21 November 2011
Blog Tour: Ali McNamara
Q1. Please tell us about your new book Breakfast at Darcy's.
Breakfast at Darcy’s is about a girl called Darcy who finds out at a funeral she’s the sole beneficiary of her Aunt’s wealthy estate. But the terms of her Aunt’s will state before Darcy can inherit any of her money she must go and live on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland for a whole year, and set up a new community of people to live there with her.
Being a city girl, Darcy doesn’t find the switch from high-heeled boots to wellington boots an easy one, or for that matter any of the other many changes that the island of Tara has in store for her…
Q2. Where did you get the idea for Darcy setting up a new community on a remote island? It's not a concept I've ever come across in chick lit before, but it worked really well!
I got the idea when I was on a touring holiday of Ireland and my husband and myself were parked up one day overlooking the island of Great Blasket in County Kerry. We were having a conversation about how you might go about living on an island as remote as the one in front of us, and all the problems that might arise from doing so, when I began to realise what a great plot it would make for a novel.
Q3. The island of Tara sounds absolutely beautiful - did you base it on anywhere you have been to yourself? Also, the legends of Tara that appear in the book - are they made up by you or are they real legends from other places?!
Yes as I said above my fictional island of Tara is based on the real island of Great Blasket off the West Coast of Ireland. We went back and visited the island with our children so I could research the book after my initial idea was formed. All the legends mentioned in the story are genuine Irish myths and traditions. I enjoy researching my books as much as I love writing them. The research process inspires so many of the ideas that you find in the final story.
Q4. I loved that there were so many different kinds of characters within the book, and that they were each important to the story in their own way. Did you base any characters on anyone, and do you have a favourite amongst the characters in your book (mine was Dermot!!)?
Ah now that would be telling… I can tell you Dermot’s extensive practical knowledge definitely comes directly from my husband though. He’s very clever like that and I couldn’t have written the book without his technical help in answering my many questions about how I would begin re-building a deserted island!
Q5. The cover for the book is absolutely stunning - what did you think of it when you first saw it? Do you get much say in your covers, or is it all down to the publishers and designers?
I’ve been very lucky with my covers so far, and loved this one just as much if not more so than my first novel, From Notting Hill with Love…Actually.
No, I have no direct say, but when they’re as lovely as this why would I need it!
Q6. Breakfast at Darcy's is your second book, following the success of your debut novel From Notting Hill With Love... Actually. How have you found being a published author, and what have been the highlights for you so far?
Definitely hearing from my readers. I’ve had so many messages and emails over the last year from people not only telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my first book, but how much they’ve identified with Scarlett, the main character. Some of the best emails have come from people that say they don’t usually read, or they’ve lost their love of reading, and my book has encouraged them to start again!
Q7. What do you do when you aren't writing books? When you are writing, do you have to be strict with yourself in terms of a writing schedule to get things done?!
I’m usually a really organized person, but when it comes to my writing I’m awful at organising my time. But I think it’s pretty impossible to treat writing as a 9-5 job, as it is any creative profession. Otherwise the things you’re attempting to create would come across as forced and uninspired.
Q8. You are very active on Twitter and Facebook - do you think social networking is important to authors, and do you enjoy being able to interact with your fans online?
Yes, I love it. Although I’m very much on Team Twitter, Vs. Team Facebook ;-)
Q9. This is a question I like to ask all authors - what is your opinion of the term chick lit, and how do you feel about your books being classified as chick lit?
I just write the way I write. If someone wants to label the way I put words on a page and stack me neatly into an appropriate box, then that’s up to them. People will always try and define you as something so it fits in with their way of thinking, I’ll always try and be a little different. Watch out for it in the future….
Q10. Finally, are you working on a third novel? If so, can you tell us something about it?!
Yes! A sequel to ‘From Notting Hill with Love…Actually’ due out in 2012!
Scarlett gets to go a bit further afield than London this time when she gets a chance to visit New York …
I went there this year on a research trip and had a fantastic time. But Scarlett’s trip is even better… ;-)
Thanks so much, Ali!
You can buy Breakfast at Darcy's in paperback or on eBook/Kindle right now! (links go to Amazon.co.uk)