Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Author Interview: Sheila O'Flanagan

Today on the blog it's Sheila O'Flanagan day so we'll be celebrating the bestselling author with a day full of features including this interview, a fabulous giveaway  plus reviews of both of her latest books Things We Never Say and If You Were Me.

What inspires your writing?
People, generally. I love watching people and wondering about them and sometimes that sets off an idea in my head for a novel. So there are people out there who don’t know that they inspired one of my books!

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book If You Were Me?
It’s the story of Carlotta, a sharp, sassy woman with a photographic memory, who misses a train in Seville and as a result bumps into her first love - the boy who disappeared when she was 15. Even though Carlotta is now happily engaged, she wants to know why Luke never got in touch with her again. His reappearance in her life makes her wonder what might have been…..It’s a love story with a lot of bumps along the way.

Where did the inspiration come from to set it partly in Seville? 
This one of my more romantic books and Seville is a very romantic and passionate city. The heat of the city reflects the heat of Carlotta’s emotions too! I loved bringing her around the lively bars and stunning scenery of the area and letting her get carried away by the sultry flamenco dancing.

After writing 20+ novels, do you still find inspiration for new stories comes fairly easily? 
I wouldn’t say easily but I always have lots of ideas for novels. It’s selecting the one that can be developed into a good story that can be the tricky bit.

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, are you able to give us a hint as to what it’s about? 
My next book (no title yet) is a family saga - in this case some long-hidden secrets are revealed at a surprise party and people’s lives are never the same again. 

Do you still see yourself writing in 20 years time?
I can’t imagine not writing but whether I’ll be writing to be published or just writing short stories or novels in a different genre just for the hell of it, I don’t know.

What’s the best thing about being an author?  And on the flip side what is the worst? 
The best part is being totally in control of your own day, and of the people you work with - who are basically the characters in your books. They can get stroppy and do unexpected things sometimes, but they never stab you in the back! The worst is that when you go through a difficult patch with writing (and every author does at some point) you can’t hand over the book to someone else and ask them to write a chapter for you.

Do you treat yourself to something special upon publication of each book? 
I’ve started to treat myself to a piece of jewellery :)

If you could go away to a writing retreat abroad, where would you like to go to?  
I’m very lucky because I have a house in Spain and that’s where I go to edit my books or any time I need to work in total isolation.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author just starting out? 
Write the book you want to write. Not the book that you think fits into a genre, or another author’s style, just what feels right for you. Also, don’t spend hours reading about how to write, just do it yourself. Find your own voice.

Check back this lunchtime for a fabulous giveaway and this afternoon for reviews of Things We Never Say and If You Were Me.

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