I was recently asked to do an interview for Bulgarian Cosmopolitan. I KNOW! When I was little, I thought my only chance of featuring in Cosmopolitan Magazine would be because my husband ran away with my mother, or for owning the world’s largest chihuahua. I’ve come a long way from The Limerick Leader.
And here it is pre-edit, in case anyone’s interested:-
I loved “Smart Casual”. What made you decide to write that book?
Why, thank you!
Look, to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing when I started Smart/Casual. How difficult could it be? – I could spell!
I had always been told ‘write what you know’, which is why I decided to set the story in a large corporation. I’ve always been intrigued by the workplace: every one is its own little microcosm with a unique set of politics, intrigue, villains and heroes. Office relationships are so tricky: even if you loathe them, you have to get along with your colleagues – a bit like your family, or the police.
Originally I conceived Smart/Casual as a satire of the Mills & Boon ‘she gasped as he pressed her to his glistening chest’ genre, but about five chapters in I feared that was a bit cheeky. Also, I was concerned the market for romance spoofs might be somewhat limited.
The book segued into a standard romance, until I got bored about halfway through and it turned into a kind of thriller romance supernatural murder-mystery, without the ghosts or corpses. Chick-lit if you prefer.
Don’t worry: it was edited a lot.
Has writing always been a passion of yours?
Not at all, I’d much prefer to be having sex.
I always liken writing to going to the gym: I put it off and put it off – I will vacuum rather than write. Then, when I get there, I am pleasantly surprised: hey! This isn’t so bad! And afterwards I feel all noble and worthy. In short: it’s a love/hate relationship.
However, I am passionate about making people laugh. I don’t have many talents (unless I count being able to play ‘chopsticks’ with my toes, which is difficult to work into a resume), but being able to write humour is one of them. I love having an outlet for that.
In the scheme of it, my grand passion – what makes my world go round – the one great love of my life – would have to be: coffee.
If it weren’t for caffeine, I would not be able to write and would probably have maimed and/or divorced my husband.
Do you find writing comedy difficult?
I think difficulty is relative to the type of writing you enjoy. For me, writing comedy is easier than ‘the moon rose like a silvery planet’ style of litter-chewer.
Jokes sometimes visit me at unexpected moments: driving, weeding, washing my hair. I always think I’ll remember them later, but never do. I’m convinced The World’s Best Joke Ever is one of those I thought of and forgot over the years.
I try to carry a notebook around to jot down creative brain burps. In desperate circumstances, I have pressed my hand into service, but then you have to find a pen . . . I find it easiest to record ideas on my phone, despite feeling like an arse talking to myself.
Otherwise, I write pretty much as I speak, although slightly more articulately (unbelievable as that may be). My friends who read Smart/Casual said they could hear my voice in their heads, complete with Irish pronunciation.
I can only imagine what a terrifying experience that must have been.
What is your writing process like? Do you have any special rituals or anything?
First I like to slaughter a chicken . . . oh wait, did you say special rituals for writing?
Apart from stapling myself to my desk, I don’t have a process as such. I wish I did, because it sounds much more effective than my random scattergun approach wherein I am often distracted by dolphins.
I can’t even open my laptop without a cup of coffee on emergency standby.
I like to write with my headphones on channelling Bruce Springsteen.
I prefer writing in the mornings, or just whenever I can pin myself down.
I beat myself with the guilty stick if I don’t write at least five hours a day.
I don’t believe in writers’ block. The most important thing is writing, preferably words. If stuck, I like the words ‘ficus’, ‘shinsplints’ and pretty much any swear word.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for taking time to read Smart/Casual and I hope you enjoy it. My second book, About Time, was published at the end of April this year. I would be delighted if you bought it, so that no more chickens must die.