I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be a part of the blog tour for Anna McPartlin’s new release, Somewhere Inside of Happy. Anna is such an incredible author and her books never fail to entice me, break my heart and then build it back up again. She is just such a wonderful author. So naturally I was thrilled to be given the chance to quiz her about her new novel, along with many other bookish topics…
Hi Anna 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…?
Hello, that’s so much for having me. I’m in my early forties. I have three dogs, one cat and no kids. I married the love of my life. We’ve been together 22 years and we live in Dublin. Life is mostly good except for all the usual gripes and grumbles. I would have loved to be a mother but that was not to be and so now my books are my focus and joy in my life.
Can you tell us a bit about your new novel; Somewhere Inside of Happy (released 7th April with Transworld)?
It’s a story of a desperate mother and two lost boys. On the first day of 1996, 16-year-old Jeremy Bean and his best friend Rave go missing. Over the next five days the search uncovers an unbearable secret about Jeremy and changes his mother’s life and the lives of those around her forever.
Somewhere Inside of Happy sounds amazing. Your novels always have such strong plots and are based around such clever ideas. What was your inspiration behind Somewhere Inside of Happy?
I saw a clip of The Ellen Degeneres show on YouTube. She was crying. She spoke about a boy who gave another boy a valentine card in school. The next day the card recipient came back to school and shot this boy. She said that both families lives were destroyed, one boy was dead the other was now a killer. She asked the question what was this boy learning at home to make him think that the appropriate response to a valentine card from a boy was to kill. It really moved me and haunted me. Where does hate and intolerance come from? How it is fostered? Somewhere Inside of Happy is about intolerance, judgement, fear and isolation. It’s also about love, comfort, joy and strength.
The characterisation is also one of the things I love most about your novels. They are always so realistic and fascinating to read about. Are the characters in Somewhere Inside of Happy entirely fictional or are they based on anyone in real life?
I always throw in a little taste of someone I respect and love into my main characters but in ‘Happy’ there is a character called Dave. He’s not a main character. He’s a friend of Jeremy and Rave. He’s a frustrated comedian. Sometimes the kids think he’s funny, other times he crosses the line and everyone thinks he’s an ass. He’s the closest character I’ve ever written to my younger self. There’s something about Dave that just reminds me of me, especially when he’s on the back foot.
I am blown away by the reaction to ‘Rabbit’. It was a book I wanted to write for a very long time and I was worried about the reception because a lot of people fear death and therefore avoid picking up a book about the subject. I’m so glad it reached as many people as it did and I’m thrilled that people found it as funny as they did sad. That was a huge bonus.
I think you strike the balance between humour and heartbreak perfectly. How difficult is it to write a novel that can have the reader crying with laugher on one page and then crying with heartbreak the next?
Oh thank you that’s a lovely thing to say. I don’t try to make people laugh or cry. I just tell the story I want to tell using the characters that I know inside and out. These characters roll around my head for a year before I put them on paper so the sadness comes from the situation they find themselves in and the humour comes from who they are and how they react in any given situation. Not everyone will agree on what is funny and what isn’t and not everyone will be moved in the same way. All I can do is pour everything I can into each novel and tell a story that matters to me.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an author?
I started out as an actor but quickly realised it wasn’t for me. Then I worked as a stand up comedian for a while. I loved writing the bits but I wasn’t so enthusiastic about preforming. So after a stint in hospital following a car accident I made a decision to try writing and for the first time in my life I became consumed. I knew it was for me.
What advice would you give to any aspiring novelists out there?
Write, write, write and write some more. No matter how many rejections you receive keep writing. Take on board notes, work with them, keep going because as long as it’s your passion it’s worth it and you will find a home for your work.
Who are your favourite authors and which type of books do you enjoy reading?
I have mixed taste and after answering these questions for a long time now my real honest answer is there is too many to count and or name check. I think Marian Keyes is incredible. She’s just so witty. She makes me howl. I read Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice recently and loved them. I’ll always have a soft spot for Roddy Doyle. I like crime, comedy, adventure, I love picking up books and authors I know absolutely nothing about and taking a chance. Sometimes it pays off sometimes it doesn’t but it’s always fun.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment?
I’m working on a couple of TV samples. A crime drama and a comedy drama and I’m working on research for my next female fiction book which I will be writing in the summer.
A huge thank you to Anna for answering my questions and to Naomi at Transworld. ♥
Click here to get hold of your copy of Somewhere Inside of Happy in ebook.