Fionnuala Kearney pens a personal letter to her creative side.

Dear Gene,

I’m not sure how to address you, but since I imagine you’re a particular strand of my DNA, Gene seems like it works. I am sure that you’re important to me, that we’re important to each other. I am sure that having you in my life enriches it; makes me feel like I’m finally doing what I was destined to do.

B&W FK high res laughing c Laura Thomson
Unlike other distinctive characteristics, such as my curly hair, pale skin and green eyes, you weren’t always obviously around. In fact, you took your time making yourself known. I felt you; lurking in the background of my life, loitering with intent. I wanted to ask you to be more open with me, to become a bigger part of my life but I was frightened. Shy. Afraid to fail at something that I knew would mean a lot.

As a child, I always imagined that I would grow up and tell stories. The younger me would weave them in my mind, only sometimes daring to tell my family what particular tale I’d come up with. As a young adult, earning a living took over. Rent had to be paid and having stories rattling around in my head didn’t pay the rent. So I ignored you.

You’re persistent, though. I’ll give you that. You kept prodding until I listened, eventually giving way to what you wanted – eventually recognising that this love I have for the written word is something innate; something I can’t and don’t wish to be free of. It’s in me coiled alongside so many other traits. I wonder did I inherit you or are you a rare, mutant filament. My father was a closet writer in a suit, someone who never had the opportunity to write but wanted to. My mother used to be an artist, my sister too; one of my brothers is a writer. So, I think you’ve been around a while, Gene…

How do you work? Did something make your synapses snap and pulse into life as soon as I was born or did you wait until I was ready for you? I think that was it. I think, as far as I’m concerned, you knew when to strike. In that moment, I was ready. I was ready for the firing up of those creative neurons. I was ready to make the life-changing decision to listen to my heart and my DNA and thankfully, at that time, I didn’t have to worry about the rent.

Over the years, you’ve helped me pen many novels. You finally helped me pen You, Me and Other People, the one that an agent loved and a publisher bought. You helped me create the life that I have been dreaming of for a long time; that of working as a writer for a living, and I’m so grateful, Gene.

I suppose this is sort of a love letter. A letter of acknowledgement that you are in my life and how lucky I am that you are. I look at my two children and you’re there too. Your creative strain lives on in them and I want to say thank-you. Thank-you for being powerful, so powerful that I will never ignore you again. Thank-you for being persistent. Thank-you for being a part of me.

With love always,

Fionnuala x



They say every family has skeletons in their closet …

But what happens when you open the door and they won’t stop tumbling out?

For Adam and Beth the first secret wasn’t the last, it was just the beginning.

You think you can imagine the worst thing that could happen to your family, but there are some secrets that change everything.

And then the question is, how can you piece together a future when your past is being rewritten?


Fionnuala discovered, age six, that she had in fact been christened Ann (that’s Ann with no ‘e’) and that her parents had decided, for some reason, to saddle her with a life of dealing with unnecessary vowels. At twenty she moved to London and marrying Mr. Kearney proved to be the best thing she ever did, apart from the fact that the vowel thing escalated further. Two daughters, both with deliberately simple mono syllabic names followed. She worked, for many years, in London as a home search agent until she decided that it was time to pursue the dream of being a writer. She likes to write about relationships: couples, a mother and child, siblings, best friends… She likes to peel away the layers and see what’s going on beneath and then tell you all about it.

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