Veronica Sweeney: The Sidhe of Salley Garden
[Veronica  	Sweeney]

  Saturday, March 12, 2011


Thank you, all my precious readers for your support.
I can now be found at "Veronica Geoghegan Sweeney" on Facebook.
My new book, The Summer Place is available as an ebook from Amazon.



Thursday, July 12, 2001

My mother, Lisa, still feels that she is too ill to fly, so I am seriously considering the big step of applying for residency here on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. I am, and always will be, Australian, but the city of Fredericton has opened its heart to Lisa, and she to it, and it seems as if we have made a home here. It's all very bizarre. I will write about it one day.

I found this in an article on the young Australian actor, Heath Ledger, and thought I'd pass it on to you. It is, he says, his "personal mantra" - don't know if he wrote it himself or was quoting, but it's well-worth remembering, so much so that I trust whoever did write it would not mind it being passed on like this :

"Work as if you don't need the money, love as if you've never been hurt, dance as though no one is watching."

I think the middle one is the hardest to do...

Did you know - my friend Shantell told me this recently - that there are these cunning little search engines that snuffle out e-mail adresses that are posted on web-sites, and then collect them for the nefarious purposes of sending out SPAM? Being a Luddite of long-standing, only forced by my craft to use this contraption, I am constantly amazed hearing of such things...

So... You all know what @ means, don't you? So if I said my new e-mail address is:


You'll would know what I mean. (Cop that, you cunning little search engine bastard, you.)

I'm working - yet again? - still? - on the editing of the second in the "St Claude" novels. The first was A TURN OF THE BLADE, this one is A LONG LEAD, and later still, will come A SMALL PREY.

In all this last year, I've heard not one word from anyone at HarperCollins Australia. Not even a Where-the-hell-is-that-manuscript? Which bodes ill... In the silence I've tried to put together all the advice I've received from the two editors who had read A LONG LEAD, but in the end it is all subjective. ALL writing IS subjective. No one ever blames an editor for a bad book. It's my name out there on the cover, and I just have to trust my own instincts.

Actually I've had to fight for most of the books I've published - the most upsetting was THE EMANCIPIST, back in London: my editor wanted to cut the Irish section; she wrote above the title page of 'Part One, The Big House', "WE KNOW ALL THIS." Meaning the details of the Irish Famine. And when I refused to cut the Irish section, she wanted to cut the Tasmanian section. WOT a fight that was - I've always said, that however long I was supposed to live, I'll live five years less because of the editing of that book.

Oh, and speaking of Tasmania, and books...

The reason why there was such a HUGE wait between SOUTH LIES THE VALLEY and A TURN OF THE BLADE was because I was contracted to write another big Australian historical saga for Bantam Books - and I did. It was called, firstly, GOLDEN FLEECE, but I changed the title afterwards to THE FAR ISLANDS. It concerned two families from two islands, Van Diemen's Land - as Tasmania was then known - and Nantucket. Both families are brought together in Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land, in 1829, in the hey-day of whaling in the South Seas, when Nantucket was the world's centre for whaling, and Hobart Town was THE place to call in for supplies on long whaling voyages. There were sometimes up to THREE HUNDRED ships in the harbour, and it was being touted as the probable capital of Australia.

I committed a great sin. The unpardonable one, in the world of 'mass media' publishing. I took three years to write this book. They had asked for it to be delivered in TWO - I remember I was most emphatic at the time that I couldn't promise that, for a good novel - and this one was to be between 300,000 and 360,000 words - takes as long to write as... well, as long as it takes to make it a good novel.

I really belong in a Dickensian attic...

I missed my - their - Market Deadline. When I'd spoken to my American editor about difficulties I was having, she said, "Veronica, the average shelf life for a book is three weeks. Just writing anything and trust us to make it sell for you."

Startled by this, I replied, "What are we talking about here, disposable literature?"

"Yes!" she cried with delight, laughing, "Oh, that's neat - can I use that? That is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. 'Disposable literature'. You put out one book - our marketing machine takes over - and you start another. 'Disposable literature...' I love it."

I can't work that way.

When I delivered the book to New York, a year late - my place in the marketing strategy lost, the interest in things Australian disappearing from the American consciousness, a recession in the book industry and Bantam just having paid five million dollars for Stormin' Norman's biography - they didn't even bother to read THE FAR ISLANDS - I had taken out a hundred pages to re-write and then sent it off forgetting to put the pages back in. They didn't notice. They sent a letter saying that the manuscript was 'not acceptable', I ws to make changes - including removing the story of the almost-genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines - in three months or the contract would be cancelled.

The contract was cancelled: I was not paid the $35,000 I was owed as the next installment of my contract, I lost my house, and in the ensuing financial problems, my marriage. THE FAR ISLANDS languishes at the bottom of a desk drawer back in Sydney, Australia.

Judith Curr, my Australian editor, believed in it, and for that I will always be grateful to her. But she and I both love Tasmania, and THE FAR ISLANDS was the story of Tasmania. Much of my heart and soul went into it. It is a pity.

As you can guess from reading this web-page, I am a 'difficult' writer. Sonny Mehta once told me that he took two valiums and glass of whiskey, knowing he had an appointment with me.

"Work as though you don't need the money"... Interesting. I've always written as if I don't need the money. And that has always been my advice to neophyte writers, as well. Don't write to be published. Write the kind of book YOU want to read. I could go on like this - "To thine own self be true..." etc., etc....

Writing IS subjective. Write from the love of it. For yourself. One day an editor might read your work and say "YES!" But that, my friend, will be the beginning of the struggle, not the end.

I actually have a novel that I began back in St Marys, New South Wales, as a child. A sci-fi story that was inspired by my terror when I saw drugged parrots being smuggled out of Australia to lucrative over-seas markets. The story is called FROM THE BLUE PLANET and I will put the first chapter on this web-page over the next few days, along with a Post Office box where you can send a couple of dollars if you like the story, and if I get enough encouragement, then I'll make it a regular part of this web-page.

It's rather like Charles Dickens, now I come to think of it. His work was sold chapter by chapter on street corners in London for a penny a chapter.

I told you I belonged back in Dickensian times... My "web-mistress" is my friend Shantell Powell, a gifted young Canadian writer, you can catch her web-page - and her many literary works - thusly: The ShanMonster Page.

Thanks for calling in.

Thursday, June 21, 2001

Dear Readers, or Would-be Readers,

If you have reached this far, you have wondered about where I am - or, more pertinently, probably - where my next book is.

There may very well be a book concerning what brought me to Canada, and what has kept me here - it certainly has all the elements of a good story, but far too melodramatic for my liking. Bringing you straight into the middle of the tale, my mother, who was here for a visit of three months, developed blood clots and has, of necessity, been here for a year, now. She turns 84 on the 15th of July, and is very unwilling to make the long flight home to Australia. She is staying with friends, Olive and Jimmy: he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and she is battling cancer, and my mother, Lisa, has become an integral part of their lives. The story of the three of them is one of great courage and loyalty. Lisa does not want to return to Australia and leave them, and they do not want to lose her presence in their lives.

We applied for a second extension of our Visitors' Visas so that Lisa would have the summer with them, at least, and this might give her time to walk and recuperate from the effects of the blood clots and being cooped up inside all winter - for those of you who don't know Canada, we here in the east have snow for up to seven months of the year.

For some reason - so far they have not given one - our visitors' visas were refused. This, when I had been told by a Citizenship and Immigration officer that there were people in Canada who had been here for YEARS, just renewing their visitor's visas every six months.

At the time of writing this, the 21st of June, 2001, I'm awaiting news from the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, the Hon. Elinor Caplin, on whether our visas can be extended or we can be issued Minister's Permits. So I don't know what is to happen, now. It is a very stressful situation and it's affecting my writing. Much as I love Australia and miss it, my mother, Lisa, is really not well, and I would hate to see her forced onto a plane when she is convinced that she will not make the long flight home.

And here's an up-date on the books.

The U.S. version of A TURN OF THE BLADE sold very well, though there was some forty pages cut from it - unnecessarily, I thought - that were an integral part of character and plot development. The Australian/New Zealand HarperCollins edition remains the best for anyone who wants to order it on line from HarperCollins Australia.

Both A TURN OF THE BLADE and DARK OBSESSION were bought by Wilhelm Goldmann, and are available in German language editions.

And not many people know this, but THE EMANCIPIST was translated into Hebrew, through Kelman Press in Tel Aviv in 1986. I've never seen a copy of this edition. If anyone knows anything about it, let me know.

If this newsletter is a little fragmented, it's because of the stress of the situation. My apologies. My style is usually more disciplined.



[Veronica Sweeney]

Books by Veronica Sweeney

The Emancipist: An Unforgettable Epic of Australia: "From the ravages of the Irish Famine to the cool green forests of Tasmania's south-west to that richest of all Australia's settled areas, the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Aidan O'Brien carves a destiny that is his alone."

South Lies the Valley.

[Dark Lord of Geeragh]
Dark Lord of Geeragh: "When Fen is sent into the service of the Dark Lord of Geeragh, his mother makes him promise to kill the Dark Lord, in revenge for the death of Fen's father."

[A Turn of the Blade]
A Turn of the Blade: "Book editor Sarah Stanforth dreams of vengeance against Erica Tudor, the young author her husband Keir has fallen in love with. But she is unprepared when, out of the blue, Erica arrives at her isolated farmhouse brandishing a gun."