Irish writer Clodagh Murphy tagged me to answer these questions about my next book. In turn, I’ll tag some more writers who will tell you about their ‘next big thing’.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The great Irish writer, Gerard Donovan, once told me in a writing workshop, ‘Don’t just borrow ideas. Steal them!’ So that’s what I do mostly. For my latest novel, Lifesaving for Beginners, I got the germ of the idea from a friend of mine who told me about her great-aunt who had given birth to a baby when she was a young woman and given the baby up for adoption. Her family knew nothing about any of this until the woman died, decades later, and the details were discovered in her personal effects. The story struck me. Settled in like a splinter. What would that be like? To harbour a secret that big? To continue living your life as if nothing had happened? I didn’t write the story of my friend’s great-aunt but I certainly got the idea for Lifesaving from that story. Now, when my friends tell me stories, they usually pre-empt their tales with ‘You’re not going to write about this, are you?’
Of course I won’t….
What genre does your book fall under?
The publishers call it ‘commercial women’s fiction’. I am a storyteller. I call it a story.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Love this question, as am big fan of De FILLUMS….
Kat Kavanagh (nearly 40-year old writer with writer’s block and a secret from her past that’s getting ready to come and bite her in the arse): Cate Blanchett, a great character actress, who does a mean Oirish accent…..
Milo McIntyre (Nine year old from Brighton – a dote!!): How about David Rawle (Martin Moone from Moone Boy)? Haven’t seen the series but have seen pictures and read the reviews and believe he’s a dote!!
Thomas Cunningham (a journalist who calls himself a farmer on account of his five stony fields in Monaghan – the love interest….a ride!!) How about Owen Wilson (but can he do Oirish accent?)
Faith (Milo’s big sister. She’s 25, a singer / songwriter in a band, whose world has just come crashing down around her): It’s got to be Charlene McKenna (the star of Pure Mule / Raw). She’d be perfect!
Minnie Driver (the accountant, not the actress. Kat’s best friend. Eccentric, fierce and loyal): Minnie Driver (the actress, not the fictional accountant…)
Janet Noble (Kat’s mother and a very serious prize-winning author) – the amazing Irish actor, Fionnula Flanagan
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A road traffic accident; one woman dies; one woman lives; and the lives of two families will never be the same again.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is published by Hachette Books Ireland and Hodder & Stoughton, UK. My agent is Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Fifteen months from start to finish. I would say it took me a year to come up with what I call ‘a decent first draft’ (which is probably really a third or fourth draft because I edit as I go). Then a further three months to ‘tweak’ – that’s what my editor calls it. I call it hellish.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I honestly have no idea. I suppose I try to make my books as unique as I can. I want people to read the first page of my book and know, for a fact, that it’s a Ciara Geraghty story. That is my hope.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I love writing. Or rather, I love having written. Words on a page. The words ‘the’ and ‘end’ (two of my favourite words in the English language). People reading my stories. Holding the finished product in my hands. The heft of it. The smell of it. The magic of language; the possibilities; what you can do with it. All of these things inspire me to write this and all the other books.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I wrote the book in two voices; Kat Kavanagh and Milo McIntyre. I am telling the same story, from two completely different perspectives which was challenging. I’m glad I did it like this though, as I feel it adds layers to the story, makes it less clean-cut, more interesting.
The writers I’m tagging are:
Is mise le meas,