Today I am pleased to welcome Maria Hoey on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some fascinating answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
The act of writing has always taken me out of myself and into another world. When I am writing I forget everything (I even forget to eat and that is something I never ever do otherwise). Hours go by without me noticing and I quite often come up for air with stiff muscles and an aching neck and a sense of having returned from a long journey. I love that feeling – I love that I almost inhabit another body. I also love the mystery of how things just happen on the page, yes, you have a plan or at least an idea when you begin to write, but almost always that is brushed aside as the story takes over and you find yourself surprised and amazed and quite often a little disconcerted to find yourself travelling a different path entirely from the one you originally intended. Writing to me is a little bit magical.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
In my debut novel, The Last Lost Girl, my favourite character would have to be my main character, Jacqueline Brennan. She is a complicated character, not immediately likeable, socially awkward, does not like children, and is definitely damaged by the experience of having her beloved older sister Lilly, disappear when Jacqueline was only eleven. She is multi-layered, seemingly a bit cold on the outside but with an intense sense of loyalty to her lost sister. She is brave too, I think and faces up to unpleasant realities as she sets out to attempt to solve the mystery of Lilly’s disappearance. I love that is she is also open to change and I particularly like her relationship with Magpie, who is also damaged by a past tragedy. I am very proud of her. She feels real to me and I imagine her living somewhere out there beyond the bounds of my book.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Tea (but always with chocolate). And also wine in the evenings and as I write this Prosecco!
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Oh yes. Firstly, I consume large quantities of chocolate. I forget to move and so I end up with pains in my back and neck and I am afraid I tend to perch on the sofa, with a laptop on my knee instead of sitting up straight on a proper chair at a desk. I am also blank anyone who happens to speak to me while I am caught up in a knotty plot or in the middle of a cut and paste!
How do you research your books?
I am not ashamed to say that I use the internet. But I also canvas opinion from friends in the real world and also on Facebook – i.e. for my second book I needed to ask a lot of people about what it was like to be a child in the 80s. I also use reference books if necessary. For my first book I used my own memory of the summer of 1976 and it was amazing how fresh it all seemed to me as I wrote.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
What’s a Pantser?!
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I would live in an Agatha Christie world – I love the era she sets her books in. I love the way even murders are done so tidily. I would just about give anything to sit down in a room with Hercule Poirot as he reveals the solution to a crime. Failing that, the child in me would love to live in some fairytale world and be a princess and live in a world where magic is part of everyday life and everything always ends happily ever after. I would also like to live in a Tudor novel – obviously the Tudor period is not fictional, but again, to live in the world of a novel set in Tudor times, maybe be a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, as long as I get to keep my head…
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights or Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre – I suspect they were both hunks. But quite aside from that, they are such magnetic, complex and brooding characters and both created by wonderful women writers.
About the book
Unravelling the past can be dangerous . . .
On a perfect July evening in the sizzling Irish summer of 1976, fifteen-year-old Festival Queen Lilly Brennan disappears. Thirty-seven years later, as the anniversary of Lilly’s disappearance approaches, her sister Jacqueline returns to their childhood home in Blackberry Lane. There she stumbles upon something that reopens the mystery, setting her on a search for the truth a search that leads her to surprising places and challenging encounters.
Jacqueline feels increasingly compelled to find the answer to what happened to Lilly all those years ago and finally lay her ghost to rest. But at what cost? For unravelling the past proves to be a dangerous and painful thing, and her path to the truth leads her ever closer to a dark secret she may not wish to know.
About the Author
I grew up in Swords, in north County Dublin, Ireland. I live in Portmarnock now, a small seaside town also in north County Dublin, with my husband, Garrett O’Boyle. I have one daughter, Rebecca.
I have had poetry published with Ireland’s foremost poetry publication, Poetry Ireland.
My poems and short stories have appeared in various magazines.
In 2009 won first prize in the Swords Literary Festival Short Story Competition.
In 2010, my short story, Reading Brother Boniface was runner-up in the Mslexia International Short Story Competition.
In November 2014 I had a short story shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award.
I was short-listed from a total of 600 entries for the 2015 Irish Times Amateur Travel-Writer Competition.
I have had lifestyle articles published by Sunday Tribune, Daily Mail and Woman’s Way.
I was signed by Poolbeg in 2017 for a three-book deal and my debut novel, THE LAST LOST GIRL was published in July 2016. It has been long-listed for the Kate O’Brien Award 2017 – shortlist to be announced in January 2018.
My second book is due for publication in July 2018