Big (TV) things are happening for teen writer Lydia Little

March 16th, 2020 2:15 AM

By Emma Connolly

Lydia Little, above, and right her teenage books which have been optioned for a TV series.

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A WEST Cork writer has just had her boarding school adventure teen books optioned for a TV series and she’s hopeful of it hitting our TV screens in the not too distant future.

Lydia Little, Ballydehob says it’s a rare opportunity for a self-published author like herself in terms of potential and  knocking down doors.

And what made the deal even more special for Lydia was that she signed the contract for it on top of a piano belonging to her late brother, the legendary singer Fergus O’Farrell, front man with band Interference.

The books, K Girls and K Girls Plus One are based on Lydia’s six years spent boarding in the internationally acclaimed Kylemore Abbey, run by Benedictine nuns, in Galway.

She describes the books as being like ‘Mallory Towers meets Downton Abbey with time travel thrown in.’

Lydia loved boarding school and kept diaries for every year which she dipped into for the books. The main character is boarder Alice who meets Ruth, a teen ghost from the 1920s. The two have a mysterious bond and as a result develop an unusual friendship.

‘Alice is the only mortal who can see and hear Ruth. Ruth’s character is based on a real girl, Ruth Stoker, who did actually die at Kylemore at the age of 14 on December 18th, 1923. She is the only lay person buried in the cemetery there and we always wondered what her story was. I always had this romantic notion of her watching on at us from the side. She was the foundation of my story which I suppose I’ve been writing in my head since I was a teen,’ said Lydia.

Their adventures continue in K-Girls Plus One as the pair time travel back to the 1800’s and the days when Kylemore Castle was owned by the much respected Mitchell Henry family.

The mum of three who works part time in tech support for Amazon, self- published the first book in  2013.

‘The death of my brother threw me and I wasn’t in a creative zone, so it was only at the end of 2018 that I published my second,’ she said.

With both of them now optioned by another Kylemore girl, Anna Mannion of Tri Moon Films for development into a TV series, Lydia is working on book three, and sees at least six or seven in total.

‘One for every year spent in the school – there’s lots of fodder in it,’ said Lydia, whose readers go from proficient eight-year olds to those in their 70s.

Lydia said being a self-published author, and not having an agent, can be a tough grind, being financially responsible for everything from printing to distribution.

‘It’s not all jazz hands, there’s a lot of work involved and I do it all myself. People get excited when they hear something has been optioned but there’s still a lot of work to do. There is potential there though and it’s very exciting.’

Find her books at or at AnnaB’s in Schull.

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