen for presentation at the Greenbean Novel Fair, 2016. Orla is the recipient of the Cecil Day Lewis Emerging Writers Bursary. and blogs about books and writing at




The Librarian’s Cellar: Caroline Finnerty Reviews ‘The Fallout’ by Margaret Scott

The Fallout

A series of guest reviews on inspiring work, old and new. In the second of the series, Caroline Finnerty reviews The Fallout by Margaret Scott.


We usually hear the term ‘The Fallout’ in reference to the aftermath of the economic crash, however the clever title of Margaret Scott’s second novel, deals with the fallout amongst a group of colleagues in fictional bank DKB during the early years of the global financial meltdown.

The story opens with the arrival of two registered letters: one is addressed to Declan the Managing Director and the other to Geraldine the HR director. We are left in the dark as to the contents of those letters but soon it is revealed that Olivia, a long-serving member of staff, walked out of her job one day. We are left to guess what drove Olivia to leave in such an abrupt manner and the story unfolds through reporter style as Olivia’s colleagues are interviewed by the HR department to get to the bottom of what really happened.

Scott really captures the cutthroat corporate environment, the every man/woman for themselves attitude that can often prevail in these types of workplaces. She also shines the spotlight on the pressure and the day-to-day juggling that mothers in particular can face when they return to the workplace.

This is a book about the lives of ordinary people affected by the economic crisis. There are the stories of the people working all hours to pay negative-equity laden mortgages, afraid to say no to an increasing workload in case they find themselves made redundant. It also touches on the ego-crisis of a once successful, flashy, alpha-male Gavin, who reluctantly finds himself in the position of stay-at-home dad as his wife Leona takes on the mantle of breadwinner. Or take Mary, a loyal employee who has been overlooked for promotion in the past and now has a bone to pick. Is it fair that her colleagues who are mothers get to leave early to collect their children, yet because she is childless, she is expected to stay late and pick up the pieces?

Scott cleverly structures the story so that we don’t find out what actually happened to Olivia and the contents of the two registered letters until the very end. And dare I say it but is the ending left open for a potential sequel?

To quote the character of Leona, “It takes a certain kind of woman, with a certain drive and focus, to be able to maintain the same level of career after she’s had children, to the one she had before children.” This is the theme that is debated at the heart of this novel – can us women really have it all?


Publisher details on The Fallout Here

Caroline Finnerty is the author of the books ‘In a Moment’,  ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ‘Into The Night Sky’ and ‘My Sister’s Child’. She has also had the pleasure of compiling ‘If I was A Child Again’, a non-fiction collection of stories from some of Ireland’s best writers, journalists and TV personalties, with all royalties being donated to Barnardos.  


The Librarian’s Cellar: Eoin McNamee reviews ‘The Loney’ by Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney

A series of guest reviews on inspiring work, old and new. In the first of the series, Eoin McNamee reviews The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley


It could be Bunyan. A small group of men and women sets out into the wilderness – in this case the untracked tidal flats of the Loney and its rank hinterland. They see themselves as pilgrims, God-haunted. They are in search of an old conformity, the stark rites of the early church. A test of their piety will be a cure for one of their number, the dumbstruck teenager Hannay.

It is the 20th century, but the Loney is immune to the passage of time. “Time didn’t leak away as it should. It collected as the black water did on the marshes and remained and stagnated in the same way.” The sense of place is absolute. Against the Christian travellers are pitted older liturgies. Foreboding grows. The party has rented the crumbling Moorings for its stay. The damp creeps up the walls. An evil wind sucks the heat out of the chimney.

The Loney is narrated by Hannay’s teenage brother, nicknamed Tonto by their shepherd priest, Fr Bernard. The parents are Mummer and Farther. Mummer pits the group against the solid and sane Fr Bernard, invoking the spirit of their previous mentor, Fr Wilfred, who shared Mummer’s rigour.

The story grows around you, less a narration than a cold and godless beckoning. A grotesque parody of the crucifixion is found in the woods. A hidden room is uncovered in the Moorings, a cell in which it appears that a child has been held. Tonto and Hannay cross the treacherous sands to Thessaly, a dark and foetid island mansion, and find a pale girl heavy with child and cared for with creepy solicitude by a spivvish towny couple.

A fetish jar is broken – a plastic Jesus, nail clippings, urine among its rancid contents. The jar is designed to protect the Moorings from evil spirits.

The breaking of the spell is followed by a visit from the Pace Eggers, local mummers, their faces hidden behind masks. The old gods do not show themselves readily, but the door has been opened to their power.

Into darkness

Mummer is messianic, looking for the wrong sins in the wrong place. She is devoted to the point of being unhinged, and you fear for the mute Hannay. The rite of tenebrae is performed in an ancient church, the ceremonial “increments of darkness” shadowing the faithful’s journey towards the unspeakable. The church is decorated with medieval Doom paintings and depictions of the seven deadly sins.

But the sins that challenge here are not those of gluttony or concupiscence but rather lack of faith, of despair.

Gothic textures accrue. There is an albino cat , a pig’s heart studded with nails, a sheep’s skull, “the white worm of the optic nerve still attached”

An unwholesome fecundity pervades the novel. Fr Bernard is the only one who seems immune to the airs of the Loney and to Mummer’s narrow vision. But solid good sense is not enough to avert ghastly events.

Hannay is more attuned to the import of the place than his brother. He is fascinated with the pregnant girl and her unborn child, and perhaps senses the implications of her presence for the child and for himself.

He has his own idiom of objects. He produces a plastic dinosaur to show that he is sorry, and a jar of nails to indicate one of his frequent headaches.

The brothers uncover a mangy cache of taxidermist’s specimens in a shed. Hannay chooses six stuffed rats as his trove.

Ancient images

The Loney is part of an English Gothic tradition running from the nuanced dread in Wilkie Collins to the ersatz satanic menace in Dennis Wheatley. There is an uncovering of ancient lore, powerful pre-Saxon forces lurking beneath the surface. The old rites are priapic and amoral. There is a need for runes and charms of warding.

Andrew Michael Hurley makes the tradition his own. The writing is brilliantly evocative, from the Tridentine cadences of the congregation’s prayer-bound speech to his perfect eye for the visceral detail.

He is not above throwing in a piece of utilitarian prose to keep things moving, as if worried that the novel will get bogged down in the density of the language and imagery, although there’s little fear of it. Hurley shows genre skill in the framing episodes at the beginning and end.

There is an argument that this crafting isn’t needed, the nudging towards the mainstream, that there is enough momentum in the prose as it stands.

But Hurley can’t be faulted for this. The Loney was first published by the specialist supernatural/ horror press, Tarturus, and has deservedly attracted a wide audience.

In the end, the ungodly will not be denied, although the nature of their victory is surprising. Mummer’s burning piety is no match for the devices of the impure. Fr Bernard’s workaday Christianity would have served her better. The virtuous are undone, blinded by their own certainty. Once more the Devil rides out.


Publisher details on The Loney here.

This review first appeared in The Irish Times. Eoin McNamee  is the author of The Blue Trilogy and Resurrection Man. He has also written a trilogy of books for children; The Navigator, City of Time and The Frost Child.

The Librarian’s Cellar: Five Favourite Fairy ‘ish’ tales for Adults!

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“For those who immerse themselves in what the fairy tale has to communicate, it becomes a deep, quiet pool which at first seems to reflect only our own image; but behind it we soon discover the inner turmoils of our soul – its depth, and ways to gain peace within ourselves and with the world, which is the reward of our struggles.”

Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment: The Meanings and Importance of Fairy Tales


There is nothing that delights me more than opening a beautifully crafted book of fairy, myth, legend, horror or supernatural theme, complete with illustrations.  Though many of the classics have been sanitized over the years, the best of them still retain that undercurrent of darkness to them. Whatever the genre, be it a tale of horror, parable, allegory, ode or omen, all, I believe, can have a delightful appeal to adults. Here are five of my favourites. Go explore!


The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman. Illustrations by Chris Riddell



Twisted Fairy Tales  by Maura McHugh. Illustrations by Jane Laurie



The Beach at Night by Elena Ferrante. Translated by Ann Goldstein. Illustrations by Mara Cerri



The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger



Tales of the Macabre by Edgar Allan Poe.

Illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe [My reason for selecting this version!]







Writers and Authors Feature Interview

Many thanks to Writers and Authors for this recent feature interview


What genre do you write and why?

I write mostly in the horror/supernatural genre, but also in dramatic fiction. I am a screenwriter and filmmaker too, which allows me the freedom to experiment in different genres and formats of storytelling, so in terms of creativity, I have many structures to imagine and develop stories.

Tell us about your latest book.

‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ is my debut novel and is a supernatural tale of myth and magic. It is set mostly in Ireland on the Aran Island of Inis Mor, where Caleb Flaherty encounters the beautiful and mysterious French girl, Coco de Rais, only to discover that she has unwittingly unleashed a daemon vampire, Lucius. Drawn together from vastly different lives and finding themselves in mortal danger, the lovers must accept and utilize the power they have each inherited through their strange and magical lineage.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I learned a lot through the process, particularly in terms of the amount of discipline and commitment that is necessary to apply to the long form of novel writing. The story meandered between a screenplay and a novel for a number of years, and eventually, to force myself to finish it, I began to post sample chapters on my blog. I received some very helpful feedback from supportive readers and it really spurred me on to finish it. The sheer satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that I felt on ‘having written’ a novel was also rather unexpected!

Who are your favourite authors?

I have so many, so perhaps I’ll just list the ones I find inspirational in terms of writing: Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Ann Rice, Alice Hoffman, Susan Hill, Neil Gaiman, and lately, David Mitchell and Audrey Niffenegger.

What’s your favourite quote about writing/for writers?

One of my favourites is from Anne Lamott: “When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” From Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

I’m in favour of any method that enables an author to get their work out there. I understand how difficult it is for a lot of publishing houses, they simply don’t have the resources to publish every good book that comes their way, so authors have a right to look at alternative paths to publishing. I think people’s attitudes have changed for the better in regard to self-publishing in the last while. Sure, there are works out there that perhaps don’t meet the standard required, but overall, I think the vast majority of Indie Authors are sound, talented people with voices and stories that deserve a platform. I’ve been a librarian for almost 20 years, so I also understand that readers will find the works that speak to them, and whether that is fantasy, horror, crime, dystopian, erotica, western, romance, high-brow literature, classics or whatever else, taste is taste and there is an author out there to meet that need. Self-publishing bridges many gap, particularly with ebooks, supplying reading material that is cheaper and in abundance, and that means that more books are read, and more people are reading. Who can argue with that?

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Giving yourself permission to daydream, to imagine and to live in the fantastical worlds with the magnificent characters that exist inside your head!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Be brave. Write what you want to write. Write what you want to read. Look for feedback from people you trust and admire. Take the negative in your stride, don’t respond to it. Save your energy and embrace only the constructive criticism. Don’t assume you are better than anyone else. Don’t assume you are not as good as anyone else; you are unique, so strive to express your work in your own voice. Take inspiration from your own experience. Don’t try to imitate others. Keep at it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I’m always delighted to connect with readers.

I have a website and blog:

I’m also on Facebook:

And Twitter: @CarolineAuthor

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Links to purchase ‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ can be found here: