17 January 2015

Blog Tour: Now That I've Found You by Ciara Geraghty

Today I am thrilled to be part of Ciara Geraghty's blog tour for her brand new book Now That I've Found You. I have the book sat on my shelf eagerly waiting to be read, and after reading these answers from Ciara for my Q&A with her, I can't wait to read it! My thanks go to Ciara for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can buy Now That I've Found You as a paperback or an eBook now.

Q1. Please tell me about your new book.
‘Now That I've Found You’ is about family. Parenthood mostly. Different types of parenthood. Parenting children. And still being a parent when your children are all grown up and your job is done but you just can’t let them go. The main character is Vinnie Boland, a single father who is struggling to raise his teenage daughter and his young son on his own - with insistent help from his elderly mother. He is doing the best he can but remains convinced he’s falling short. Vinnie’s wife - his childhood sweetheart - left the family over a year before the story begins and some part of Vinnie wishes she would come back, if only so he won’t be the only one his children can blame when they get older and realise what a mess he’s made of things. Then he meets Ellen, a reclusive woman who used to be a doctor, who used to have a life and a burgeoning family of her own. One day, Vinnie has a panic attack while he’s driving Ellen to one of her weekly physiotherapy sessions in his taxi and she gets into the driver’s seat and takes him to hospital. It’s the first time Ellen has driven a car since she was involved in a horrific car accident over a year before. This simple act, getting behind the wheel again, releases something in Ellen. The panic attack - its causes and its consequences - forces Vinnie to stop and think about his life. The pair embark on a cautious friendship.

The story is about life and how it throws things at you when you think that it should have stopped that carry on. It’s about second chances, and all the chances after that. It’s about how you should grab them. Expect the worst. And hope for the best.

Q2. Where do you get the ideas for your stories - are they ever inspired by people or things that have happened to those you know?
I don’t tend to base any of my characters on people I know in ‘real life’ life, although I ‘borrow’ bits and pieces from people I come across and then mix and match those characteristics so that they are unrecognisable to anyone they may be partly based on (at least, that is my hope!). The stories, on the other hand, usually come from things I have heard or overheard, from friends and acquaintances, or snippets from the radio / newspaper. Things that interest me. Things that make me stop and wonder. For example, I got the basic idea for Now That I’ve Found You, from a story I heard of a man who was raising two children on his own after his wife left. When you hear about a woman raising children alone after her husband leaves, you don’t blink an eye. But a man. You wonder how he’s managing. If he’s managing. Because it’s usually us women who stay. We endure. So, over the years, I thought about that man - whom I don't know. Wondered about him. Worried about him. And when a story snags on your consciousness like that, over a period of time, it’s a good indication that it’s something you should write about. And in the writing of it, the story is revealed to you. You find out what happened to the man, the children, the wife. Of course, none of that may have happened to that man that I heard of once, but in my mind, that’s what happened. And it helps me to understand why a woman - a mother - can leave her children. How she can do it. I didn’t understand that before I started to write the story. Not really. That’s what I love about writing. And reading. The way it deepens your understanding, your empathy. Opens up the world to you. And ultimately - hopefully - makes it a better place.

Q3. The cover style for this book is quite different from some of your earlier titles - do you like the change in direction for your covers?
The paperback version of ‘Now That I’ve Found You’ is one of my favourite covers, I love the colours; the petrol blue with silver stars and dashes of red. It’s very eye-catching. When I first saw the paperback cover for Now That I’ve Found You, I loved it. It spoke to me of the story that was to come and I think that is the essence of a good cover.

When I know / love the author I will buy their book regardless of the cover. But when it’s a writer I’m not familiar with, it’s the look of the cover that will tempt me to lift the book from the shelf and turn it over and read the blurb, then - if I like the blurb - open it and read the first paragraph and then - based on this paltry information - I will buy the book. Because we are a fickle, fickle brand of mammal who often judge books by their covers, the look of the jacket is hugely significant. And that’s what makes the design people in a publishing house exceptionally important and talented.

Q4. Who are some your favourite authors to read?
I have a list of favourite authors which changes about as regularly as my teenagers’ moods…  I would say enduring influences include John Irving and Margaret Atwood. I love the quirkiness of their characters and the ease of their storytelling. I love Irish writers; Kevin Barry, Donal Ryan, Marian Keyes, Colum McCann, Edna O’Brien. All great story tellers.  And great writers. Coming from such a small, insignificant island on the far reaches of Europe but surrounded on all sides by these talented, amazing writers, makes people like me think that....YES....I CAN DO IT TOO!!!!!

Q5. How long does it take you to typically write a book?
Longer than my editor would like, I’d say! I would estimate somewhere around 18 months, which I think is pretty good going!! It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.

Q6. What do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing?
Everything!! Playing my violin, reading, walking on the beach, going to the cinema, listening to the radio, wandering around Dublin city, travelling, swimming in the sea, listening to music, dancing in my kitchen when there’s no-one else there. Oh, and eating food that I haven’t made myself. But I do all these things while I’m writing. If I didn’t, I’d be miserable and probably have nothing to write about. I love writing and I love life and these two loves are compatible bedfellows.

Q7. What was the last book that you read, and how was it?

‘Us’ by David Nicholls. I’m a big fan of his. This book made me laugh out loud several times which is one of the hardest things a writer can get a reader to do, in my opinion. That, and writing good sex which Nicholls - perhaps wisely - does not attempt. We are told instead by the narrator that he, ‘won’t go into the details,’ when referring to his sexual adventures with his wife, Connie Moore who he says sounds like a ‘small Irish town’. The main character is another reason why I enjoyed this book; a 54-year-old industrial biochemist, Douglas Petersen is a fairly buttoned-up affair, and very believable for it, as we get snippets of his back story - his relationship with his father for example - throughout the narrative which help us understand who he is and why. ‘Us’ did for me what my grandmother declared that chicken soup did for her - it ‘warmed the cockles of my heart.’ I loved it.

Q8. Do you have any ideas in the pipeline for your next book?

Oh yes! I’m working on a new novel. The ‘working title’ is ‘This is Now’ and it centres on the lives of five seemingly unrelated characters. There is [what I hope will be] an ‘explosive’ prologue that involves all the characters (one of them dies!!) and then we go back, to particular incidents in each of the characters’ lives that shape them, make them the people they become. I suppose it’s about how events in your life inform on the person that you eventually become. I’ve always wanted to write a novel like this - different characters, interwoven in some way, to produce a story. Hopefully, this is it!!

Thank you so much, Ciara!

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