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 out there – as of a few days ago Something in Common is sitting on a bookshop shelf near you, waiting to see what everyone thinks of it. Very scary time, always on tenterhooks until I get a feel of the reaction – and thankfully the comments from readers of review copies have been good so far. Will be keeping an eye on the bestseller list over the next few weeks…fingers crossed, everyone!
In other news, work is progressing nicely on my sequel to One Summer, which I’m calling Another Summer for the moment, but that may not stick. Have to say it took me a while to get my teeth into it – in my innocence, I imagined a sequel would be less work than a new one, as all the characters are there….not so. I realise now that the hard work is in finding something new and interesting to say about them! Hopefully I’ll pull it off.
Going on holidays today, heading to Lanzarote for a week of lying in the sun, if it’s there…someone on Twitter came home from there yesterday and weather reports were a little off-putting to say the least…bringing the laptop so it won’t be all rest and no work – need to keep the momentum going with the book so I’ll be putting in a few hours each day. Will try and time it so I’m writing when the clouds are out!
Pic is of one of my dwarf apple trees covered in blossom. Love this time of year, when even the gardens of mediocre gardeners (me) look smashing. Everything budding and greening up, perennials reappearing, shrubs growing steadily. The other day my little toddler nephew helped me to plant flower seeds – and when I say helped, I’m using BIG artistic licence – picture seeds being flung willy-nilly! So we’ll be keeping an eye on them over the next few weeks – hopefully about half of them landed roughly where they were supposed to! Of course they’re still in danger from my cat when she’s out and about and looking for a suitable spot to spend a penny…poor things, talk about odds being stacked against them…
Have a happy May, wherever you are. Hope the sun shines at least some of the time. Do let me know if you read Something in Common, I’m dying to hear what you think of it.
Is my new website not lovely? Put together by the brilliant Annette Thomson of http://www.meldrummedia.com in three shakes of a lamb’s tail – well, maybe slightly more than that, but VERY fast. I’m so clueless when it comes to anything technological – I’m using precisely 2% of my mobile phone’s whatsits and thingummyjigs – that anyone who can make things like websites gets my big respect. Thanks Nettie, much appreciated.
In other news, that there’s the cover for Something in Common on the left – what do you think? I have to say I LOVE IT! It’s actually the first time I’ve loved a cover from the minute I saw it, all the others had to grow on me.So I’m well pleased with this – hope you agree that it’s luverley.
And more news – I’ve made a start on the sequel to One Summer, and so far so good (she said crossing fingers tightly). It was so great to meet all my old pals on Roone – apart from one, who sadly is no longer with us since the last book (no, not him – someone else). And the excitement is growing as publication date approaches for Something in Common; well, not exactly approaches, it’s still two and a half months away, but I’ve pretty much finished with it, apart from checking it over when it comes back from the copy-editor and again from the proofreader. Saying goodbye to a book is always bittersweet for me, getting as ridiculously attached to my characters as I always do – what am I like!
Well, One Summer part two, or whatever it ends up being called, ain’t gonna write itself, so I’d better toddle off and get on with it. Be good!