My name is Maria (currently living in Spiddal, Galway) and reared in Belfast, at a time when writers could not complain of writer’s block, but they may have been too busy dodging bullets and bombs to write at all. I am someone who just simply has to write: it is my essential default when push comes to shove, although, my schooling was sadly impoverished: “Education: left me with a blank page to fill in as I pleased” which just about sums up my background. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop me insisting on scribbling down my random thoughts as much as possible, even if I was their only reader (but, I occasionally subjected others to the torture).
Long story short: as a mature student in my 30s (with an entirely different career that was somewhat colourful behind me) and with a small child on-board, (who is now an adult), I finally fulfilled my quest for a deeper knowledge of the ancient remains of the world around us and ended up with a 1st Class honours degree and went straight to PhD in a subject I love – Archaeology. I was published here and there in peer-reviewed journals and made a significant contribution to one glossy archaeological book (but mainly, the work – post-PhD, was reports that are filed away and only read by a small few).
Anyway, they told me that there was no future in it – archaeology that is, but, I didn’t listen of course – I was just following my passion (researching and writing about it) and I ended up researching, writing and inadvertently publishing my own books on something not entirely unrelated (I’ll come back to this shortly), and, they were correct: the economic crash came and my peculiar expertise in the analysis and interpretation of prehistoric stone (tools and their waste) recovered from digs all around Ireland came to a deathly silent halt. During this time, I just happened (as a little light relief from the more dry reports for the archaeological work), to be attempting my first novel – (futuristic) and I hoped, now that the real work had dried up; this did have a future.
I was tremendously lucky as my partner had a ‘proper’ job and still does – thankfully, and now as I had time (still rearing my son and all that that entails), I also started writing a blog; that nobody visited: but it was a good place to learn all this new fangled social media stuff and to frantically punch keys instead of scribbling furiously (as pens run out, get lost, leak and stab you in the dead of night) and cathartically put my demons to rest: at least for a while. I called the blog the UNRULY PEN and as I started to change the focus of this blog, I have now made these thoughts private. Apparently the attempted novel was not too bad; some friends read the massive novel and said that I had left no room for the reader’s imagination – they are still friends: well, sort of.
During this time I also went to the usual creative writing courses here in Galway with Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar Du Mars and really loved the challenge and discipline and interaction/feedback and mostly listening to others – although, their poetry improved: mine never did (as they say: ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’). I revisited the novel with all of this in mind and began taking a more scientific approach (my default as well). Then, as time passed, I inadvertently became my own publisher. But, it wasn’t the novel that I self-published, nor any of the attempts at poetry (I had explored the traditional publishing route for the novel as many of us do and I won’t go into the ins and outs of that here), but it is highly pertinent to what I published myself in the end.
I became involved in this divergent line of research quite by accident, the novel project took an unexpected turn (isn’t that always the way). Yes, there was a real-life twist in the plot. The story revolved around a young and rather naive geneticist, Michael McNamara, who was desperately seeking answers as he tried to come to terms with the confinement of the light-less world deep in the bowels of a highly classified underground facility; at an undisclosed location; sometime in the unspecified future. Now as the creator of this fictional scenario, I was at a loss to explain anything that would be scientifically plausible to the reader in this futurist and highly sophisticated scientific subterranean world, if I based it upon our current dogma of how biological complexity and evolution occurred (I was shocked to say the least when I discovered this fact). A few books in paperback and e-book format can be found by checking out publications under Maria B. O' Hare, and/or visiting the blog on all of these discoveries http://diggingupthefuture.com
Anyway, the fictional creation was put on hold (at least until something more believable could replace it) in favour of a factional future and something more grounded. And a few years later after writing about all that I had discovered (and of course coming to terms with publishing my results myself as I didn’t even attempt to approach traditional publishers with this highly toxic topic even if it was scientifically grounded), I finally managed to produce physical and e-book versions of the books relating to what I discovered whilst down the Darwinian rabbit hole and these are now slowly but surely finding their readers (the point of self-publishing them in the first place). I even managed to supply and sell them in the famous Charlie Byrnes’ Book shop here in Galway as well as the usual online global distribution outlets. DiG-Press is the imprint I now publish under. See: http://dig-press.com for all publications to-date. And my motto is:
DEY: D o E v e r y t h i n g Y o u r s e l f – Publishing.
- Well almost everything, as I don’t do the editing.
I have recently written a book on all that I discovered whilst grabbling with the rather steep learning curve of doing almost everything myself regarding self publishing. I now have an e-book version ready and just awaiting delivery of the paperbacks from the printers of a book within a book concept – showing you how the book was created and uploaded/published in print so that you can do the same. Obviously, I learned a thing or two about how to publish along the way – mostly what ‘Not to Do’, I may add. But, this now means that I can really help others to do the same. The tools available to now publish independently are only limited by our imagination to use them. This is why I love the idea of helping others to publish creatively, with an emphasis on the CREATIVE rather than commercially selling books (but that can happen too).
The e-book is now available here by either searching by title and/or searching Maria B. O'Hare and this and info on the paperback cousin, should be easy to find. You see, I discovered how to do it all ‘virtually’ for free or at the least: on the tiniest shoe-string. I learned to do it all using very accessible tools that most of us already have as writers and I also made all the mistakes for you, so you don’t have to ever know the grief or spending thousands of hours tearing your hair out (if you have any hair left) in an attempt to reach your readers no matter how small or large that potential readership may be. All that is required is your writings in their polished form and a willingness to go on the self-publishing adventure.
Creative Self Publishing Ireland is the page on Facebook for self publishing updates and direct messaging. And the blog/website is http://unrulypen.wordpress.com
This full bio can be found at writing.ie