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Welcome to my February 2021 Guest Author: Fearghal O'Laigh

Fearghal and I share publishers and are going through similar publishing experiences; this is his first work too and we launched in the Autumn of 2020 amidst a deluge of other books that had been delayed because of the pandemic.

I was lucky to win a copy of his travel memoir and although this isn't the kind of book I usually choose, I started it (rather cautiously I admit) but was quickly engrossed. If you fancy a virtual trip to South America....I highly recommend you read this!

My full review is here.

You say in your blog in October last year ‘I never planned to write a book’ so how did your memoir the ‘The Ayahuasca Chronicles’ come to be? Well, I wrote this book when I got back to Ireland, in fact. The experience was so powerful that it left an indelible mark, and as a result, it wasn’t too difficult to recall. Plus, I had a notebook and some photos to guide me. I really wanted to share my story with the world because I saw so much that moved me, and I think the plant kingdom can help us to make the world a better place; we just need to reconnect with our plant allies.

Now that you can hold a copy of your first book in your hand how do you feel?

While I see writing a book as a great achievement in itself, and would always attest to that, it is true that anyone can write a book. What really matters, as far as I see it, is for the story to connect with somebody. If it can inspire or encourage just one person, then that’s job done as far as I’m concerned. But apart from that, I found the writing process as a whole to be a highly reflective one, and I learnt a huge amount about myself from putting it all down on paper (and having to read the proofs back multiple times!). Both you and I had to face unprecedented obstacles publishing during a pandemic. That aside how have Covid-19 restrictions affected your creativity and usual occupations?

Well, things have taken a downturn in the English-teaching world, so that has affected me, but I’m also keeping busy with my apprenticeship as a herbalist. Otherwise, I’ve just been focusing on what I can do with my days. Stewing over things that are out of my control won’t help. I’ve spent my time getting out in nature every day (even if just for a walk). I also love wildcrafting, so I’ve had more time to do that. And of course, I’ve read tonnes of books! What kind of books do you most enjoy reading?

I love any book that I can take something from and bring it to my own life. That is the beauty of reading and learning: you can grow as a person from what you learn, and it can help you to bring more lightness to the world. As a child, I read thrillers and detective stories, and I just pored through the pages. My mother, to her credit, recognised my love of reading, so she tried to encourage it. She bought George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl for me, and I was instantly hooked. I must have plagued her to buy every Roald Dahl book there was ̶ and she pretty much did in the end. These days, I tend to read non-fiction, as I love to learn new things about how the world works, people’s ideas and philosophies. Life is one great mystery, and it makes for such wonderful stories. But I still enjoy fiction, as long as there is something it can teach me. All books are teachers; they might make you laugh and inspire you to bring more lightness to your life, or they might represent the world to you in a new light, inspiring you to make changes for the better. The story is key! Will you continue writing? Is there another book in the pipeline?

I only write if I feel inspired to do so. There is no other book in the pipeline at the moment (although I do write on my blog). I would like to see where this one takes me first, but I have no doubt that the urge will come again ̶ reading and writing are my lifetime travel companions.

Do connect with Fearghal on social media.

IG: @herbal_fearghal

Twitter: @OLaigh


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