Sunday, June 16, 2013

Featured Author: Niamh Clune

And now for something completely different...I haven't featured a children's book before, but today I'm happy to be talking to Niamh Clune about her children's book series PA Dug & Rosie In The Garden: Rosie Wears Her Wellingtons, Wollee The Worm, and Biddle The Bee, published by Plum Tree Books.

About the book:

Everything in the garden serves a purpose including Wollee The Worm who brings food to our table!

Interview with Niamh Clune:

Niamh, you're CEO & Founder at Plum Tree Books and Art. Tell us about Plum Tree Books.

Plum Tree Books is committed to finding rare and exciting new talents in the fields of art, literature, and poetry and combining these mediums in new, exciting ways. We are focusing on children's books with a message, poetry, and a few exceptional, quirky novels. We also offer services to help others bring their e-books to fruition.

Think of us as an on-line group of modern-day Bohemians ~ artists inspiring, nurturing, supporting and promoting each other and raising the barre. Our poetry is often subversive, and I will be publishing some very exciting new poets soon. Such creative gatherings have always existed as breeding grounds for excellence and inspiration. In fact, movements are born from them. Ours is a virtual gathering. What's essential is a genuine sincerity, and a real appreciation of each other's genius.

Where did you get the idea for the Pa Dug & Rosie In The Garden series?

These little books were inspired by my granddaughter, Siolfor Rose (old English spelling for Silver). She is inquisitive, funny, spirited, very intelligent and very mischievous. Siolfor-Rose was two when I began this project. She is three now and has grown with the books, as they have evolved to keep pace with her!

Tell us about the books.

At the time, I was working with artist and author Marta Pelrine Bacon doing various projects for Plum Tree Books. I asked her if she would do the drawings in her inimitable black and white style. I wanted only one element on the page to have a colour. I felt this would help stimulate a child's memory. Children remember a red bow or a yellow watering can or pink or red wellies (Wellington Boots). In fact, these details seem very important to a small child ~ the beginnings of how s/he constructs a psychological sense of personhood: "I like this, I don't like this or that. I choose this, I don't choose that!"

I am a Doctor of Psychotherapy specialising in The Imaginal Mind, but I have always been a writer. I began writing poetry when I was 12 to escape the horror of my own childhood. I have been writing since ~ everything from novels, Orange Petals in a Storm, to The Coming Of The Feminine Christ, which is about awakening the heart! It isn't religious, but a spiritual psychology.

As I entered nana land, I was amazed at how delighted I was to be led and guided by my beautiful granddaughter. I ventured back into the world of faeries, magic and the pure delight of minute-by-minute discovery. These days, I write about the magic of very ordinary things ~ wellies, worms, bees, sunshine, rain, emotions!

I have a special relationship with Siolfor- Rose. She is very much like me: strong-willed and determined. My Rosie character is based on her.

I wrote the books all in rhyme as it is so much fun. I find that teaching and learning something is always more effective if it is a light and happy experience. These little books deliver a message about the importance of nature and how amazing it is. Rhyme helps children develop a freedom with language. It stimulates an enjoyment of words. Children love onomatopoeia.

I decided on two series in particular. The first is the Rosie series - how everything in the garden serves a purpose. I think it important for children to be aware of nature. My Siolfor-Rose loves going into the garden with her Papa Doug. Doug is Canadian and loves everything to do with nature. His background is in agriculture, so he knows soil science. I decided this would be a great combination: rhyme, story-telling about the magic of the ordinary, coupled with beautiful art and basic garden science. What a learning experience for a small child!

In the first of the Rosie series, we are introduced to Rosie and Papa Dug, and we realise that even when it is raining, everything is a celebration. Wearing wellies solves all problems to do with splashing in the mud and having fun whilst being able to help Pa Dug work in the garden. Wellingtons serve a very good purpose!

In the second story, we meet Wollee The Worm and learn how the worm brings food to the table. Rosie doesn't believe Papa Dug at first:

But standing firm, she shook her head, 
“Worm’s cannot do what you’ve just said. 
Mummy brings the food to table. 
Mummy, not the worm, is able.”

Rosie soon discovers that the worm serves a very good purpose too, as it does help Mummy bring food to the table!

The next in the series is Biddle The Bee, coming soon!

In another series, I am tackling the subject of helping children with their emotions. I have two more books on their way and will let you know when they are ready too!

The books can be bought directly from our website. They are not yet available from Amazon.

Where’s home for you?

I am Irish, originally from Co. Clare in Ireland, but I live just outside London.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

I live beside Hampton Court Palace. It was built by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514. But when he fell foul of dear old Henry V111, Henry gave the palace to Ann Boleyn. We all know what happened to both Wolsey and to Ann. Her ghost is said to roam the ancient corridors of Hampton Court. Many tourists have claimed to have seen her, and of course, the Palace makes much of this as a tourist attraction. When I take my granddaughter for a walk, we pass the palace almost daily. She always asks about whether the princess still lives there or not. The architecture alone is enough to stimulate the imagination, let alone its bloody history saturated in political intrigue. These days, it is a very friendly place with beautiful extensive grounds bordering on a huge deer park and situated on the banks of the River Thames ~ such a great location for the royal party to hunt and travel to by barge.

It sounds lovely, as does your series. Please come back and tell us more!

About the author:

Niamh is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm and Exaltation of a Rose, which is soon to be released. She also penned The Coming of the Feminine Christ ~ an in depth spiritual/ psychological journey into ancient mythology, prophecy and personal experience. Dr. Niamh Clune worked in Africa for Oxfam and UNICEF in her career as a psychotherapist. She is the founder of Plum Tree Books, an award-winning social entrepreneur, an environmental campaigner, and a singer/songwriter.

Website | Blog | Facebook--for poetry and comment | for news about products on facebook  |
for Niamh Clune on Facebook | Twitter Niamh, Plum Tree Books

Buy links:
Plum Tree Books | Amazon link for Niamh Clune: Orange Petals In A Storm