Tipp’s author’s first foray into children’s fiction
Toomevara-based author Fran O’Brien has another book available locally to raise funds for the LauraLynn Foundation.
Although she grew up in Dublin, Fran and her husband Arthur McGuinness are now an integral part of Toomevara’s community fabric, where they now spend most of their time.
Since 2005 she has mainly written novels and sold them at fairs, trade shows and markets across Ireland, donating all proceeds to LauraLynn Children’s Hospice.
‘Stripy the Kitten’ sees Fran make his first foray into children’s fiction. A short story about a three-legged kitten, Stripy is abandoned by her owners and goes to a farm where she meets a friendly cat and another cat who isn’t so friendly.
There’s also Granno, the woman who feeds them, and an adventure ensues in which Stripy manages to win over the hostile cat.
âIt’s a simple little thing for four or five year olds,â said Fran, whose new book is printed in easy-to-read capitals and lots of drawings, also written by the author. âChildren can color them by filling in the pictures with their own pencils, so this has a dual purpose: to read the story and color the pictures as well. “
‘Stripy the Kitten’ was on sale at the recent Ideal Home Show at RDS, where Fran managed to raise over â¬ 5,000 for the charity she chose. She and her husband were regularly present at Bloom, National Plowing Championships and other major events which were sadly interrupted by the pandemic, impacting Fran’s opportunities to raise funds for the cause that close to his heart.
‘I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING’
LauraLynn became this cause in 2005 when she and Arthur discovered the two daughters of Jane and Brendan McKenna – Laura, who had died at the age of 4 following surgery to repair a heart defect; and her older sister Lynn, who died at the age of 15 less than two years later after losing her battle with leukemia; she was diagnosed on the day of Laura’s operation.
âI started when I heard Jane McKenna, Laura and Lynn’s mother, talk on the radio. I thought it was so emotional; I said, ‘I have to do something’.
âThis was the reason for the publication of the first book. Knowing Jane and Brendan changed our lives because we got into this adventure completely.
Fran has since written 14 books in total, all focused on supporting LauraLynn services, which include community pediatric palliative care, respite, and end-of-life support.
Two of these books are about Fran’s family, including her aunt Queenie, a Cork woman who came to Toomevara and married Ned Hogan in the mid-1940s. She lived there until 2000 when she died. at the age of 90.
âShe was a fantastic storyteller with a great memory and she would tell me all the old family stories,â Fran said of her aunt, who left her cottage in Toomevara to the author and her husband.
âWe love living in Toomevara. It’s really cool, and we have lovely friends and neighbors. We are very lucky.
BOOK ON SALE NOW
Fran is currently writing a new fiction book, while she is also working in theater at the Source Arts Center in Thurles. Her book “Stripy the Kitten” is now available at Jenny’s Kitchen in Nenagh, to whom the author is most grateful, with all proceeds going to the LauraLynn Foundation. The book can also be purchased from Fran’s website – www.franobrien.net – where a lot of additional information is available.