I was much supported by my parents who believed I could do anything, run the world if I needed to. Then I had a great kind boss at the Irish Times who thought I could do anything and sent me to write about wars and economics and the Royal Family and gave me a great […]
Undoubtedly it was Winnie the Pooh. My parents would read it to me endlessly. I loved Kanga and Eeyore and thought of them as my friends. I used to ask where was I in the Hundred Acre Wood and my parents indulged me by saying I was on a tree or on a gate, then […]
Yes, books were everywhere. Floor to ceiling were shelves of books. My father went to work by train every day. It was half an hour’s journey each way and he would read a paperback in four journeys. After supper we all sat down to read – it was long before TV, remember! Because I saw […]
I came to Dalkey when I was a child and lived here until after my father died in 1972, I lived in a flat in Ballsbridge for a year and there were mice in it so a colleague had to come and empty my mousetrap every night before I could go home from work. Then […]
Oh no, it wasn’t a crush, I loved him when I was fifteen and a half until I was seventeen. I spent all my pocket money on airmail stamps to write to him and ask him to come to Ireland where I would sooth him and look after him. But he never listened. Which was […]
When I was at school I thought I was going to be forever belted into a green tunic, bad at games, hopeless at gym, restless and anxious that I shouldn’t pass by unnoticed. I think I was just a vain show off really. Anything would have done. I once thought about tap dancing, or mountaineering, […]
You’ve also said you feared seeing a vision like St Bernadette – what did you mean by that and did you ever see such a thing?
You have to realise that this was all more than fifty years ago, we all heard of Visions and Apparitions non-stop in those days, and how it was a sign of great sanctity of you saw one. I was pretty self-centred then as now, and I thought I was very holy so it was only […]
Not really: I think I always wanted to be a story teller. My writing career started with a letter which was published in Irish Times. I became a journalist and worked for the Irish Times for many years and I had a great kind boss who thought I could do anything and sent me to […]
I was very anxious to give the girls I taught confidence, to tell them that they were responsible for their own lives. It didn’t matter about being married, or rich or good looking or thin, inner happiness is what we create for ourselves. Of course I am sure they didn’t believe me – who believes a […]
Not all; but I set many of my books in Dublin because I am very familiar with the place and I know the nuances and lights and shade of the city It’s just like any other city really with all the hopes and dreams and adventures in everyone’s minds and hearts. And no matter where […]
I have been very pleased indeed. It’s a totally different world – they have to cut out all those pages and pages of internal monologue that I write, and all the brooding and thinking and wondering that I go on with. One little sentence in a film script says and shows it all. And I am […]
No, I will never run out of ideas. If you look at people’s faces in airports, cafes, on trains, in the street you can see stories written there. Is that man afraid his wife is unfaithful? Does that woman wish she had the courage to start dating again? It’s written everywhere if you look. I […]
I write a lot about people being somehow restored in life and sometimes people wonder if I write this from personal experience. I suppose I have always thought it was a bit pretentious to have a ‘philosophy of life ‘ but if I were pushed I would mutter about how we only get one life […]
It can take a lot for a person in a rut to see that the life they thought they’d live has somehow escaped them. Do you have personal experience of this?
In a magic world we could all have Eureka Moments and see the folly of our ways. Then we would set about changing things. End a toxic relationship or commit with hope to a love that had become vague and uncertain. Cut our ties with what might be holding us back or alternatively settle for […]
The happiest moments of my life are connected with family and friends. There is a great comfort about being with people who knew you way back when. There is a mental shorthand, and easy-going feeling that life doesn’t have to be explained or defined; we are all in more or less the same boat. To […]
Is there any particular character of yours that you are especially fond of? Are any of them based on real people? Some appear in several novels and short stories; and you’ve set a number of books in the same place in Dublin. What made you think of doing that?
My father was a lawyer and he warned me never to put a real person in a book; but I steal little attributes from people and I do enjoy that… I don’t really have a favourite but, yes, a number of characters reappear in the more recent novels. Very often readers write and tell me […]
Has the traditional concept of ‘family’ changed? What is more important, do you think, family relations or friendship?
Yes, in a way the community has had to replace the family. Once upon a time in Ireland every one lived in the same place amongst the same people always. This is no longer so. People learn or should learn to depend on each other in a neighbourhood and form alliances that will help and […]
Any good de-cluttering manual. My life and house and study and mind are all full of clutter. I would love to have researched a way to get rid of it, and maybe some of the good advice I unearthed would have rubbed off on me.
I guess I’d hope people understand that we only get one life and it will be what we made it to be and there are no short-cuts. Being wealthy doesn’t necessarily make you happy, nor being beautiful or thin or married. And nobody’s life is ordinary if we know where to look.
Three wishes? So hard to choose, but they all have to do with wishing that people realised how short life is, how foolish it is to quarrel with people and how we have to make the best of what we are given… There isn’t a magic spell that will change our lives, we must do […]