Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gold top ten in the Book Bag

It is always a great lift when you book gets a bit of recognition and I am absolutely delighted that the Book Bag has chosen it as one of their top ten for 2016.


This is what the reviewer says about it. What is so rewarding about this review is how well the reviewer got into the minds of my characters.

Twins Starn and Esper are growing up in a world made dark and silent by massive volcanic explosions. Ash now covers the planet and every aspect of life is controlled by the government, policed by the strict, heavy-handed Sagittars. They long for sunshine, fresh air and the freedom of a life only vaguely remembered by a few. But a game of dares leads them to discover an ancient book written by their great-great aunt, filled with strange writing and a treasure map. This propels them headlong into a journey across the darkened skies in a hand-built glider, in search of the gold that will vastly improve their lives. What they find there is a hidden world; one left behind when the volcanoes exploded. The revelation of the gold is not at all what they thought it would be, and is a discovery that could expose the governments' lies and save a dying planet. 

With exceptional crafting and a delicate hand, Mills has created a portrait of an unnerving future world while environmental calamity has stripped all light, save from that that exists in the lives of two young boys. Through their dreams, imagination and daring, the reader is taken on a marvellous journey. Gripping and compelling, the boys venture from a world of darkness, regulation enforced by fear and mere survival to one of light, possibility, growth and freedom. The juxtaposition of the two is explored and balanced perfectly through use rhythm and cadence in the text. The use and invention, or rather evolution of language plays both on myths and legends of old as well as a contemporary understanding of how words and communication change in ever-changing times. 

The characters are tangible and textural and the relations ring true. Starn and Esper are two sides of the same coin, and must follow their own wisdom and hearts while working together creating a wonderful and moving dichotomy. When one twin loses all memory, we see the struggle of the other to regain a sense of grounding and stability in this brave new world; something he can only do with the help of the other, creating a powerful statement about the true nature of inter-dependency. And while there are environmental and social messages in the story, these take a back seat to the purpose of the tale; an imaginative and wondrous adventure in the vein of such classics as Treasure Island and The Swiss Family Robinson. Never too heavy or dark and packed with adventure, it is interspersed with humour and child-like wonder. It is exciting, dramatic and filled with nuance and beauty. Written with clarity, compassion and purpose, Gold is open enough to allow the reader to fulling engage; come to his or her own conclusions; paint his or her own pictures in the realms of imagination. An amazing story, filled with life, Gold is a story to be treasured. This book simply sings!

 If you want to see the other books chosen in this list, click on the following link:

Top Ten Teens Books for 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

Crannog 42

The summer issue of Crannóg has just been published and another fine publication it is too. As always there is a very strong selection of poetry and prose from  Irish and international writers, including Jean Tuomey, Lisa C.Taylor and Enda Coyle-Greene. The wonderful cover image by Dolores Lyne carries its own story as it features the home of self-taught marine biologist Maude Delap who was the first to succeed in breeding jellyfish in her home-made laboratory on Valentia Island in the 1890s. Submissions for the autumn issue will be accepted throughout the month of July.  For more information, see  

Here is one of my favourites by Enda Coyle-Greene. Her most recent  poetry collection was Map of the Last (Dedalus, 2013)

Indigo, Electric, Baby 
The station slips through
static, but I know

he’s blue, that fear gorm
on the radio;

I know to get it wrong
in the Irish tongue

conflates an alias
the Devil might have 

sweltered under back in days
before religion gripped.

He’s playing music 
named with a curious plural

and though I’m thirteen,
fourteen maybe, tuned

to cerulean, cyan,
cobalt, navy, manganese,

indigo, electric, baby –
colours I could touch

with a brush
slurred by water,

or feed to a needle
through its always-open eye –

I know blue can be black
as the dust-cut deal

he sealed by dying
daylight in his song.

I know blue is a mood
no one chooses,                                                                         

 how it’s composed
of bass rise, treble fall,

I know too
that what you call the shade

won’t matter,
it will always call.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Live Encounters July Issue

Here is the link to the July issue of Live Encounters. Some wonderful poetry by Eileen Casey, Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Terry McDonagh and many others. The choice of cover by Mark Ulyseas was an inspired one as my dear sister, who died recently, loved butterflies.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Here it is: Gold

Here it is: my first novel for children 9-12 years old. Published by Little Island, the stunning cover is by Lauren O Neill who has just won the CBI awards for her illustrations of Gulliver. 

Her artwork is a perfect match for my story of twins, Starn and Esper who live in a world destroyed by volcanic eruptions. Until one day they find a book and the adventures begin.
The book will be launched by Alan McMonagle in Dubray Books,  Galway on 30 June at 6.30pm.

There will also be a Dublin Grand Little Island Summer-Party-cum-Triple-Launch (of The Best Medicine, Gold and Wherever it is Summer) celebration with Christine Hamill and Tamara on 6th July at 6pm.
The venue is The Glasshouse, which is a garden room at the back of House, a restaurant/bar in a fine Georgian building on Lower Leeson Street, a few minutes’ walk from St Stephen’s Green. So SAVE THESE DATES.