3 Minutes With an Author is a new series of interviews from Columba and Currach Press. The series will shed light on the mind of an author and we hope will prove insightful to both readers and aspiring writers. This week we are talking to Rosaleen Crossan author of the upcoming book ''Friend of the Poor: Mary Aikenhead'.

Friend of the Poor Mary Aikenhead - Cover

1. Which writers inspire you?

The writers who inspire me are mainly writers with a philosophical or religious focus, for example: Richard Rohr, Daniel O’Leary, Paula D’Arcy, John O’Donoghue, and poets such as Mary Oliver, Denise Levertov and Edwina Gately, to name a few.

2. Why do you write?

I write because I feel the urge to put into words whatever touches me deeply.  For example, if I have an in-depth experience I like to express it on paper so as to savour it and save it for future enrichment.  I also feel inspired to write when I feel awe-struck about the wonder and magic of nature. 

3. What is the hardest/ easiest thing about writing?

I suppose the hardest thing about writing for me is getting the time for it.  The easiest part is when something inspires me – it tends then to flow naturally without any effort. 

4. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer's Block?

When writer’s block occurs, it is always best to leave it, go away and do something which gets one away from the thinking mind. Take a long brisk walk, go for a swim or relax with friends so that you come back to the task of writing with a fresh mind.  Very often after such a break inspiration begins to flow again!

5. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

“The Divine Spark” by Paula D’Arcy.  

This book is a re-write in a slightly differently form of “Red Fire” an earlier book by D’Arcy printed in 2001.  Having been gripped by reading “Red Fire” I was disappointed with her recent book.  Had I been the author of “The Divine Spark”, I would have seized the opportunity, especially with such a title, to dip into the Pope’s encyclical, “Laudato Si’, and staying with the metaphor of awakening, highlight the beauty and grandeur of all creation and how integral it is to our spiritual development.  D’Arcy hints at the grandeur and spiritual dimension of all that is when she states in the preface “suddenly you sense that all around you may be glory”.  It is this glorious face of all creation that I would like to celebrate in such a beautiful title as “The Divine Spark”.

6. And finally... what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers would be: believe in yourself.  It is natural to consider one’s own efforts as fairly worthless.  Instead, just override the doubts and begin to write – you will find the inspiration as you go along.  Share your work with someone who will give an assessment, and keep on writing! 

More about Rosaleen: 

Rosaleen Crossan is a Donegal- born Religious Sister of Charity living in Dublin who has been involved in teaching Religion and English in secondary schools over a number of years. She is currently engaged as chaplain in St Joseph’s Secondary School, Stanhope Street, Dublin.

More about Friend of the Poor: Mary Aikenhead:

Last year was the bi-centenary of the foundation of the Religious Sisters of Charity, and on 18 March 2015 their founder Mary Aikenhead was declared Venerable by Pope Francis. ‘Friend of the Poor’ explores the life and charism of Cork-born Mary. It reveals how this nineteenth century woman’s extraordinary faith in God and her total dedication to service of the poor has placed her firmly on the path towards Sainthood.

This book reflects on the influences which shaped Mary’s character and inspired her unconditional response to the call of God in her life. This call involved turning her back on a life of comfort and privilege in order to give herself totally to a life of service to those suffering from poverty, illiteracy and illness.

Thank you to Rosaleen for taking the time to answer the second in our series of 3 Minutes With an Author. You can read the first interview with Cora Guinnane and Joanne O'Brien here