This time last year I was looking to start something new. I’d just sent off an entry to the Greenbean Novel Fair and I was in the form for writing. Or talking about writing. Or just, learning.
Whenever I see an author interview I am always drawn to it. I like to know how people do things. Like physically how. What is their routine? Was is always like that? Why?
It may be the journalism training. It may be the pure nosiness and curiosity on my part. Or it may be the truth – that I want to do know how others do it so that I can be just like them.
And so How I Write was born and I undertook an author interview series, inviting up and coming, just published or long established writers to talk about how they go about their craft.
The series is now just shy of a year old. 40 writers have told me about how they write. And this week, as I scanned the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards shortlist I realised just how many writers I have gotten to know in that time.
In this post I look back on the How I Write interviews with those who have been shortlisted, to give a reminder of the writers behind the books, the work behind the pages, the spark that set them off in the first place.
As the series is now a year old and I will be spending time on my own writing as well as my expanding family, How I Write interviews will be less sporadic in the coming months – but they will still be popping up now and then. It’s funny that in the past year, as I have worked on the series and sought out writers who interested me, I have manged to complete my own novel. I have been more than inspired. I have learned from the best.
In no particular order here are highlights of some of the interviews featured with the Irish Book Awards authors in How I Write or on LadyNicci blog over the past year. Congratulations to all those shortlisted and best of luck on the night itself.
Shortlisted Best Newcomer Category for Red Dirt, Published by Head of Zeus
“I hadn’t intended to start looking for an agent until I felt the book was nearly done. In the meantime though, I was scouted by Sinead Gleeson for Mulcahy Associates. On meeting with Sallyanne Sweeney in London, I had a good feeling that we’d be compatible, that she felt passionate about the premise of the novel and that she liked my writing style. I admired her intelligence, work ethic and determination and signed with her. So I was very lucky in getting an agent.”
Read the full interview with EM Reapy here.
Shortlisted Children’s Book of the Year, Senior for The Book of Shadows, Published by Mercier Press
“Once I decided to concentrate on writing books, once I realised this was what I really wanted to do and it mattered to me, I knew that I would keep going until I got published. I changed my entire lifestyle for writing and I believed I could get there – it was just a matter of time. Rejection is tough, but it is part of the process. And if you give up, you have zero chance of succeeding. I was prepared to keep going for as long as needed.”
Read the full interview with ER Murray here.
Shortlisted Best Newcomer Category for The Things I Should Have Told You published by Harper Collins
“My manuscript was sticking out from under the bed,” she told us. “Just lying there. And my daughter was starfished in the cot. I looked at my daughter and I thought, you can achieve anything you want in the world, I want you to reach all your goals and your dreams and then I thought – what about my dreams? What sort of example am I setting? So I went into my husband and I told him I needed to speak with him and I sat him down and I told him I was going to publish my book.”
This quote above is taken from the post I wrote on attending Carmel’s pre-launch event in Dublin for book bloggers
Shortlisted Popuar Fiction Book of the Year for The Girl at the Savoy published by Harper Collins
“I’m inspired by the past. I’m naturally drawn to people and events from history – it all fascinates me. My first two novels were set in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras (one inspired by Titanic and the other by the flower sellers of Covent Garden). The Girl From The Savoy took me into the years of the Great War and the 1920s, which were both new periods for me to research. I love that process of discovery. Often it’s an image from the era, or a person or event I read about that first ignites the creative spark, then I let my imagination take over to tell my fictional interpretation of that event or person or era.”
Read the full interview with Hazel Gaynor here.
Catherine Ryan Howard
Shortlisted Crime Fiction Book of the Year for Distress Signals published by Corvus Books
“Well, it was 12.59pm on Monday March 23rd 2015 (yes, I do know to the minute) and I was getting ready to leave for college – I’d a Romanticism lecture at two. The phone rang and I saw the UK country code, so I figured it was my agent, Jane… BUT my novel had only gone out on submission the previous Thursday and she’d told me it could be months before we heard anything, so I thought she was just calling about something else. When I picked up, she said, “We have an offer.” It was a pre-empt which meant we only had until close of business that day to decide whether or not to take it. It’s funny, because in all the years I imagined the moment, I always burst into tears with the relief. But when it actually happened, I was as cool as a cucumber.”
Read the full interview with Catherine Ryan Howard here.
Voting is now open in the awards. The public voting is worth 50% so you can make a difference and see your favourite book take home a prize on the night. Cast your vote here.