Searching for an agent, and 1798 by Audrey Mac Cready

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Audrey MacCready

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So far, I’ve submitted my last novel, ‘The Acrocorinth Incident’, to twenty-three agents and have nine rejections. The most recent one said that though the agent genuinely liked my work, she didn’t think she could find a publisher for it. It was nice to have positive feedback!

With immaculate timing, the 2024 edition of the ‘Irish Writers’ Handbook’ (IWH) landed in my letterbox recently. I picked some of my latest batch of agents to approach from its pages, both in Ireland and the UK. Previously, I had trawled through the ‘Writers and Artists Yearbook’, not being aware of the Irish publication. Shame on me! The IWH is chock full of advice and interesting reading and I look forward to learning more from it.

The article I’m writing about my genealogical research is now at 5450 words, 24 A4 pages. It’s too long for a journal article and my layout is very list-like. I’m wondering about self-publishing it as a pamphlet and making it as comprehensive as possible on the Dublin M(a)c Cready families and individuals. This format wouldn’t require the same narrative style as an article. Let’s see.

My first novel, ‘Love in the time of Rebellion’, is set in 1798, in Dublin. It is based on the life of my great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Mac Cready (née Moore). Any chance I had of it being published vanished because I wrote it in this century and not in 1995! My interest in all things Rebellion and United Irishmen is unbounded, however, so I was thrilled to see that Alan Gilsenan made a film called precisely that – ‘The United Irishmen’ It launched in November at the Cork International Film Festival so I hopped on the train and went to Cork to see it.

From the advance publicity, it wasn’t clear whether it was fiction or documentary. Either way, I was hoping there would be a strong female presence in the movie and am happy to report that there is. It is a documentary (or ‘doc’, as apparently Young People call them these days), a series of interviews with historians, writers and academics. There is a focus on the Sheares brothers and Cork, which seemed apposite.

I won’t go into the details but recommend it as a very accurate and complete account of the momentous events of 1798, in which my Dublin Moore ancestors played a role. Alan Gilsenan was at the launch and I spoke with him. Suffice to say, that a major historical film (starring Saoirse as Mary Moore!) is not likely any time soon. It would cost a fortune to make…

Two books appeared in 2021 about Edward Fitzgerald, one of the leaders of the Society of United Irishmen, and his companion, Tony Small, a former black slave. One was Laura McKenna‘s ‘Words to Shape My Name’, the other was Neil Jordan’s ‘The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small’. Along with Gilsenan’s film, I’m hoping they generate a renewed interest in 1798 – and a market for my novel!

Roll on Christmas, the New Year, writing competitions and my next novel.

Nollaig shona daoibh go leir!

(c) Audrey Mac Cready

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