The Writing Life (an Interview with Sarah Webb)

The wonderful Sarah Webb recently interviewed me about Resonance, and my writing in general:

Celine, can you tell us about your latest book and where the idea came from?

Resonance coverResonance is a gothic mix of sci/fi and supernatural, set in 1890’s Ireland. It follows two separate sets of friends as they try to build lives for themselves in a harsh and uncaring world.

Seventeen-year-old seamstress Tina, her suitor Joe, and an American magician called Harry, are determined to carve out a future for themselves, despite the hardships of the Dublin tenements they inhabit, and the insecurities of the theatre where they earn a living. However, a trio of ruthless immortals, Cornelius, Vincent and Raquel, have other plans for them. The immortals know they cannot survive much longer; not unless they find food for the angel they have trapped in the dungeons of their remote stately home. Tina, Harry and Joe may be just the food the angel needs, and the immortals won’t hesitate to use them up in order to eke out another few centuries of life.

The idea for this book grew, as most of my books do, from my wanting to explore a particular idea to its maximum: what is it that keeps human beings going? How is it that some people manage to get joy and fulfillment from life on their own terms – perhaps despite illness or adversity or lack of social acceptance – while others retreat or give up or fade away? Also what does it really mean to love someone? What kind of actions are statements of true love, as opposed to acts of possessiveness or control?

These philosophical questions grew for me into a pretty exciting, dark adventure featuring immortal pirates, captured angels, best friends, broken hearts and a supernaturally attuned young woman. (I see no point writing a philosophical story if it’s boring.)

How long did it take you to write?

I think the first draft took me two years. Then I spent approximately four more years slicing it down and down and down from its original unwieldy 170k words to the slim trim volume it is now.

How did you get your first book published? Was it difficult?

Read remainder of interview here


Australians interested in reading Resonance can buy it from Allen&Unwin

Non-Aussies can buy it from The O’Brien Press

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Queen of Irish Gothic Fiction: Review of Resonance

My apprenticeship as a butcher has been taking up so much of my life that I’ve not been able to put much time into promoting the new book, so I’m extra grateful to all who have tweeted and blogged about Resonance. Thank you!

One of my favorite reviews so far is from The Madwoman in the Attic, which you can read below. (Thank you, Lisa, for giving me permission to reproduce it here.) :

resonanceIRECeline Kiernan is a writer I simply cannot recommend enough, I love her writing so much that I am struggling to write this review but here goes. Firstly this book combines gothic, historical, fantasy and horror in a way that is completely unique. Secondly the two settings; a gothic mansion in the Irish countryside and the narrow streets of inner city 1890s Dublin are brilliantly realised, Kiernan’s use of dialogue and wonderful , rich, descriptive prose are a real treat. Thirdly Kiernan really knows how to create amazing, unique and interesting characters.

If that wasn’t enough to get you racing off to the shops to buy this book perhaps the plot will hook you. The story focuses on two groups of friends; Tina a seamstress in a Dublin theatre, who works for the aging diva Ursula Lyndon, her suitor Joe who works several jobs trying to raise money for a future with Tina and Harry a young American magician who has arrived in Dublin looking for work (Actually a young Harry Houdini). The three friends along with Ms Lyndon soon catch the attention of Vincent and Cornelius who have arrived at the theatre to audition players to perform at their country house. In reality Vincent and Cornelius live at Fargeal Manor and have lived there for centuries with Raquel and her children and an assortment of retainers and villagers. They have clung to life and their youthful looks by feeding from the light of an “angel” locked beneath the manor house but they and the angel are growing weak and what the men seek are performers who will feed the angel and sustain them. Tina, Joe and Harry soon realise that something is not right and set out to release the angel but have no idea of the consequences.

This is a dark tale asking deep questions about the existence of God and the meaning of life and friendship. It will intrigue fans and new readers alike and is a must if you are a fan of Dracula or The Picture of Dorian Grey. With this book Kiernan has absolutely become the Queen of Irish Gothic Fiction.


Thanks again, Lisa!

Australians interested in reading Resonance can buy it from Allen&Unwin

Non-Aussies can buy it from The O’Brien Press

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Putting the world in WorldCon

Originally posted on עוד דף אחד ודי:

Look! It’s a post in English!

Mary Robinette Kowal linked to this statistical analysis of Hugo winners past, posted by Aidan Walsh:

At the end of which, Aidan commented: “Nationality really surprised me. Unfortunately I expected women to be poorly represented, but I didn’t realise how overwhelmingly American it was. (maybe naivety on my part!)

And Mary commented: “Wow. We really need more world in WorldCon.

And I rolled my eyes.

Yes, there is an American bias in the Hugo awards. There is an American bias at cons in general. In fact I would argue that Science Fiction*, as we think of it today, is at its core an American genre. Other cultures and other languages contributed to the foundation of Science Fiction, and I do not downplay the importance of creators such as Jules Verne, Karel Čapek or Stanisław Lem. But the current fandom culture represented at cons, especially those cons more inclusive of film…

View original 1,343 more words

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Goodreads Giveaway: Resonance & Full Moorehawke Trilogy

Resonance by Celine Kiernan

To celebrate the imminent release of Resonance in AUS/NZ and Ireland, we’re doing a goodreads giveaway of Resonance and of the entire Moorehawke Trilogy. Just click here and enter :D

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Resonance Book Plate

Hi guys! I’ve finished drawing up the Resonance bookplates for my Australian publishers (so that I can ‘sign’ copies of Resonance without – you know – getting on a plane or burdening fed-ex too much) But I can’t decide what way to frame them for printing out.I know this seems like a trivial thing, but I think the framing makes all the difference to how the final artwork looks.  Help me out here, have a look at my three options:

(go to next page for artwork)

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Some old style animation (this is what’s been keeping me quiet)

click for high res version

Hi guys,

I know I’ve been terribly quiet here for a while (though you can still catch me on twitter occasionally) I was actually animating again for a while.  I thought I’d share a little scene so you can see what I’ve been up to (click the gif to see it full res)

As you can see this is old style animation, fully drawn by hand frame by frame just like when I was a baby-animator. They just don’t make them like this any more and it’s been a real thrill to be pulled out of mothballs to help out.

(The project is City of Roses, a beautiful short by Andrew Kavanagh, which is being made with the support of Frameworks here in Ireland. (see these links if you’d like to keep up with its progress: CITY OF ROSES FACEBOOK  & CITY OF ROSES TWITTER)

I was thinking I might like to do a few wee animated gifs like this for Resonance when it comes out in April. It’s going to be a busy year though (my butcher’s apprenticeship starts this week, and I need to finish writing & illustrating Begone the Raggedy Witches) so I make no promises!

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Resonance cover, previews and AUS/IRE/UK release dates!

Resonance coverLet’s just sit and look at this lovely thing for a while, shall we?

There will be sparkles apparently. The girl, the moth, the shards of ice will all shimmer slightly when you turn them to the light. (and, of course, my illustrations are being used as dinkuses) Oh, I cannot wait to hold this creature in my hands.

Release date for AUS/IRE/UK is April 2015, and she’s already available for preorder from Amazon with the following blurb:

What does it mean to be alive? What is it worth to stay alive?

Ireland, 1890: two ruthless immortals prowl the theatre district in search of food for their ‘Angel’. Ancient, pitiless and caring for none but their own twisted family, they will stop at nothing to maintain their grip on life.

A seamstress, the young man who loves her and a penniless American magician soon find themselves imprisoned in a snow-bound country estate, the latest additions to the family’s warped collection. Here, they are nothing but food, nothing but entertainment, and soon they will be nothing at all.

Many miles from their homes and fighting for survival, Tina, Joe and Harry will come to understand that far more is at stake than their lives


This baby has been a long time in the works, and there are little bits and pieces all over the net. The following three are my favorites. I hope you enjoy them:

Under the Ice, a short section from one of the Vincent POV chapters (note this is an unedited version)

The Risk of Tuppence (originally published  in the Irish Independent Christmas Supplement 2009) a short story written from Joe’s POV. Set 6 or so years before the book

Chapter One: The Fading God (note this is an unedited version) The opening of the book and one of the Cornelius POV chapters

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