I have been writing all my life (aged eleven I ‘published’ a magazine called The White Elephant, aimed at the 8-12 year old north Longford demographic) but even more than magazines I wanted to write books. Beautiful, magical books.
Then again, ‘author’ isn’t exactly something you apply for through the CAO system, so I plumped for English and German at Trinity College Dublin instead. Then I interned in a fashion magazine and, after that, completed an MA in Writing at NUI Galway.
Even with a master’s under my belt though, the idea of becoming an author still seemed a bit pretentious (not to mention precarious) so I became a journalist instead. I worked for regional newspapers and a national parenting magazine and had lots of weird and wonderful experiences along the way while still working on my fiction on the side. Finally, sometime around 2012, I finished a novel and sent it to the literary agency, Curtis Brown, where it found its way to the amazing Sheila Crowley. She didn’t think the book was quite right for the market but did feel I could write and wanted to meet – ‘Write something else. You can do it,” she said encouragingly, thrusting a copy of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl into my hands.
And so I did.
Now, before you get the wrong idea and think Sisters and Lies poured out of me like some kind of long-dormant volcano, let me set you straight. The first part (about 20,000 words) went grand, but the rest remained staggeringly elusive. It took about 18 months of wailing and gnashing of teeth (and that was just my husband) but finally, finally it was done.
Then on holiday in Seville to celebrate my 36th birthday the phone rang: it was Sheila calling from London. Penguin Ireland wanted to buy my book.
“Yes,” I whispered and promptly slumped in corner (before getting up and going to a Flamenco dancing concert in Seville’s old quarter. To be honest the whole thing is a bit of a blur.)
But now it’s nearly a year later and Sisters and Lies is making its first tentative steps out into the world. I still work in media but now I can add author to the list.
I know the eleven-year-old me would be proud.