What is your latest book about?
“Cracks in My Foundation is a mix of comic short stories and comic
non-fiction. The non-fiction details what it means to be a woman in 2005 — how it feels to turn 40, how to break up with your hairdresser, how to not turn into a screaming maniac at airport check-ins, how to avoid being guilted into buying loads of products when you go to a spa, and several other handy hints.
What is your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?
When working on my novels, I write alone in a darkened bedroom, wearing PJs and eating bananas with my laptop propped on a pillow.
What advice to you have for aspiring writers?
Firstly, stop talking about it and start writing it — word by word. Formally set aside time to write — respect your book enough not to try to fit it in, in bitty gaps, around the rest of your life. Better still, try to write at the same time every day — this seems to trigger the subconscious into readiness. Don’t be surprised if your first efforts are shockingly bad — indeed, expect to marvel at the gap between what you want to say in your head and how it appears on the page. But persevere; chances are it will improve. Beware of setting yourself up as the “new” Monica Ali or the “new” someone else: it’s always cringingly obvious. Instead write in your own unique voice and be proud of it. Write what you know — and if you don’t know it, be prepared to research it. Finally – enjoy it! If you enjoy writing it, chances are that people will enjoy reading it.
Name three books that are memorable in terms of your reading pleasure?
Anything by P.G. Wodehouse; “Behind the Scenes at the Museum” by Kate Atkinson; “Cold Comfort Farm” by Stella Gibbons.
What book are you currently reading?
A non-fiction book about domestic violence, an issue which I feel very strongly about. Did you know that in the United States a woman is hit every second?
Is there a book you wish you had written?
“Bridget Jones’ Diary.”
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Name a book that you were pleasantly surprised by?
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguru. I thought it would be pretentious literary cod, but it was wonderful.
If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
I don’t know… they say you should never meet your heroes. Probably better not to.
What book changed your life?
“Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce. It unexpectedly fell off a shelf and broke a bone in my foot and I had to cancel my holiday. Only joking…
What is your favorite spot in Ireland?
You’re Irish if
. . . you can tell a good anecdote.