After reading Lola's Secret and Odd One Out, I was blessed enough to get the chance to interview one of my new favorite authors : Monica Mcinerney. From her home in Dublin all the way across the internet to my little country home here in victoria- Australia I welcome you all to pot of tea and some scones and a wonderful interviews with a lovely lady- Enjoy - Blair
I do not own any photographs features in my reviews.
Monica McInerney Q&A
1. What is your secret to keeping track of all the unique and intricate elements and details in your novels?
I have a good memory, luckily, so I find it easy to keep all the twists and turns and characters in my mind as I’m writing. I also immerse myself completely in each book, spending hours each day writing, editing and re-reading, so my fictional story starts to feel more real than my real life!
2. What inspires the Australian backdrops in your novels? What is your favourite place in Australia?
I was born and grew up in Australia and for the past 20 years have moved back and forth between Ireland (my husband’s home country) and Australia. They are the two countries I know best in the world and both feature strongly as settings in my novels. My favourite place in Australia is the Clare Valley, where I grew up. It’s not only beautiful, with its gentle hills and vineyards and lots of small towns, but it also holds many special family memories for me.
3. What is your favourite place in the world, and why?
Apart from the Clare Valley (and the city of Melbourne and the Phoenix Park in Dublin and the Hill of Tara in County Meath and dozens of other places around the world) my favourite place to be is with my husband, my mother, my three sisters, three brothers and our tribe of nieces and nephews.
4. What is your process of plotting and outlining?
I start with one main character, and slowly build a life around her, her family members, her life history, her work, asking myself question after question. What would happen if...? What would this person do if that person said that? What if her life suddenly changed…? Scene by scene and page by page, the story begins to unfold.
5. Do you read short stories or novels?
I read short stories, novels, poetry, newspapers, magazines, memoirs, history books, recipe books, children’s books – anything I can get my hands on.
6. What music inspires your stories – if any?
I listen to a lot of music while I’m writing. It can be a great help to get me into a particular mood necessary to the story. If I’m writing a fun scene, I’ll often play lots of joyous pop music just to lift my own spirits. The book I’m writing at the moment has a very sad backstory, so I’m listening to a lot of slow classical music, as well as Kate Bush’s new album 50 Words for Snow, which is so layered and full of atmosphere. I also listen to a lot of male singer-songwriters when I’m writing scenes from my male characters’ point of view – their songs remind me that men feel emotions as deeply as women.
7. What or who inspired your passion for writing?
I’m a writer because I’m a reader. I’ve loved books since I was a child, and I was lucky to have great parents and teachers who encouraged me and kept my supply of books flowing. I still read 2 or 3 books every week. It felt like the natural next step for me to try to write stories myself.
8. What ignited the idea and passion behind Lola’s Secret?
An unusual set of circumstances. I was in Australia in October 2010 on a book tour to promote At Home with the Templetons. Along the way, people seemed to keep mentioning my fourth novel The Alphabet Sisters, telling me that it had made them laugh and cry, and that they had loved the Irish grandmother character of Lola Quinlan in particular. I was very touched, because it has always been a special book to me. On the final week of the tour, a missed flight meant I had to spend an unexpected night in a motel in the Clare Valley, the setting for The Alphabet Sisters. I went to sleep thinking about that book, and Lola, and being back in my home town, and Christmas approaching and what that meant to me and how it was sometimes a difficult time for people…. I woke up at 5am with the entire plot of Lola’s Secret in my head.
9. Do you prefer once off stories or recurring character stories?
I enjoy both. I’ve written nine novels, and four of them feature the same characters – Spin the Bottle is the sequel to Upside Down Inside Out and Lola’s Secret is the sequel to The Alphabet Sisters. All the others are stand alone stories.
10. What is your idea of the perfect Christmas?
Being with friends and family, with snow outside if I’m in Ireland, a cool breeze outside if I’m in Australia, plenty of good food, wine, conversations and lots of laughing. Actually, I like all of those things even if it’s not Christmas!