Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my very own place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

It’s the turn of Carmel Harrington, who many of you will know from her regular appearances on TV as well as the Wexford Literary Festival of which she is a founding member. Carmel’s much anticipated fourth novel, The Things I Should Have Told You will be published 8th September 2016.

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So, Happy Mrs. H. We like the look of your book. We might even buy ourselves a copy. But first you need to tell us, what is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

I’m a dinner and drinks kind of gal. We’ve a great gang of friends in Wexford and when we all get together, it’s guaranteed to be a good night. A gin and tonic in The Sky & The Ground first, followed by dinner in Cistin Eile, then back home to Screen, to our local Freddies, for an after dinner drink!

 

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

Currently in love with all Emma Hardie products, in particular the Moringa Cleansing Balm. It cleanses and moisturises in one go, leaving my skin squeaky clean. Smells divine too. It can also be used as a rescue balm or left on for ten minutes as a mask. Fab product.

eh-cleansing-balm-with-cloth-full

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Little Women. When I read that, as a young girl, I was Jo. I understood her. I think I’m overdue another visit to the March family. I named our home, Orchard House, (where the March family lived) as a nod of my love to that book.

little-women

Favourite clothes shop?

I love River Island, but do most of my shopping online, with ASOS.com.

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Oh, that’s tough! I’m going to say, The FACIL restaurant in Berlin. It has 2 Michelin stars, not too shabby! I surprised my husband with a weekend break in Berlin for his fortieth birthday. We had the most incredible meal here. The food was a culinary experience, from the moment they ushered us to our seats and gave my handbag it’s own stool (honestly!), to the eight courses of sublime food we managed to consume.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world

There’s a rooftop bar, called Bookmarks, in the Library Hotel, on Madison Avenue in New York. It’s an indoor/outdoor bar and they have a cocktail, called The Pulitzer, which is pretty much my idea of heaven – a gin and elderflower liqueur combination.

Favourite movie?

Frankie and Johnny. It’s a Gary Marshall movie and one of his most under-rated, in my opinion!

Johnny, played by Al Pacino, newly released from prison, starts to work in a restaurant, with Frankie, a waitress, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s a beautiful love story, quirky, full of hope. And always makes me smile.

frankie-johnny

Favourite band/musician?

Right now, I’m in an Adele state of mind. But I’m going to see one of my teen crushes soon – Paul Young, when he comes to play in Wexford. Oh my!

 paul-young

Favourite meal?

Ok, brace yourself, I’m going to mention the C word. In September. You see, my favourite meal is the Christmas Dinner. Traditional Turkey and Ham, with homemade cranberry sauce, parsnip mashed potato, roast vegetables, stuffing, gravy, the works! I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

dinne-in-a-can

(Oh, I’m sorry Carmel – did you mean THIS Christmas Dinner?! LOL – Ed)

dinner

Favourite tipple?

Gin and tonic, all the way. At the moment, I love The Blackwater Distillery Strawberry Gin with Poachers Well Premium Irish Tonic made with Wexford spring water, Florida orange & Irish rosemary. A sublime combination!

strawberry-gin

Sublime indeed! I think you and the lovely Hazel Gaynor need to get together and sort out the Gs from the Ts. Experts in the field, it seems.

Well, Carmel, we love your new book’s pretty cover, and we are very excited to get stuck in and find out what exactly it is that she should have told him!

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You can follow Carmel on twitter here, and on Facebook here.

Don’t forget to check out Carmel’s back catalogue of books too! So much good, cosy reading for the cold winter nights ahead.

Until next time on Hey, Author!

Sheena x

 

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Dalkey Creates Writing Festival October 2016

I am super excited to be helping out at the 3rd annual Dalkey Creates writing festival this coming October!

There are workshops and classes planned for every level of writer, from beginners to those ready for publication, and all priced really reasonably. One exciting new event this year is a Meet-the-Editor event with Ciara Doorley of Hachette on Saturday 15th October – an incredible opportunity to meet a real editor in person, and ask the questions you’ve always wanted answered about submitting your writing work!

And no writer should miss out on the Open Mic event being held on Thursday evening, the 13th October in Finnegans pub. It’s free to register, and you will have the ears of the locals (some of whom are famous writers themselves) as you share 5 minutes of your own writing with them. The winner of the Dalkey Creates short story competition will also be announced that evening. With a prize of €1,000 up for grabs, I’m thinking the first round will be on them! LOL.

Some classes are already booked out, and as many of them are limited to 10 places, you have no time to waste in booking yours.

So get creative! Click here for easy online booking or for more info on how to reserve your place at one of the many exciting writing workshops.

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Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my very own place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

Jax Miller hit the headlines with her debut thriller Freedom’s Child in the summer of 2015. This American girl now has both feet firmly in Ireland, so I was very keen to catch up with her and find out all the stuff her readers want to know.

jax

So, Jax Miller.

Freedom’s Child was a super thrilling read. We’re waiting with baited breath to hear when your next book will be out. So while we wait, you need to tell us, what is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

Well, my current hometown is in County Meath, Ireland (I was raised on Long Island, New York), where a night out could be pretty boring, as it’s a farming community. But if I had to entertain guests, I’d take a short train ride to Dublin and do some karaoke and sushi…. This reminds me, I really need to get out more! (I write nights.)

sushi

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

Hmmm… I’m old fashioned and don’t use anything fancy. I do have a skin secret though, and that’s coffee grinds. Tightens things up!

(I KNEW there was a reason writers drink so much coffee!- Ed.)

coffee grounds

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

screwtape letters

Favourite clothes shop?

I enjoy the shops off the beaten path, especially vintage and retro. In Dublin, where I’d shop, there’s a few good places in Temple Bar. To be honest, I couldn’t even say the name of any of the places!

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Oy, that’s a tough one. Popei’s in Coram New York. It’s a seafood place out on Long Island, food to die for.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

I don’t really do bars anymore. I worked at many (before I was a writer I bartended a lot). I’d say The Church in Dublin. It’s an old church turned restaurant/bar that has a great history, with a congregation that once saw some great attendees, the likes of Arthur Guinness and Jonathan Swift. Some historical figures are even buried there! Yikes!

The Church

Favourite movie?

The hardest question in the world, as I’m a MASSIVE film buff (as blasphemous at it is, I love film more than books). If you had a gun to my head, I’d say The Shawshank Redemption.

shawshank

Favourite band/musician?

Another hard one! Again, gun to the head, I’d say Johnny Cash because it’s a classic that can do no wrong by me. But I can go on for hours, from classical to metal, you name it.

Favourite meal?

New York pizza. Doesn’t matter from where, any hole in the wall will do. Just a large pie of NY pizza with extra cheese and with a tall glass of milk.

 

Good call, Ms. Miller. And a fresh-ground coffee. Just to undo the damage.

If you haven’t read Freedom’s Child yet, you are in for a treat, and we can look forward to Jax Miller’s second novel, which is due out next year.

freedom's child

Until next time on Hey, Author!

Sheena x

Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my very own place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

This time around, I am super-dooper excited to have Irish author Liz Nugent under the Hey, Author! spotlight. Liz wrote one of my favourite books of all time Unravelling Oliver, and her new thriller, Lying in Wait has hit the shelves and is blazing a literary trail through the summer of 2016. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is that I don’t want to have read it. I’m enjoying the prospect of reading it too much. Go figure.

Liz Nugent

So, Liz Nugent. We like the sound of your book. We might even (okay, definitely) go and get ourselves a copy. But first you need to tell us, what is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

Dinner at the Trocadero restaurant. I’ve been going there for about 25 years and Robert Doggett who owns it has become a friend. Anyone who knows the restaurant might recognise it as the basis for L’Etoile Bleu in Unravelling Oliver.

Troc_About_970_02

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

Liz Earle cleanser because you get the muslin cloths with the product. It removes face and eye make-up and doesn’t sting. It has a subtle fragrance but is pricey enough for a cleanser. I’ve used bog standard Nivea moisturiser my entire life. My German Aunt Sybille used it and she always had beautiful skin. (I wish I had a pic of Tante Sybille here – Ed.)

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Oh my God, just one? That’s impossible. Arrrrghhhhhhh. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

a fine balance

Favourite clothes shop?

I’m not exactly a fashionista and I don’t enjoy shopping but the wonderful Sharon Beatty has a small shop called Maven upstairs on Wicklow Street. She doesn’t carry a huge range but she will text me when she has something in that she thinks I might like. They are special occasion items though. Apart from that, I can usually find something I like in Zara or Massimo Dutti.

maven

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

You mean besides the Trocadero? The Miramar in Monaco Ville beside the harbour. I can’t remember exactly what I ate, but I know it was delicious. The ambience was very relaxed and the views were spectacular. I have promised myself I’ll go back.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

O’Dowds in Roundstone, Connemara on a winter night when there’s no one around and the turf fire is lit. (Agreed. Best chowder ever – Ed.)

Favourite movie?

Perfume starring Ben Wishaw. It was a favourite book and the film did so much justice to it. It is visually stunning, every single frame could be a painting. Everything communicated by the sense of smell in the book is told in pictures. Before the film was made, the book was deemed unfilmable – and it’s about a most unusual serial killer. If you have never seen it, I envy you, because you have it to look forward to. I watch it every six months or so. 

perfume

Favourite band/musician?

Right now, Adele. Last year, Hozier. Of all time, David Bowie. Very populist I know, but I also love Skunk Anansie, Bob Dylan, Ludovico Einaudi, William Butt, Ray La Montagne, Bach, The Divine Comedy, Kate Bush, Bill Whelan, Ailie Blunnie, June Tabor, Elvis Costello, Queen, Mozart, Zoe Conway, Tom Waits, Loyko, Dario Marianelli etc. etc.

Favourite meal?

Fillet steak cooked by my husband. We share the cooking but he’s better than me. Don’t tell him I said that.

(For the record, this below is not (as far as we know) Liz Nugent’s husband. We just like this pic at Hey, Author! and we try to use it whenever possible -Ed)

 chef

Favourite tipple?

Jameson and Coke. I know it’s a terrible insult to pollute the poor Jameson with coke, but what can I say? I like it. Also, when you have a cold, add a dash of Jameson to your Lemsip. Hey presto, Jemsip.

jameson

You could be on to something there, Liz. Why have a hot whiskey, when you could have a Jemsip (c)Liz Nugent – patent pending.

So there you have it readers. When she’s not conjuring murderous villains, she’s hanging out with the theatre set in Dublin and Monaco, sipping medicinals. The life of a writer.

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If you haven’t read Unravelling Oliver, I’m just plain jealous. And if you haven’t got your copy of Lying in Wait, then off with you to your nearest bookshop. I’m going to TRY put it off…just…a…little….longer…. oh, what’s the use.

Until next time on Hey, Author!

Sheena x

 

 

 

Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my very own place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

It’s the turn of the wonderful Irish novelist Kathleen MacMahon whose second novel The Long, Hot Summer has just been published in the US of A.

Kathleen’s first novel, This Is How It Ends won her fans all over the planet, and was short-listed for Kerry Group Irish Novel of 2013 amongst other prestigious accolades.

KMacM

 

So, Kathleen. We like the look of your book. We might even buy ourselves a copy. But first you need to tell us, what is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

There’s nothing like live music. My local pub is The Vintage Inn in Irishtown, and they do a parlour night on the first Thursday of every month. They get a great assortment of performers, from singer-songwriters to covers, and you can enjoy it all in a comfortable seat, with a pint in front of you. It doesn’t get much better than that. (AND it looks like they have their own Book Club! I’m sold – Ed.)

 

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

Shiseido tinted moisturiser, which has been discontinued. They keep telling me BB cream is the same, but it’s not. My perfume has been discontinued as well, so I’m developing a wartime mentality and stockpiling the products I like.

10-beauty-products-Id-stock-up-1

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry. The first time I read it was on a five day trek in Colombia, when a fellow trekker tore his copy in half so I could start it before he finished. A great American epic, it’s the most wonderful read.
Lonesome Dove

Favourite clothes shop?

I’m getting to an age where clothes shopping is a chore, so the internet has increasing appeal. My twenty year old self wouldn’t believe it.

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Has to be my brother’s restaurant, The Wild Goose Grill in Ranelagh. I always have the best time there, and the best food and wine. Plus, it feels very mafioso to have a restaurant in the family. (I have to interject, I’ve been there. It’s fantastic – Ed.)

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

Sweeney’s Bar, overlooking Omey island in Claddaghduff. Sweeney’s makes an appearance in my first novel, This Is How It Ends, when Addie choses it for her Death Row meal of Guinness and Tayto crisps.

Favourite movie?

The Big Blue, by Luc Besson. Beautiful, whimsical, sad. It has everything in it that I like.

 

Favourite band/musician?

Leonard Cohen – in another life, I would be one of Leonard’s  famously sublime backing singers.

Leonard Cohen

 Favourite meal?

Fresh fish, preferable eaten outdoors on a warm evening.
fish dinner

Favourite tipple?

Wine of any colour. I have managed to avoid acquiring an appreciation of fine wines, which means I can enjoy even the cheapest plonk.

 

 

Cheers to that, Kathleen. I think some things are about the quantity, and not the quality. Developing expensive tastes is a dangerous habit for sure.

If you haven’t already bought Kathleen’s new book, well, what are you waiting for? It’s the perfect summer’s evening, post-prandial accompaniment to a glass of whatever you’re serving yourself.

You can also stay in touch and follow Kathleen’s literary success here on Twitter.

LongHotSummerFINAL

 

Until next time on Hey, Author!

Sheena x

Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my new place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

This latest installment is dedicated to Hazel Gaynor, author of some of the prettiest books on the planet, award-winning novels of historical fiction that bring long-gone era to life for the reader.

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Before Hazel celebrated the launch of her newest novel, The Girl from the Savoy, at a 1920s themed party at The Liquor Rooms at U2’s Clarence hotel in Dublin city, I managed to track her down, and got her to answer my Hey, Author! questions – the important stuff that you need to know. There may have been gin involved, but it was drunk from china cups, so that’s ok.

savoy.png

So, Hazel Gaynor. We like the look of your book. We might even buy ourselves a copy. But first you need to tell us, what is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

What is this ‘night out’ you speak of? It sounds wonderful. If I was to enjoy such a thing it would probably be chicken wings and a pint of Guinness in Bardon’s in Kilcullen. Best chicken wings in Ireland. Possibly, the world. (That sounds like a challenge to me – Ed.)

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

I love Liz Earle skincare. The hot cloth cleanser is fabulous. Pestle & Mortar serum is also lovely and promises to make me look eternally youthful – so that’s good! I don’t possess any posh haircare products at home. Aussie does me just fine. My hairdresser uses Redken products which always smell amazing.

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Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Jane Eyre. Weep.

quotes-jane-eyre-3

Favourite clothes shop?

Boden – everything is amazing and the shoes are divine. I also love Warehouse at the moment. I follow both on Instagram. Dangerous.

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

For special occasions you can’t beat Chapter One in Dublin. We’ve always had a fantastic meal there. I’m also very fond of Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant in Watson’s Bay, Sydney. I spent many lazy Sunday afternoons there when I lived in Sydney during ‘97/’98, and (although I didn’t know him at the time) so did my husband! We went back there on our honeymoon. Ahh.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

So many bars. So little time. I have great memories of a little bar called The Four in Hand on Elizabeth Street in Sydney. A schooner of New never tasted better. Closer to home, I’d have to say Doheny & Nesbitts. We drank pints there after getting married in the registry office.

Favourite movie?

Really? Just one? Okay then: Cinema Paradiso.

cinema p

Favourite band/musician?

Florence and the Machine, or Foo Fighters, depending on what mood I’m in. Both are amazing live. London Grammar are really good to chill out to, and I’m loving James Bay at the moment. I like his hat.

which-james-bay-song-are-you-01

Favourite meal?

Fish and chips, eaten straight from the wrappings while sitting on a harbour wall.

fish_and_chips

Favourite tipple?

Now you’re talking! This is an easy answer. Very good gin and very good tonic. Preferably Hendricks, served with a slice of cucumber (of course). I’d like to think I played some part in the current gin revolution. I’ve been talking/writing about it since 2009 and that’s a LOT of gin, let me tell you.

 

I think the proof was in the launch of The Girl from the Savoy…gin tea for all!

Thank you for sharing your innermost secrets, Hazel Gaynor. Anyone who loved Downton Abbey will love The Girl from the Savoy – indeed if you don’t read it, just buy it to hang on the wall….sooo pretty.

hazel-gaynor-savoy-uk-3d-214x315hazel-gaynor-savoy-us-3d-214x315

Until next time on Hey, Author!

Bottoms up!

Sheena x

 

Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my new place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

The next author in my Hey, Author! line-up is Sam Blake, author of the very creepy-sounding Little Bones, the first book in the Cat Connolly detective series which is already being hailed as a bestseller.

Sam Blake

It’s been some launch week for Sam, who is AKA Vanessa Fox-O’Loughlin, one of the most influential book and publishing advisors in Ireland today. Not only have acclaimed Irish crime writers like Niamh O’Connor and Alex Barclay been singing the praises of Little Bones, many bookshops around the country have embraced the sinister premise to the book by displaying wedding dresses in their windows next to their rapidly diminishing piles of stock.

wedding

But never fear, I will stop at nothing to get my Hey, Author! readers the information they need to know, and so using my own investigative prowess, I managed to track Sam down in between her launch parties and book signings last week, and I made her talk. It wasn’t pretty. There were secret passwords and cocktails involved. But I did it for you.

So, Sam Blake! We like the look of your book. We might even buy it and read it. But first, there are some things we need to know. What is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

I think my favourite place in my hometown, a wine bar called Scotties, may not exist anymore – it’s been a loooong time since I lived in St. Albans (over 20 years, ahem). Here in Dublin it’s Ragazzi restaurant in Dalkey, makes me feel like I’m in Italy, or Jamie’s in Dundrum where we’ve had some great girls’ nights out!

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

I use Boots No 7 for everything, fabulous – for everything!

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, no contest

 dumaurier_daphneDaphneDuMaurier_Rebecca_first

Favourite clothes shop?

I am totally dedicated to House of Fraser online where I check Ted Baker and Karen Millen MUCH too often, but their service is unbelievable, you can order online at midnight, get everything delivered to Dundrum almost the next day (or when suits), try it on and if you don’t like it send it back!! It takes all the pain out of shopping (and the time, which I’m always short of).

 shopping 1

Karen Millen have managed all of my styling for my book launch events too, and they have been amazing! (I was wondering where that gorgeous little black number came from – and how convenient that Sam and I are the same size….- Ed.)

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Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Ragazzi in Dalkey.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall, shortly followed by Langhams in London (they have crazy golden spider yokes climbing up the wall, haven’t got to the bottom of them yet!)

 

Favourite movie?

Tricky one – Pretty Woman I think, but also love Notting Hill (romantic at heart)!

pretty woman

Favourite band/musician?

Like everyone I love Adele, but I also love Jess Glynne and I’m a closet One Direction and Beiber fan but I couldn’t confess to that in public.

 

Favourite meal?

I love monkfish but whenever I’m out I seem to order a chicken Caesar salad, I’m a creature of habit (like this guy below – Ed).

monkfish

Favourite tipple?

Gordons & Schweppes or Baileys with ice. That should be an ‘and’ not an ‘or’ of course.

over_ice_en_gb

Good gurrl yerself, Sam. Not the average Belieber tipple, I’d guess, but the perfect choice nonetheless for a St. Albans girl who at this stage truly must be more Irish than the Irish themselves.

So readers, you have all the important info now, but if you need to know more about Sam Blake and her detective Cat Connolly, you can follow her here on Twitter and on Facebook and don’t forget to get your copy of Little Bones before they get sold out!

little bones

Until the next stalkingly-good Hey, Author! post,

Sheena x