Hello to all – just checking in, a while since I wrote. The good news is that the next book, The Anniversary, is taking shape; I’m about two thirds of the way through the first draft so there’s still a long way to go but it’s heading in the right direction. Still not sure where everyone is going to end up, but I’m trusting that they’ll let me know at some stage! I’ll soon be seeing a cover, always a scary prospect…..hopefully I’ll breathe a sigh of relief when I see it! And of course I’ll share it here as soon as I’m allowed. The Anniversary is due on the shelves next May or June, all going well. Hard to believe it’s number 15 – where do the years go? I do hope anyone who was kind enough to read The Street Where You Live enjoyed it.
In other news I’ve been laid low since April with some muscle condition – doctors are still scratching their heads to give me a diagnosis but I’m on steroids so hopefully it’ll go as quickly as it came. I’m stiff and sore all over – I suspect I need my dose of miracle drugs upped – but I’m able to write, thankfully. The mixed bag of an Irish summer was a little disappointing but I’m off to say hello to the Spanish sun for a week soon, and I intend to do serious battery recharging as I lie on the beach and lap up the vitamin D, or pretend I know how to swim in the sea!
Hope all had a good summer (or winter, if you’re from Down Under). Till next time, take care and mind yourselves,
When I was casting around for a theme for my new novel, I was having coffee with my mother in her house one morning – and I’m not sure how it happened, but the subject of Mam’s one-time penfriend Maura came up. And the second it did, I knew I’d found my theme.
Here’s the story. When Mam was a young married woman (and I was still a twinkle in my father’s eye) she read a letter from another woman in the Irish Independent. The subject matter was something to do with teaching – we’ve never pinned Mam down as to what exactly Maura was saying – and Mam, being an ex-teacher (she’d had to give up when she got married) disagreed with the point being made and wrote to Maura to tell her as much.
Long story short, they corresponded for over twenty years. Mam lived in Tipperary and later moved to Limerick; Maura was in Dublin throughout. They never met.
Maura’s letters were priceless. We all looked forward to them. They were written on the backs of used envelopes, bits of cardboard boxes and scraps of whatever paper seemed to be to hand. Reading them involved piecing the various bits together, like a verbal jigsaw. And the content was another matter: her life seemed to be made up of one drama after another. I won’t go into detail here in case any member of her family happens to read this, but we relished the catastrophes and calamities that each letter brought.
In due course the letters stopped – ‘they just fizzled out,’ Mam says – and some years after that my father spotted Maura’s death notice in the paper. End of an era. They’d shared so much for so long, and had never come face to face.
It was inspiring. I was inspired. And even though Helen and Sarah aren’t a bit like Mam or Maura, I hope Something in Common captures some of the intrigue, and the sort-of poignancy, of a long-established friendship conducted solely on paper.
And I hope Maura would approve.