|Photo by Leah Verwey|
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
Since having my son I’ve had to become less rigid about my work schedule. I try to get to my desk every day but it isn’t always possible. Also I find I’m more productive if I go out for long walks or go running to clear my head if I’m stuck with something. Most days though I work from 9 - 12.30 i.e. when my son is at school. I tend to consume a lot of tea and buttery toast as I write….although those crumbs can ruin a good keyboard!
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel Little Beauty?
Little Beauty tells the story of Laura Quinn who lives on Whale island, a remote island off the West Coast of Ireland. Her boyfriend,the lighthouse keeper, Martin Cronin refuses to commit to her and so she makes a brave decision to get a job on the mainland. Laura lost both of her parents at a young age and is something of a social misfit as a result. On the mainland she meets Finn and Audrey Campbell who are wealthy and attractive and looking for a housekeeper - and Laura's life begins to change forever. Little Beauty is also about loneliness and how everyone needs to connect with someone else - and it’s about the ultimate act of love between a mother and her child.
What inspired you to set this story on a remote island off the coast of Ireland?
I spent some time on Achill Island and was really struck by the rugged, wild nature of the place. It’s a lovely spot but on a wet day in winter it can feel like the loneliest place on earth. I began imagining what a woman’s life might have been like there in the 1970s and the character of Laura Quinn began to take shape. I wanted to create a strong, unusual woman who would find it difficult to fit into a superstitious, ‘god-fearing’ island community.
Are you currently working on a new book, if so are you able to tell us anything about it?
Yes, I’m working on my fourth novel but I find it very difficult to talk about a work in progress. I will say though that it has been influenced by my year in Portland, Oregon in 2012. I have a strong connection with America and I’m really interested in writing about emigration and the sense of displacement that often goes with it.
Are you a plotter or do you start writing and see where it takes you writer?
I usually have a very vague outline in my head - really just a beginning and an ending. The rest tends to come with the writing. I find that outlining and planning ‘kills’ the ‘magic’ of writing a bit for me. There’s nothing better than being surprised by your own work.
If you were going to write a famous person into one of your stories, who would it be and why?
Howard Hughes - because he was such a one-off and I love to write about people living outside or on the edges of society.
What was the last book that you’ve read that has made you cry?
Blue Nights by Joan Didion. It’s about the death of her daughter, Quintana Roo.
Thanks to the lovely Bella at Transworld three lucky followers (sorry UK only) can win a copy of Little Beauty to read for themselves. Entry via the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway