How can you find yourself again, when you can’t face what you’ve lost? Joanna Woulfe is looking to get her life back on track after her husband John leaves their family home. Once a high-flying Pr Director, Jo now looks after her son Harry and seeks support only from her mother Marietta and her best friend Nicole. But Nicole’s own marriage is facing its greatest ever crisis, and Marietta, too, is distracted by the reappearance of an old flame, ex-Showband-singer, and lothario Patrick Realta. Soon Jo enrolls with a colourful local amateur dramatics group and begins a flirtation with the handsome young Ronan Forest. But is she really ready to move on from her old life – and from her years of marriage to John? And what was it that happened three years ago that sent the couple into free-fall? Before long Jo will realise that is only by looking back that she will ever truly be able to move forward. . .
My Q&A with Sian O’Gorman
Hello Kelly, Thanks so much for including me in your blog. I am really honoured to be a part of it! And I love the questions… they made me have to really think. Thank you!
Hello everyone… I am delighted to be here to answer Kelly’s fiendish questions and to tell you about Always and Forever, my new novel. It’s my second book after Friends Like Us and somehow I seem to have stumbled into my niche of stories examining the emotional lives of women with a dash of comedy and a generous slosh of romance.
Publishing my first book has been a brilliant experience and Friends Like Us has been far more successful than I could ever have dared to imagine with people all over the world, in Australia, America, the UK and Ireland, all reading my book. I ran the gamut of excruciated to exhilarated and enjoyed every second. A little biographical information about me is that I was born in Ireland, grew up in Wales and am back in Ireland, living in a small village along the coast from Dublin and it’s where I set my first two books and also the third which I am currently whipping into shape.
So… to the questions!
Describe yourself using three words?
Indecisive, impulsive, curious.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
Being in a real-life situation that I found I could write myself out of, if that makes sense. I had nowhere else to go and had reached a point in my life where I found writing was better than any therapy and highly enjoyable to boot. I couldn’t wait to get back to the page every day and find out what was going to happen to my characters.
What time of day do you like to write?
I get up at 6am and try and get an hour done then. When I manage this I feel brilliantly virtuous. When I don’t, I am better slept!
What is your favourite book and why?
I have two. Persuasion and Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. Persuasion because it is Jane Austen at her witty and perfect best with the most satisfying love story in any book, ever. And Moon Tiger because it is a power-house of a novel in deceptively slim form. Endlessly fascinating and thought-provoking and life enhancing.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I want my titles to be warm and inviting and reflective not just of the story but the tone of the book. Always and Forever can refer to many of the different relationships in the novel and is a phrase which can change its meaning over time. But in life sometimes it takes time to realise who is going to be around always and forever. It’s often not who you first imagine.
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
No, no one I know, unfortunately. However, I wouldn’t mind meeting some of them in real life and staying well clear of some of the others. I would like to meet Fergal Forest and his brother Ronan who feature in Always and Forever as well as Coco Crawley, a performance artist who doesn’t quite know where her art ends and real life begins.
What’s your favourite word?
If you were a colour what would it be?
I would like to be a nice, bright tomato-red. Passionate and fiery. But in actuality I think I might be something a little less exciting, maybe Farrow and Ball Downpipe?
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
I definitely go with the flow. Even if I think I know where I am going, the story-telling always takes over and I just hold on and enjoy the ride. For me, it’s the most exciting and satisfying part of writing.
Who is your favourite author?
Jane Austen, obvs, but also writers such as Marian Keyes, Laurie Graham, Anne Enright and Anne Tyler. Authors who tell interesting and important stories about women and know how to entertain along the way.
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
Ooooh… good question. Ummmm. Right, Owen Meaney because I would love to meet him, Anne Shirley because she would keep the conversation going, Mr Darcy so I can gaze on his lovely face and think of lovely Pemberley, and Madame Bovary so maybe I could stop her of going mad with boredom. She also might bring a nice bottle of champagne to accompany my crab tart.
What book are you reading at the moment?
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Brilliant writing, fascinating story, warm and rich and full of detail and love.
Where in the world is your happy place?
Hanging out with my daughter, my bed, and any Marks and Spencer food hall. In that order. But not necessarily all at the same time.
If you had one superpower what would it be?
Topping up world empathy levels.
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
I would like Bertha Rochester (I realise she is not technically a villain but she is nonetheless a dark and mysterious figure) to get well and leave Rochester and Jane to their happy Thornfield ending (it doesn’t burn down). Bertha could live in a little cottage on the estate and become an artist and make jam and perhaps channel her inner Monty Don and create a lovely garden. Reader, she made it.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes, just finished draft one of my new book. Working title: The Cherry Blossom Tree. It’s the story of four generations of women and how sometimes it’s easier to connect with your grandmother rather than your own mother. Working on the romantic core of the story as well and a few side shoots and loving every moment.
Thank you so much for asking me to take part, Kelly!
Buy your copy here:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kPPMCd
Huge thanks to Sian O’Gorman and Aria Books for letting me on this fabulous tour!
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