Tuesday 26 March 2019

'Yorkshire lass' Marion on her own adventure with first book

What started out as "doodling" has now turned into a first children's book for 70 years young Marion

Marion Heffernan with her new Book 'Mouse's Great Adventure'. Photo by Sheila Fitzgerald
Marion Heffernan with her new Book 'Mouse's Great Adventure'. Photo by Sheila Fitzgerald

Maria Herlihy

What started off for Marion Heffernan as mere "doodling and rhyming" quickly grew and has now turned into a first book for children. With a hearty laugh, the 'North Yorkshire lass', who now calls Lismire home, said the process all began by accident back in 2015.

"The best way to describe it was that feeling when you have a tune in your head but you just can't get it out. Well, it was just like that but I kept making up rhymes about a mouse. I kept repeating the first two lines and then thought up of a third sentence but of course then I couldn't remember the first two," she said with a beaming smile. 

So, there was nothing for it, but to boot up the computer and she started writing down her doodles and found herself fascinated by rhyming. 

"I started off doing all of this just for me and I had lots of fun with the rhyming and I got to the end of the fifth story and I thought, would anybody be interested in this as a book," she said. 

As she noted the worst case scenario was that a prospective publisher "would press delete fast" she trudged onwards and made contact with a publisher who showed huge interest in her work. 

As Marion's book is for children aged at 4-8 year old and it is a rhyming story about a mouse on an adventure, the book would need an illustrator.

In stepped local art student, Amy Begley who has done all the illustrations for Marion. "Amy has just been fantastic and she has given 100% and we work so well together. In fact, I hope to start more stories after Christmas and Amy will do the illustrations again as I feel it is important to continue with the style we have going," said Marion. 

In the 42-paged book, over half are illustrations and the language which Marion uses will greatly resonate with children, particularly those who wish to boost their speech and language skills. 

As pointed out by Marion, the language in 'Mouse's Great Adventure' is not childish and may even challenge younger listeners to ask questions. But, the book is also not complex - rather it is a "simple story that has a beginning, middle and end, a bit of adventure and themes that are familiar as well as a trusty hero in the shape of a cheeky little mouse." 

In addition, the final illustrations in the book are all water colour paintings unique as the story itself. So just how did a 'North Yorkshire lass' end up living in Lismire. 

"Well it all started when I met an Irish man," she laughed. Marion married Tom Heffernan from Castlecor, near Mallow when she was living in the UK. They had two children, Kathryn and Julia who still live in the midlands. 

During Marion's working life in the UK, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work in the offices of the Yorkshire steel industry and then worked for many years in telecommunications. 

"You name it, I did it," was her mantra when it came to work. 

The duo opted to retire and in 1992 they bought a cottage in Lismire. 

"My experience of Ireland up until that was some time in Dublin but that was it, but when I came to Lismire, I really liked it and it reminded me of Yorkshire. Even though I am living here for over 20 years, I will always be a blow in!"

While the word, 'retire' can be used very loosely for Marion as she once again not only rolled up her sleeves but also opened the books and went back to college. She did a post leaving cert course for adults who wanted to update their skills and she completed modules such as word processing, payroll, typing and then dived straight in and completed a six year Open University Degree in Health and Social Care

She now works as a receptionist at Dr Daly's practice at Ath Transna Medical Centre in Newmarket.

"I am really delighted to have written this book and I never thought my doodling and rhyming would come to this," said Marion.  "It now seems that the mouse is not the only one on an adventure."

Marion's book can be bought at the Doll's House and Post office in Newmarket.