I am bubbling over with excitement today as I was given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for one of my all time favourite authors, the wonderful Sinéad Moriarty. Sinéad’s new novel, The Way We Were is released on the 24th March and you can pre-order your copy here. I was over the moon to be able to quiz Sinéad about her writing, reading habits and discover her thoughts on some of her previous novels. (I was not at all star-struck. Ok, maybe a bit…)
Hi Sinéad welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview, I’m thrilled to have you on my blog! Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
My name is Sinead Moriarty. I live in Dublin with my husband, three kids and black cat. I have been writing novels for thirteen years and absolutely love what I do. It is such a privilege to do something you love for a living and I never take it for granted!
Can you tell us a bit about your new novel, The Way We Were (released in paperback on the 24th March 2016 with Penguin) and your inspiration behind the story?
The idea for the Way We Were had been percolating in the back of my mind for years. I just couldn’t figure out a way to make the story work.
Back in the late 1980s Brian Keenan and John McCarthy, among others, were kidnapped and taken hostage in Beirut. They remained in captivity for over four years and when they were finally released the two men talked about this incredible friendship that had kept them sane. You could see the deep connection and love between them.
To this day they are best friends and the bond between them remains. I was always fascinated by this and by the fact that John McCarthy’s girlfriend campaigned so tirelessly to get him released and then when he was released everyone presumed they’d end up together…but in fact they broke up and he married someone else.
I wanted to somehow write a book with some of these themes worked into the storyline.
The Way We Were is about a married couple, Ben and Alice, who have two teenage daughters and who love each other deeply but are going through a bump in their marriage.
Like all relationships theirs has got a bit stale. Ben is feeling restless. He’s having a mid-life crisis. Is this it? He wonders. He feels his life has become mundane and is slipping through his fingers. He wants to shake things up, to feel vibrant again. Ben craves adventure and when someone offers him the opportunity to have that adventure he jumps at the chance.
Ben’s fellow surgeon asks him to go to Africa, to Eritrea to operate with another colleague, Declan. Ben knows there is a risk involved as the country is very unstable, but he says yes.
He knows Alice will be worried about him, he knows it’s a dangerous place but he can’t wait to go and experience something new with a fellow surgeon.
Alice is furious and worried sick that something will happen to him. It turns out she was right and what happens next changes their lives forever.
The book is really about love and the power of memories. Alice needs to forget Ben to survive and be a good mother to their daughters, but he clings to her memory to keep himself alive.
What will happen to their lives? Can Ben survive? Will they ever see each other again? If they do, can they possibly get back to the way they were?
I wanted to explore the power of memory. I also wanted to look at how people change. What happens when the person you know so well is altered by life? When something happens to turn your life upside down and you have to change to survive, can you get back the way you were or are you permanently altered?
Is a happy ending possible for these two characters?
One of my favourite things about your books is that they are honest, funny and yet heartfelt at the same time. I love them all but I’d say that This Child of Mine is one of my all-time favourites. Do you have a favourite of all of the novels that you’ve written so far?
How nice of you to say so. I think my first book The Baby Trail will always have a special place in my heart because it was about infertility, inspired by my own struggles to conceive. I got pregnant shortly after I finished writing it. I truly believe writing the novel helped me get rid of a lot of angst and helped me get pregnant.
…Or how about a favourite character in any of your novels?
I actually love all my characters, even the awful ones – but I do have a special love for Clara in The Secrets Sisters Keep. She is a very unusual four-year-old girl and I fell in love with her.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an author?
Yes I always wanted to write. My Mum is a writer, she wrote children’s books based on famous Irish historical figures like James Joyce and WB Yeats. It was very inspiring for me to watch her writing when I was growing up. If I hadn’t become a writer – this will sound mad – but I always thought I’d like to design tennis clothes for women. I have no idea why I think this, but I do!
What advice would you give to any aspiring novelists out there?
My advice is: be passionate, be disciplined and don’t let knockbacks stop you (everyone gets knocked back at some point). Also, find a good editor, they are invaluable.
Who are your favourite authors and which type of books do you enjoy reading?
I read everything from nonfiction to fiction of all kinds – literary, crime, popular, romance…everything really. I’m in a book club and it’s great because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and makes me read books I might not necessarily pick up myself.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment?
I’m currently about a third of the way through my twelfth book. I’m at the point where I always get nervous and begin to wonder if it’s good enough….I hope it is!
A huge thank you to Sinéad for answering my questions and to Rose at Penguin for having me on board the blog tour. ♥