Hello all – here’s me busy at work, trying hard to come up with another bestseller! September’s been quite manic, but mostly in a good way. On the home front, two of my brothers have returned from overseas, where they live and work. Colm, a Redemptorist priest, has been based in the Philippines since his ordination twenty-five years ago. He comes home every couple of years, and a few of us have been out to visit him. The Philippines is a beautiful place, both in terms of landscape and people – I travelled there with my mother about 4 years ago and we were utterly charmed by the warmth of the welcome we received, usually from the poorest of the poor – typically, the people Colm spends most of his time with. (I wrote here about that experience, I was reminded of it in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which caused so much destruction there last year – scroll down a bit if you want to read it). Colm will be with us till the beginning of November, so we’ll have plenty of time to catch up. And because this year is his silver jubilee we held a celebration last week to mark the occasion – actually we had two – and invited all and sundry to join us. Lovely to spend some time with people you mightn’t meet that often, and a hooley is a great excuse to round everyone up.
Another brother, Ciaran, returned from California where he’s been living for the past several years – pic shows him and Colm walking in County Clare a few days ago. Ciaran’s planning to stay for a few months too so we’re having lots of chats around my parents’ kitchen table, or heading out for walks in the evenings. Interesting for Colm and Ciaran to compare the different directions their lives have taken: Ciaran is a computer programmer, living just outside San Francisco (he says his proper title is ‘computer architect’, but I suspect he’s making that up to impress us!) It’s lovely for Mam and Dad to have the boys around the place, and they’re fairly good at not making too much work for their hosts…I’m keeping an eye on that side of things – bossy big sister strikes! Of course Mam, being the quintessential Irish mother, just LOVES fussing over her sons, and does far more than they’d expect her to, but you might as well talk to the wall as try to stop her!
On the books front, I’ve sent off Two Fridays in April to my editor and agent, and I’m waiting now for their feedback. In the meantime, I want to pull out some children’s books I’ve written over the past few years for various age groups and have another look at them. I’d love to have another children’s book published – I’d particularly love to bring out a picture book for very young children – and now’s my chance before I have to dive back into Two Fridays in April to fix all the things I’ll be told are wrong with it! The cover is being designed as we speak – I saw an early version of it and it looks very promising, but I’m not allowed to flash it here or anywhere until it’s been finalised and approved. You’ll be the first to see it, promise! And publication date is March 18 – not sure if I knew that the last time I wrote here – so you won’t feel it….
For the non-Irish readers among you, our weather’s been incredibly mild, almost balmy, for most of September. The nights are drawing in, of course – it’s now getting dark around 8.00pm – but the central heating has stayed off most of the time, and I’ve lit my first fire today after the summer, purely because I took a TUMBLE earlier today – didn’t see a bump in the path, galloping along like I usually do, went SPLAT, mortifying – and now I’m feeling a little bumped and bruised and in need of some pampering!
Oh, one other thing. This most adorable little kitten has moved in across the road (here she’s asleep on one of my kitchen chairs – see her pearl necklace???) She comes visiting now and again, appears on my windowsill and mews loudly until I let her in. It’s made me really want a cat of my own again, after losing my two ladies over the past couple of years – not sure how long more I’ll be able to hold out without one. I was waiting until after the summer so I’d be more grounded in Limerick, and not heading off to the mobile home every so often, but I’m off to Rome in a week or so, and in November I’m heading to Lanzarote for a week, and I don’t like the thought of leaving a new arrival until he/she is well settled in….so maybe after Lanzarote I’ll have a look around. In the meantime, my new little neighbour will fill the gap nicely.
Right, time to stop, or I’ll put you all to sleep! Take care,
…and what do you know? It’s been pretty fine in Ireland for the past few weeks. Now when I say pretty fine you must bear in mind, if you live outside Ireland, that our standards are quite low when it comes to judging the weather. For us, a day in summer that’s tolerably mild and rain-free is a pretty damn good one – and lately it seems to me that we’ve been seeing a fairly respectable proportion of days with blue skies (blue skies!!!) and bursts of sunshine (!!!) and temperatures for the most part have been a little better (and occasionally a lot better) than we’ve come to expect in June. So hopes are high – well, mine are anyway – that the Irish summer of 2014 will deliver the goods and turn out not too bad at all. Fingers tightly crossed – because I’ve already had my ration of overseas sun (Lanzarote a few weeks ago) and now I’m tethered to Ireland till September (another little trip planned then – shhhh!)
Weather apart, life has been busy. Both parents, mid-eighties, have had health problems over the past several weeks. Thankfully, nothing too life-threatening, but worrying enough to have me tossing and turning at night even more than usual (if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that I occasionally enjoy a good night’s sleep, in between other nights of counting sheep and thinking up the next bit of the current plot). But thankfully things are looking a little more hopeful now, and life is returning to something closely resembling normal. Now that I’m no longer needed on a daily basis in Limerick I’ve migrated to my mobile home in County Clare and am currently putting a shape on book number eleven, due for publication in February 2015. Sneaky preview: story is set over two days in April, four weeks apart, and the voices that tell it are five female ones. It’s a tricky one to write – a challenge to keep the pace up when there’s so little time to play with – but one I’m enjoying. Let’s see how it turns out.
In other news, did you see my last post about my fraught relationship with running? If you missed it, scroll down and have a read, I’ll wait…………well, I’m currently psyching myself up to have another go, what with the good weather and all, and meeting a few running-friendly writers at Hachette’s recent summer party who fired up my enthusiasm. I’m going back to Limerick tomorrow to dust down my running gear and bring it back here – and off I’ll sally again. Wish me luck. I’ll try and be honest about how successful (???) I am this time. I’m on the coast here, so running along the side of the Atlantic will be inspiring, right? All that gorgeous salty sea air….watch this space. I’m also doing a little Pilates in the mornings to counteract the sitting-around-writing-all-day business. I try, I do try.
Another writing bit of info – I’m thinking of sneaking back to Roone again. Yes, this would be the third time, and my first trilogy. Gosh. The thing about Roone is it just won’t go out of my head. Every so often I find myself back there, wondering how everyone is doing. I may have to hop on the ferry and pay another visit…..Hachette wants a Christmas 2015 book – what do you think? Christmas on Roone? The other two have been set in the middle of summer; might be interesting to see what it’s like in mid-December. All I need is someone running a B&B there who decides to offer a Christmas and New Year break……..hmm.
Happy sunshine, wherever you are – and even if it’s not sunny, I hope you have some in your heart. And thank you so much for the continued lovely messages I receive from satisfied readers on a daily basis. They make my day, they really do, and I am truly grateful.
Just realised I haven’t posted anything up here since March 5 – good lord, apologies to anyone who was wondering what’s happening with me. I’m home from Italy – home a long time at this stage, it’s almost a distant memory – and After the Wedding was well and truly launched two weeks ago – pic above of the night, me in full flight in O’Mahony’s Bookshop. The good news is that After the Wedding has just entered the Irish top ten at number nine – barely in, but hopefully it’ll climb higher – and I’m catching my breath now and moving on with the next masterpiece – AHEM! This one will be accompanying me through the summer, most of which I hope to be spending at the coast in County Clare, where I’m lucky enough to own a mobile home. Fingers crossed for a summer like last one – we’re still pinching ourselves that we got several weeks of very decent sunshine….can it come again? Maybe if we’re very very good…….
Apart from writing, not much to report. My parents, both of whom are in their mid-eighties, have both been having a few health problems lately. Nothing too serious, but enough to put them out of sorts a bit, poor things. We’ve had a few trips to the A&E department of our local hospital, where the conditions are challenging to say the least, but the staff are wonderful in their efforts to be cheerful and reassuring – don’t know how they do it under the circumstances.
My poor old cat has disappeared. She went awol while I was in Italy, and when I heard, I imagined she was just lying low, out of sorts a bit maybe that I wasn’t around, and I assumed she’d reappear when I came home, but not so. She’s been gone now for well over a month, so I’m beginning to suspect that she ain’t coming back. She was an oldie, about fifteen or thereabouts, so maybe she guessed her time was up and went off somewhere quiet for the occasion….I must say I miss her about the place, although she never made much noise. I might look for a kitten or two in the autumn, when I’m finished gallivanting for another year.
Look after yourselves – I’ll try not to leave it so long next time,
Hope this finds everyone in good spirits, having survived what turned out to be a very challenging couple of months weather-wise since Christmas, in Ireland and the UK at any rate. Such storms and floods are thankfully a rarity here – albeit slightly more commonplace over the last few years – but hopefully we’ve seen the last of them now till at least next winter. Today in Limerick it’s calm and dry, and I fancy there’s an air of spring about the place. It might be wishful thinking, but I’m going to go on wishing and thinking. Certainly things are budding in the garden, which is always a sight to gladden the heart and put me in mind of the long summer days ahead. Here’s hoping. (And by the way, did the regulars notice my spring-cleaned website? I asked my designer, Annette Thompson, http://www.meldrummedia.com, to freshen it up a bit and put in some new snaps I got taken lately by the very creative Eva Birdthistle, http://www.evabirdthistle.com – isn’t the whole thing looking rather well? I loved the green vibe, but it was time for a change. I’ve warned her that in a year’s time I’ll probably look for shocking pink. She’s fine with it.)
On the books front, it’s a busy time. After the Wedding, my sequel to One Summer, is just weeks away from hitting the shelves here (April 2 is the big day) and I’m currently chasing up all my media contacts and nagging them for a mention. I’ll also be writing a few features and begging the mags and newspapers to take them, so look out for my name over the coming weeks. As Mr Tesco says, every little helps. And there’s going to be a launch in Limerick, so if you’re anywhere local do drop in to O’Mahony’s Bookshop on Wed April 9 at 6.30 to see After the Wedding being sent off into the world. Scary Mary time for an author – but I’m heartened by all the lovely messages I get from satisfied writers, and so grateful that people take the time to look me up and drop the few lines. It means so much, and it’s wonderful to think of the books making their way around the world – no idea how some of them end up in the places they do, but I’m not going to question it!
I’ll be packing my bags for Italy at the end of the week. Poor old cat will have to manage without me for a month, but she’ll be fed and watered and well looked after while I’m gone. I’m hoping to have the guts of a new book coming home with me – plot, characters and maybe even a few thousand words, all going well. Fingers crossed everyone please! I’ve been trying to learn a bit of the lingo and I have the basics, I think. To be on the safe side, I’ve also learned scusi, non capisco, which I suspect will come in mighty handy… Should be an interesting trip; will report back in due course. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed, @roisinmeaney, for on the spot feedback.
Right, time to spring clean my house – it’s looking a little worse than the wreck of the Hesperus at the moment. Now, where did I leave that bucket and mop?
Well, I do hope you’re all enjoying 2014 so far. I’ve had a busy few weeks since I hung the new calendar in the kitchen. First, I signed up for a fresh term of Pilates classes, just an hour once a week but I tell myself it’s better than no hours, right? Then a few days later, a leaflet came through the letter-box advertising Bikram yoga classes in a studio on the other side of town. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Bikram yoga is practised in near-sauna conditions: within about 5 minutes of the class you’re absolutely ROASTING, and there are 90 minutes in every class! I’d taken a few Bikram classes back in 2001 when I was living in San Francisco (where I’d gone for a year to write The Daisy Picker – happy days) and I decided to give it another go, so I signed up for a 30 day membership. So far I’ve gone to 4 classes, and boy are they tough: i crawl out of the place afterwards. I suspect I won’t be renewing this particular membership when the 30 days are up…..I’ve also registered to run a half marathon in May, despite the fact that I haven’t run since before Christmas….help! I’m planning to launch into a training programme on Feb 1 – fingers crossed I’ll summon up the willpower from somewhere!
On the writing front, I’ve just submitted a new book to a few places, and I’m waiting for the various reactions – watch this space. I’ve also written a short story set in Kenya for an e-book of travel-themed stories. The book is the second in the Sunloungers series that started last year, and like the first it’s a collection of stories by different authors, each story set in a different holiday location. Here’s some info on the first collection, in case you’re looking for holiday reading before the second comes out in June: http://www.va-va-vacation.com/sunlounger-chick-lit-stories. And I’ll shortly be starting a new novel, casting about at the moment for a suitable theme. Feel free to give a shout with your suggestions – what would you like to read about?
And my big news – I’m spending the entire month of March in Italy, by the sea! I just decided on impulse (most of my decisions are impulsive, some wiser than others) to pack up the laptop and relocate someplace beautiful for a month. I’m bringing the laptop, of course – it’ll be a working holiday, but I’ll be making the most of being in one of my favourite countries, and making time to get out and about in the (hopefully) better weather. I’ve also begun learning the language, so if I do my homework between this and then I should be able (just about) to make myself understood with the locals. Can’t wait! And maybe there’ll be a story set in Italy sometime…..
I have written 48,908 words of a new book. Every now and again, usually when I’m lying in bed, I wonder if they’re any good. I presume all writers experience self-doubt from time to time – at least, I hope they do! The new book is quite different from anything that’s gone before it. It’s darker and edgier and grittier – I think it is anyway. I hope it is. I’m hoping I can pull it off. It’s going to be shorter than the other books too – I’d say it’ll come to a natural end in another 10,000 words or so, so it’ll be more of a novella than a novel. I have no publishing deal for it: this is something I decided to try as a kind of sideways step from my usual publisher commitments, so I’m just hoping someone wants it when it’s finished. And just to give you an idea of what it’s about – it’s set in the aftermath of a murder, two years afterwards, and it’s located in a small rural community in Ireland, where everyone knows everyone else. There are six main characters, drawn predominantly from two local families, the family of the murdered person and the family of the person who was convicted of the murder, and the book will span just six days, beginning on a Monday and ending on the following Saturday. Now that’s enough to keep you going – fingers crossed that it will see the light of day sometime!
In other news, the sequel to One Summer has officially been named: say hello to After the Wedding. The cover has been chosen too, but I must check with my editor before I show it here – not sure if it’s been finalised yet, and she may not want me flashing it around quite yet. I like it, though, it’s very fresh and colourful – and not too pink at all! I’ll put it up here as soon as I get the go-ahead. Must find out when publication is too, not sure when exactly it’s going to hit the shelves but it’ll be sometime in the spring. Will keep you all posted. Otherwise I’m doing a bit of school visiting to talk to the children about what it’s like to be a writer, and to answer their questions (How much money do you get? Do you know any famous writers? Will you put us into your next book? etc!) I love these visits – it’s great to get a break from writing, and of course I have a soft spot for little people. I visited a playschool last week to tell some stories, and the children were so sweet, all wanting to give me hugs and kisses! And of course I have my regular storytelling at my local library, first Saturday of each month, another lovely break from the laptop.
And just in case you’re wondering about the picture I’ve chosen for this post, it’s the box of books I got when Something in Common hit the shelves as a paperback at the beginning of the month. I’ve had no sales reports yet, but it’s been spotted all over the place – I have my spies everywhere! – and I’ve seen it myself in lovely top shelf positions in Dunnes and Tesco. Fingers crossed!
So I’d better get back to work, hoping to get first draft of the new book done by Christmas. Hope you’re all looking forward to the holiday. I’ll be cooking the turkey for seven this year, God help them all!
Hope you’re all well and happy as we head into another Irish winter – not that you’d think it, with the weather so amazingly mild and dry lately. I’ve just got back from a week in my home county of Kerry, where I visited no less than eight libraries to talk to local schoolchildren about books and reading and stories and all things literary. It was part of Children’s Book Festival which happens every October in libraries throughout the country, with the aim of promoting books to the youngsters by having them interact with writers and poets and illustrators and just anyone connected with the literary world. I love these events as they get me out and about, and back in touch with little people (since I gave up teaching I miss my little people) but I’ve got a bit behind in the writing schedule so tomorrow it’s head down and back to work.
And speaking of work, Something in Common is due out in paperback on November 1, so if you were waiting for the smaller (and cheaper) size, you don’t have long to wait. Cover is virtually the same as the big one (which I loved) just a little tweaked:
In other news, the cover hasn’t been picked yet for the sequel to One Summer which is due out in the spring, but it will soon have a definite title – editor and I are pretty much argued out, and close to agreement! And the book after that (puff pant) is progressing nicely, and I hope to have first draft completed by Christmas. We’ll see…
I’ll be heading back shortly to one of my favourite parts of Ireland; on November 6 I’m doing a reading in Whyte Books (www.whytebooks.com) in the lovely village of Schull in West Cork (attached pic is part of Schull’s delightful main street), so if you’re anywhere in the vicinity please drop in; I’d be delighted to see you. I made the acquaintance of Sheila, the owner of Whyte Books, at an event there in September, when no less a celeb than Jeremy Irons put in an appearance. I shook hands with the divine Jeremy (those eyes!) and pestered his poor wife Sinead Cusack until she bought a copy of Something in Common. Hope she enjoyed it!
Right, it’s time for me to get into pjs and cosy up for the night with the cat. Take care, everyone – Roisin xx
Where is the year going? It seems like just a few weeks ago we were crossing our fingers and hoping for a decent summer – and now the togs and towels are packed away for another year and autumn has pretty much arrived in Ireland. For the past few days I’ve been throwing on an extra layer of clothing, trying to resist turning on the heating, but last night I gave in and lit the fire in the sitting room. I pretended it was for my parents who were coming to dinner – my mother in particular, at the ripe old age of 85, feels the cold – but I was pretty glad of it myself too. The Irish summer of 2013 will rank as a pretty good one when we look back though, particularly when we compare it to the last few dire ones, when the sun seemed to be permanently on holidays somewhere else!
In other news, I splashed out and bought myself a bread-making machine. My first effort was atrocious – I was going to post a picture but my pride forbade it. The loaf looked like a mutant mushroom with a whitish-grey top, so you can imagine it yourself. Serves me right for tweaking the recipe. The second one was halfway decent, and the third which I baked yesterday looks promising although I’ve yet to taste it. I’m planning lots of homemade soup and crusty bread this winter. (The accompanying pic actually shows loaves I baked before the arrival of the machine – not bad, hey? Wondering now in fact why I bothered getting the machine…)
On the books front, the sequel to One Summer (title still up for grabs) has been very well received by my editor – for the first time she didn’t look for ANY changes before sending it on to the copy-editor, so that’s good. It will hit Irish shelves sometime in the spring (which is just around the corner, at the rate time is flying) – and while I’m waiting for it to come back from the copy-editor I’ve begun a new book (well, you have to keep busy, right?) and I’m about 50 pages in so far. This one is set in a rural Irish community in the middle of winter. It’s going to span just five days and centre around two neighbouring families as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event….quite different to anything that’s gone before. That’s all I’m saying for now – apart from the fact that I need to interview a sheep farmer for some info, which I’m doing tomorrow. He’ll get a kick, I’m sure, from the city girl’s questions, which will reveal the enormous depth of my ignorance regarding all things sheepish. Not sure why I needed to put a sheep farmer into the tale, but he’s there, and must be treated with respect. I’m going to bake my real life farmer a cake in the morning to say thanks – hope he’s got a sweet tooth.
A big thank you to all who get in touch to say nice things about the books: it means more than I can say. The other day I got a lovely email from a reader in New Zealand – wonderful to think of my stories making their way all the way to the other side of the world. Now all I need is for someone to offer me a book tour…..I can be packed in ten minutes.
Take care, and happy days – Roisin xx
Well, I’m a happy camper today, because yesterday – ta-dah – I sent off the finished manuscript of my tenth book, the sequel to One Summer (which if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know was my eighth adult novel, published in Ireland in 2012), so I have a bit of a breather now until it comes bouncing back from Hachette with a gazillion ‘suggested’ changes…..! This book wasn’t the easiest to write – maybe because it was my first sequel – but I loved going back to the island of Roone and reacquainting myself with all the characters. It’s two years later, and again the story takes place over the summer months. It’s due for publication here next spring, and I do hope you like it! But in the meantime I’ve had some ideas for new plots, so I’ll be mulling over them for the next while, putting a few storylines together, creating characters etc. Cue lots of sleepless nights – I can’t seem to switch off when I’m plotting – but I don’t mind, all part of the fun of being a writer.
Today, to celebrate my temporary freedom from the editing business, I went on a long. long walk in County Clare, There’s a new off-road trail between Liscannor and Doolin that hugs the coast pretty much all the way, and takes in the majestic cliffs of Moher (see pic). As you can imagine, the views are stunning, and today the sun obliged and shone for the six hours I was walking, so it couldn’t have been a better experience. I had a restorative sandwich when I got to the tiny village of Doolin, which holds many happy memories from my teens and twenties, when I travelled there regularly with pals for weekends. For those of you who don’t know it, tiny as it is, Doolin is practically world-famous for its rich traditional Irish music culture – you can’t go far without hearing a fiddle or a bodhrán – and every summer it attracts music-loving visitors from around the world. It was buzzing today as usual, and I relished the atmosphere as I sat on a barstool giving my feet a break and listening to the myriad languages all around me. If the walls of O’Connor’s pub could talk…….! And Doolin pier offers regular boat trips to Inis Oirr, one of the beautiful Irish-speaking Aran islands, so there’s plenty happening there.
On the European front, my second Italian translation hit the shelves in May, around the same time as Something in Common was published here in Ireland. Cose incredibili che facciamo per amore is a translation of The Things We Do for Love (which was published in the US in 2012 as Life Drawing for Beginners – all very confusing!) I hope it did well in Italy – sadly, the writer is the last to be told if sales are good!
Well, I’m off to soak my feet in some bubbly water, and maybe reward my exercise with a glass of some other bubbly liquid……..happy summer to everyone, hope the sun is shining for you, Will keep you posted on the sequel – (title still up for grabs; if anyone has a suggestion, feel free to run it by me!)
Well, it’s been a while. What can I say that won’t sound like an excuse for neglecting my blog? Probably best if I come clean and tell the truth…..(deep breath)….I forgot. My non-existent memory acted true to form and didn’t bother reminding me that I hadn’t blogged for ages. Should put a reminder in the phone, I suppose. Must try and remember to do that.
Actually, I’ve been quite busy. First there was the week in Lanzarote at the beginning of May. That went well, usual blue skies and sunshine, conveniently located close to a sandy beach. I lizarded for much of the time (well protected, I can assure you) and it was pure bliss. People who don’t live in Ireland may not appreciate the utter joy it is for us to wake up to guaranteed sunshine each morning, to gaze up and see blue skies above us as we go through the day, to stretch out in bed at night, secure in the knowledge that the sun will be back in the morning. It’s a phenomenon we’re willing to pay big money for, which is why we’re so broke right now.
On the books front, I’m two thirds of the way through the sequel to One Summer. I’m heading off to a writer’s and artist’s residency tomorrow for a week of uninterrupted writing – well, the writing will be briefly interrupted by the stupendously wonderful and calorie-laden dinner which will be served up to me each evening. I will return home tomorrow week with a new half stone (eight pounds) to shift, and I will achieve this with a three day juice regime every week for as many weeks as it takes, accompanied by long brisk daily walks. Can’t wait. No, really.
I’ve also been visiting various schools and libraries, talking to children and their parents about the joys of reading/books/writing. I love escaping from the laptop for a few hours, and it’s a bonus if I’m meeting a group of youngsters. The only thing I miss about my teaching job is the company of little folk; their innocence and charm is heartwarming.
And from next month on, I will be relocating to my mobile home in County Clare to spend what we laughingly call the summer over here. I will complete the first draft of my sequel and each day when I’ve finished my writing quota I will ignore the rain and walk the roads and swim in the sea and drink Guinness when it presents itself.
Happy summer, wherever you are (unless you’re in the other hemisphere, in which case, hang in there: summer will be back before you know it.)