Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I, Leona O’Neill, weary mother-of-four from Derry, am now officially a card-carrying ‘indie author’.
I have released my own book called Emerald Witch, an epic Irish urban fairytale based in Derry, Donegal and Dublin. It’s a bit of a departure from writing about nappies and toddler tantrums on here but that’s how I like to roll.
It took me two years to write. I wrote at night while a baby slept on my shoulder. I wrote during the day while a toddler re-enacted dramatic Thomas the Tank Engine crash catastrophes at my feet. I wrote in between breaking up squabbles between my two older boys and I wrote in the windows of opportunity between homeworks and making dinner. I wrote into the small hours and early in the morning before the kids woke up.
Here’s a taster of what it’s about.
If Amelia Morgan’s life were a colour it would be positively beige. Her love life is as real as the cheap plastic heart her boyfriend gave her for Valentine’s Day, nothing of note has ever happened in the sleepy seaside town where she lives with her eccentric grandmother and she is a level-seven hypochondriac.
Things pick up though, before her 18th birthday, when her boyfriend drops off the face of the earth, the rate of human combustion in the town goes stellar and a maniacal stranger purporting to be her long-lost father starts hanging around town melting people.
It turns out Amelia Morgan is a witch, hidden in wild and windy Donegal by her mother’s people when she was just a baby. She is daughter to a mad man and granddaughter to the ancient Celtic Goddess of war, death and destruction ­­– the Morrigan.
As she comes of age the magical ties that bind the powers within her unravel, along with deep, dark family secrets. As her world implodes a war erupts within her between good and very, very bad. She leaves the beige-coloured existence behind to fight a battle of epic proportions - encountering headless horsemen, dark angels, power-crazed goddesses and her deadbeat Dad who requires her blood to raise his corpse mother from the grave.
She discovers magical worlds - under the streets of Dublin, under the Emerald Lake, beneath the Emerald Forest and races of ancient Irish people who she must lead out of the darkness the Morrigan spreads across the land.
No one said being a teenager was easy.
Writing has always been my release. I can’t tell you how many times I have put the world to rights in my own head through this column.
I started writing my book as my father began to lose his brave battle with cancer in 2009. I was so overcome and overwhelmed by grief as the cancer slowly took him away from us that I needed to escape to somewhere. Not physically escape, I needed somewhere that my mind could go that didn’t revolve around cancer, hospital visits, devastation and despair. So when I came home in the evenings from visiting him in the Hospice I began to write.
And as my father lay in bed in the Hospice I told him of the characters that had jumped into my head and the twists and turns of my story. He told me the stories he was told as a child, ancient Irish myths full of wonder and magic. And for a time we forgot – about the beeping machines, the medication, the nurses and the place we had found ourselves in on our journey in life.
And he said I should write it.
And I did.
And I dedicated it to him. My guiding light.

Emerald Witch is now available to order in hardback from http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/emerald-witch/18930532

It is also available in ebook format...
For Kindle UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007C3QKU2
Kindle US http://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Witch-ebook/dp/B007C3QKU2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1330121511&sr=8-3
And for iPad, Nook, PC, Mac etc http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/emerald-witch/18908803