Interview with Author Patricia Lennan
PATRICIA LENNAN lives on the Isle of Anglesey, known in Welsh as Ynys Môn, North Wales. Her background has been in health and education mainly, but she did start training as a journalist after college. However after travelling and living abroad for some years she became involved in natural health care and wrote articles for journals and magazines as well as teaching. During this time she published a non-fiction book, a local magazine and several short stories but always had a deep desire to complete a novel, but life often got in the way.
Living on Anglesey she discovered a great interest in local history. Wales is a land steeped in mystery and legend, the beautiful landscape is scattered with wondrous ancient buildings and castles. Many artists and writers have been inspired by this and the secrets it holds. She came here for a weekend and have lived here for thirty seven years. Her mother was Welsh and researching her own family history has been fascinating, leading her to uncover some of her family’s secrets. She got married here, although now she is divorced, and brought up two children who have now returned to live on the Island.
Patricia belongs to a local writing group and help to organise ‘The Anglesey Writing Festival,’ which attracts writers and tutors from many areas and offers a range of workshops to suit the beginner or experienced writer.
Ramona: Tell me more about your latest book
My historical novel ‘Owl at Midnight’ was inspired by both family history and local Welsh history. It tells a story of Gwenllian, the only daughter of the last (native) Prince of Wales, Llewelyn ap Gruffudd. Gwenllian was born in 1282 and after her father was killed by the order of King Edward 1st of England she was taken, at the age of one, to a convent in Lincolnshire. Very little is known about her life but I have tried to construct a story which expands from the day to day life in the convent to sweep in extraordinary events of the 13th century and the mystery of some of the ancient tales and legends which surround her and the Celtic heartland of Wales.
Ramona: What was the most challenging aspect of writing?
Writing, no matter how much one loves it, is always a challenge, especially when writing a historical novel. Researching the facts is a long process but the most difficult challenge I feel is knowing quite how to balance the facts and the fiction. The historical framework of course needs to be accurate, as do the small details of everyday life, in this case in the 13th century. However no one can be sure of every detail or the thoughts and feelings of the characters, this is where the writer uses imagination and paints their own picture in words.
Ramona: What motivated you to become an author?
From an early age I always wanted to write, poems, stories, articles. I really can’t remember what drove me initially as no one in my family really had any interest in writing, although they always encouraged me. My father was a banker and my mother a nurse, both much more practical and down to earth than me. I always had an instinct to discover secrets or interesting facts. Whenever I could I would write but as I grew up life was always busy. Over the years, as I mentioned previously, I wrote articles, short stories and produced a local magazine but never seemed to have the time to complete a novel with work and family commitments. I realised several years ago that if I didn’t get on with it my epitaph would read ‘Pity she never wrote that novel!’
Ramona: What brought you to write your books?
I only have this one novel and a non-fiction book published, but I am currently working on a second novel set in AD 60-61 after the Roman invasion of Anglesey. I hope to finish this by spring of 2020. Again there is a lot of research to do.
Ramona: What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
As a teenager I loved reading Edna O’ Brien and other Irish writers, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney. I like historical books with a hint of mystery and have enjoyed Kate Mosse, Barbara Erskine, Diana Gabaldon. Sharon Penman has written some excellent novels based on Welsh history. I admire Bernard Cornwall, Ken Follett, Hilary Mantel, Alison Weir and Phillip Gregory for their interesting and well researched novels. There are so many inspiring historical and contemporary authors to mention here I think.
Ramona: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
If you are an aspiring writer I would say, don’t give up if it is your passion. There may always be someone more successful than you and always someone much less so but what you have to say is unique, have confidence in your own voice and let it be heard.
Visit Patricia Lennan book links:-
Owl at Midnight can be found on Amazon or ordered from ‘Little Knoll Press.’ It is also in some branches of Waterstones (UK) and is sold through the Welsh Books Council in shops and historical buildings in Wales.
Publication date: 16th November 2017
Total number of pages: 352 pages