Saturday, 2 March 2013

Irish Fiction Month Interview: Caroline Grace-Cassidy

I've been a huge fan of Irish fiction, particularly chick-lit, for as long as I can remember which is one of the reasons I decided to do a month long feature to celebrate everything that is good about Irish fiction.  Although March is going to be predominantly Irish there will also be some other reviews as well to clear my reviews backlog.  

First up is a chat with Caroline Grace-Cassidy whose second book The Other Side of Wonderful is due to be published in May so I'll hand you over to Caroline...

Why do you think Irish Fiction has become so popular worldwide?
I think the world has always embraced Irish writing. Irish fiction has always been of an incredibly high standard.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Not really. I always knew English was my favourite subject at school and I adored being given essays to write, I always found stories came easy to me (not like maths!) In my opinion we weren’t asked to write enough. My original love was film and still in lots of ways, but writing is slowly taking over.

If you weren't a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
I am still an actress but focus more on my writing careen now, so I guess if the writing hadn’t taken off for me I d be at an audition right now! I’m shooting a lead in a film called Bere Island in May so I’m pretty excited about that.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I don’t really have a routine as such. I am about to begin my fourth novel so I think I put into practice what I’ve learned on the other three. I just simply sit and write there is no magic marker I’m afraid.

Which of the character that you've created is your favourite?

I’ve recently finished my third novel FAKE and the lead character Beth Burrows is probably my
favourite character to date. She’s an exceptionally gifted jewellery designer with not just a broken but a shattered, Riverdanced upon heart.

Would you say that any of your characters are like you?  If so, which one(s)?
Hmmm ...I suppose there’s a lot of me in Beth...she’s probably the most honest character I’ve ever written, she really wears her heart on her sleeve. 

Have your ever had writers block?
*frantically touches wood* ...not to the extent that I’ve been worried about it, we all have days
when it’s just not there so when that happens I don’t push it. I close the lap top and do something else.

Are there any books by Irish authors that you wish you'd written?
Finding Mr. Flood by Ciara Geraghty...absolutely loved it!

Which Irish authors, if any, inspired you to become a writer?
Obviously Marian Keyes as I started out reading her after Enid Blyton! I have huge respect for all writers.

When you've finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
Yes. I bang the laptop shut and shove it under the bed. Then I lie on the floor and stretch out
my back!!

Where would be your idyllic Irish location for a writing retreat?

I love Ballinahinch Castle, I started the story of my first novel there by the log fire sipping a pint
of Guinness. It has amazing history and peace..oh and food! Stodgy gravy covered food!!

What was the first book by an Irish author that you can recall reading?

The first book I recall was Watermelon. Just was gobsmacked by how good it was. It never left
me. I still think about it as though it was a memory not just a book.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current book?
‘The Other Side Of Wonderful’ is a story of two women Sandra and Ciara who are two very
different women but who find an incredible friendship through their differences. The novel tackles domestic violence and IVF so it’s much more serious and darker than When Love Takes Over. It’s set in the beautiful quaint village of Knocknoly.

Cara Byrne has moved on. She’s not hiding her deep dark past it’s just that no one has asked.
Yet. When she retreats to her new job in the quaint village of Knocknoly she wants to put her past behind her. Cara’s dreams have simplified beyond recognition. All she wants now is to live a quiet life, but won’t rest until she persuades her ├ęclair sucking mother Esther to leave Dublin and join her. Cara can’t bear what she has put the older woman through but she will make it up to her. Romance will never feature again in her life as far as she is concerned. That’s a promise she has made to herself. But promises are made to be broken.

Sandra lived the dream and travelled the world as an air hostess but she couldn’t do that forever now could she? She had to plan her “normal” life. She was getting older and time was not on her side. As her short marriage to local man Neil crumbles before her eyes and her second round of IVF fails she realises she has been throwing herself into something just because that was what society expected her to do. It was all wrong. But an off the cuff, romantic week away in London with a pro athlete pre- divorce could complicate her life even more. Maybe what she’s always wanted has been in front of her very eyes. But is it all too late now?

Thanks Caroline.  I'll also be reviewing Caroline's debut book When Love Takes Over, which I bought as a Christmas treat to myself, later this month so make sure you keep popping back to check it out.

If you'd like to know more about Caroline and her books, why not visit her website, Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.

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