I was born and reared in Dublin. My mother took one look at me and decided to call me Ciara (pronounced Keira as in Keira Knightly but with lower cheek bones…). When pressed, she said it was because she ‘liked’ the name. From that moment, until I turned thirty-four, I wrote not one word, discounting the diary I kept as a teenager, full of angst and regret and heartache and bitterness; the usual.
Then, when I was 34, I signed up for a creative writing nightclass in Plunkett’s College in Whitehall where I started writing stories. I haven’t stopped since.
I love writing and I hate writing. I love having written. I hate looking at the blank page or the blank screen and knowing that I have to fill it up with words that mightn’t be any good. It’s a bit like going to the gym. You hate going. But you feel great on your way home. Sweaty, with a face like a beef tomato. But great all the same.
I have three children and one husband and have recently adopted a dog who is the same age as my youngest daughter. Together, they are in charge of pretty much everything.
When I was growing up, you could tell the days of the week by the dinners we had. The worst day was Thursday when my mother made us eat liver. She made it worse by serving the liver with lovely homemade chips and sausages and rashers and egg; she called it a ‘mixed grill’. The blood from the liver ran across the plate and tainted everything. One of the best things about being an adult is that I don’t have to eat liver. Or peas. Or semolina.
My favourite time of the day is the night. Or very early in the morning. I wrote my first book, Saving Grace, mostly at night and in the early morning. Now, I write at nine o’clock in the morning and knock off when the children come home from school. I miss the night. And the early morning. But I’ve learned that writing is work and you have to be able to do it during the allocated hours and I suppose I’ve gotten used to it. The best bit about writing a book is the two words ‘The’ and ‘End’. It’s a bit like finding a pub in Ireland where you can smoke after hours – it’s that good.
Writing is addictive, probably because you feel a bit better about things when it’s done. It’s like drink that way, except it won’t give you a hangover or cirrhosis of the liver or anything nasty like that. You might get a stiff arse (that’s bottom in Irish) from sitting in the one place for too long but that’s about it. And even though stiff arses can be uncomfortable, they’re completely worth it when a reader tells me that they’ve read my book and that they liked it. That makes me feel like one of the Whos in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who when they shout I am here. I am here. I am here. I am here.