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.

One of my ABSOLUTE favourite books of 2016 was The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, so when Cynthia graciously agreed to take part in my Hey, Author! blog, I was more than a little delighted. I love to feature authors from outside of Ireland (if only to get tips for where to eat when I’m on holidays), but with a name like Sweeney, I’m thinking this girl fits right in here.

CynthiaD_AprixSweeney–AuthorofTheNest-e1487994525591-circle

So, Ms. Sweeney. We like the look of your book. (In truth, I’ve been banging on about it for months.) But before my readers press download on their kindle devices, there are some things they really need to know.

What is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles is a truly magical place. The first time I went there the summer after we moved to Los Angeles it was to hear one of my idols, Etta James, open for a young lady whose debut album I quite liked but didn’t know too much about: Adele. Etta James was sick that night, but Adele was magnificent and she’s done pretty well since then. When you see a concert at the Bowl, if you’re lucky enough to sit in one of the boxes, waiters bring you food and drink throughout the evening. The weather is always sublime, the air fragrant and the wine flows freely!

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

Is there such a thing as a product slut? If there is, I’m it. I don’t swear allegiance to anything and am particularly susceptible to packaging that borders on institutional and costs a fortune. The hair conditioner I’m using now is in a plain white bottle that says “CONDITIONER” in a plain black font. I bought it a fancy salon and it was ridiculously expensive, but smells great.

beauty

Illustration by Jennifer Melchi

 

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

This is a terrible question for a writer! But I’ll lean Irish and say that James Joyce’s story “The Dead” is one of my favorite pieces of writing and something I read again and again.

(Interesting fact – the house at 15 Ushers Island on the river Liffey in Dublin where Joyce’s aunts lived and where The Dead was purportedly set, is currently up for sale for any Joycians with €550,000 in loose change… -Ed.)

Joyce

Favourite clothes shop?

I have a new favorite clothes shop although it only lives on the Internet. Everlane is based in San Francisco and the clothes are classic, well-made, affordable and ethically produced. I did an enormous closet clean-out in the spring and basically started rebuilding my wardrobe using the Everlane site. I really love their stuff.

(Me too! Hurry up and deliver to Ireland, guys! -Ed.)

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

This is almost as hard as picking a favorite book. I’m going to make it easy on myself by choosing the place I ate last night: Lucky’s in Montecito, California. It’s a classic little steak and fish place right outside of Santa Barbara and the local sand dabs—which I guess are a little like Dover sole—are sublime. The martinis aren’t shabby either.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

I’m old enough to remember when McSorley’s Old Ale House in New York City allowed women in the bar (they were finally forced to by law), but didn’t provide restrooms for women (their little protest). My friends and I would spend long Saturday afternoons drinking one of the two kinds of beer they have on tap—light or dark—and eating plates of cheese served with sliced raw onion and the house mustard. When it was time to go to the “ladies” room, you’d recruit a few male friends to usher you past the line of urinals and stand guard at the stall. As you can tell, it was very fancy. I still love an afternoon at McSorley’s and it’s still “light or dark,” but the ladies have their own loo now.

McSoleys

Favourite movie?

Casablanca. Always and forever.

CasablancaPoster-Gold

Favourite band/musician?

I have a soft spot for the classic jazz singers, especially the women, and Ella Fitzgerald is the queen. The person I’ve seen in concert most often is Elvis Costello and one of my favorite recent concerts was the Diana Ross at the Hollywood Bowl last summer. That woman is 73 years old and descended onto the stage on a swing while belting out “I’m Coming Out.” She was fantastic.

Favourite meal?

My mother is 100% Italian. She was born in the United States but all of her grandparents came over from Italy. Our family Sunday Sauce, a tomato sauce with pork and sometimes sausage and meatballs will always be my most comforting comfort food. When we move into a new apartment or house, one of the first things I make is that sauce. My husband calls it “seasoning the house.” As good as burning sage for getting rid of lingering bad spirits and summoning good ones.

Favourite tipple?

Summer: Gin and Tonic. Winter: Manhattan with rye whiskey, straight up with a luxardo cherry.

 

Well, it’s always winter weather over this neck of the woods, Cynthia, so as The First Lady of Song herself might say, we’ll have Manhattan!

To those of you who haven’t yet read Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s  The Nest – you are in for a treat – a therapeutic read for those with siblings, and a reminder of the dodged bullet for those without!

nest cover

Cynthia, it’s been wonderful finding out more about the places to go in LA and beyond. Come visit your Irish relatives soon, and perhaps you can pick up some local culinary ideas to rival Nonna’s.

Pint of Guinness, anyone?

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.

Ask anyone in the literary know in Dublin town who the nicest local authors are and Sinéad Moriarty will be on most lists. And she’s been around Dublin a while – her latest The Good Mother, is Sinéad’s twelfth novel and I’ve no doubt that her loyal fans are already waiting impatiently for her thirteenth.

Sinead Moriarty pic

She’s certainly a busy girl, but I still managed to track her down and grill her on behalf of my lovely Hey, Author! readers. So here goes.

We like the look of your latest novel, Ms. Moriarty. But before we don our wellies and head out in the spring showers to our nearest bookshop, there are some things we need to know.

What is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

I love indoor/outdoor spaces. We used to be so rubbish at it in Ireland but now there are lots of lovely places to sit out in. The rooftop bar in the Dean Hotel is a great place to have a drink. The open air bar at House is also lovely at night with all the lights twinkling. For some reason I feel like I’m away when I’m sitting outside sipping wine, there is a holiday feel to it.

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

John Frieda Frizz Ease. As the French hairdresser exclaimed this summer, “you ‘ave the ‘air of ze man who is in the field to scare the birds away”. Yes, my natural hair texture is scarecrow-esque. So Frizz-ease is a miracle as far as I’m concerned.

scarecrow

Recent Sinead Moriarty dust-jacket photo…(not really – Ed)

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

I have to say Pat McCabe’s The Dead School. It changed the way I viewed writing. What he does with words is extraordinary. His deeply black humour makes it seem like a sin to be laughing but you can’t help it, despite the darkness of his characters. I think he’s a genius.

Dead School

Favourite clothes shop?

I’m a shopaholic. Because I spend so much time in front a computer and work alone, my ‘coffee breaks’ involve me surfing the net for clothes and shoes. My latest obsession is The Outnet, you can get some really good deals online. But I do love a good browse and Brown Thomas is always a pleasure to spend time in. (We also loved the dress you wore at the launch of The Good Mother. Stylish. – Ed)

launch pic

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

The most spectacular restaurant I’ve ever been to – mainly because of the view – is the Château de La Chèvre d’Or in Eze in the south of France. The restaurant is set on the cliff’s edge. Stunning views.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

I spent a lot of time in Sheehans pub on Chatham street in Dublin as a student. I have enjoyed many fun and rowdy nights there over the years, so it always has a special place in my heart.

sheehans-small

Favourite movie?

The Old Maid – it’s a Bette Davis classic and I love it. It reminds me of watching old Black and White movies with Mum and my sister on rainy days. Bette Davis was a real star and her performance in this very moving film is fantastic.

Bette Davis

Favourite band/musician?

Since as far back as I can remember I’ve loved U2. I had posters and calendars of them all over my bedroom wall as a teenager and I still love what they do. Their ability to stick together through thick and thin and produce incredible music over decades is extraordinary. They were, for a very long time, our best export. (Roll on 22nd July! –  Ed)

Favourite meal?

Roast chicken and mash potatoes followed by apple and blackberry crumble with custard. Bliss!

Favourite tipple?

I love a cold glass of fizz. I think the bubbles give you a lift and I always feel a bit decadent drinking bubbles, no matter where I am or what the occasion is. Life can be difficult, so sometimes a glass of fizz can lift your spirits.

champers

We couldn’t agree with you more, Sinéad, and what else could one quaff when whiling away the hours plotting one’s 13th novel on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean?

Bottoms up, girl.

If you haven’t already got yourself a copy of The Good Mother, off with you. By all accounts it should come with a mascara-alert and box of Kleenex, but you can judge that for yourselves.

goodmother_thumb

I’m off to get my own copy, and take it to the roof bar of the Dean Hotel.

Hallelujah, here She comes…

Until next time.

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.

My own second novel The Lake was published by HarperCollins on their Killer Reads imprint. I was lucky enough to be part of the first group of digital-first Killer Reads authors back in 2015 along with the fantastic Chris Curran, whose second novel Her Turn to Cry is out now, much to the delight of her many fans who raved about her first novel Mindsight.

chris-curran-author-pic

And wait for it – Chris will be launching the paperback of her new book at Hastings Pier Shop on Saturday 26th November 2016 between 12 and 3pm! Sure where else would you be?! You can grill her on her answers to the questions below in person there, and see the beautiful sights of Hastings while you are at it. Fantastic!

So let’s get started!

Hey, author. 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?

Drinks at sunset on Hastings Pier. Then a wander down to the Old Town for dinner in one of the many wonderful fish restaurants. Webbe’s is my favourite just now. It’s opposite the fish market and you can see the boats drawn up on the shingle so you know everything is just out of the sea. Then we might take in some live music at Porters wine bar.

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

I’m a bit of a cheapskate so I usually go for anything on offer, but I do like Olay because my mum used when it was called Oil of Ulay. I always thought that sounded like something from The Arabian Nights and that it might have magic powers. On evidence collected to date however it doesn’t!

ulay

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Oh no, that is too hard! Rebecca was the novel that made me want to write psychological crime, but my oldest and still my best love is a children’s book: Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. For me it has more profound things to say about love, time, growing up and growing old than many a Booker or Pulitzer Prize winner. Each time I reread it I find new things to savour.

tom-mid-garden

Favourite clothes shop?

I have a dilemma because I don’t much enjoy shopping of any kind, but I do like clothes. Zara’s stuff often appeals to me and seems to fit me pretty well and I buy the occasional posh dress from Hobbs. Oh, and I do like rummaging for something vintage in a nice charity shop.

charity

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Crannog in Fort William, overlooking Loch Linney. They smoke their own fish and serve fabulous Scottish cheeses and puddings to die for.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

Dry Martini, Barcelona. Old-fashioned style par excellence. White coated waiters, comfortable armchairs, mellow jazz in the background and of course the best cocktails ever.

dry-martini

Favourite movie?

Nothing beats the oldies for me and if I could write a novel with a storyline as brilliant as Hitchcock’s Rear Window I’d die happy. However Some Like It Hot is an unbeatable joy. Hilarious Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis in his handsome youth channeling a great Cary Grant accent and some sublime shimmying from Marilyn Monroe, achingly vulnerable as the gorgeous Sugar.

some-like-it-hot

Favourite band/musician?

It’s mostly oldies again and moody for preference. Billy Holliday, Dusty Springfield, Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Amy Winehouse and, to help me stay calm and cheerful when I’m driving and improve my French at the same time, I keep a Charles Trenet CD in the car.

Favourite meal?

My own lemon and black pepper roast chicken with crispy potatoes followed by homemade crème caramel. Ideally eaten with family and friends in the garden or in front of a lovely fire.

Favourite tipple?

Grey Goose vodka with Fentimans tonic, ice and a slice of lime.

grey-goose-vodka

Well, that makes a change from all those gin-swilling authors I’ve interviewed! I like your style, Ms. Curran.

herturntocry-cover

You can get your mitts on a copy of Chris Curran’s latest Killer Reads thriller Her Turn To Cry here, and do follow her on twitter here.

Thanks you for sharing your secret hideouts with us Chris! I can’t decide if I want to visit Hastings or Fort William more. After Barcelona, of course. As Charles Trenet might say,

BOUM!

 

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 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.

dsc_7910

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!

image002

 

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

 

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.

cover_jpg_rendition_460_707

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Favourite meal?

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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! roll call is Catherine Ryan Howard, one-time self-publishing guru, now author of Distress Signals, the hottest thriller to be released this summer – one you are going to see a lot of around the pool on your holidays. This week has been a little busy for Catherine, what with having TWO launches – one in Dubray’s bookshop in Dublin which practically broke Twitter and one in Waterstones in her native city of Cork, but I managed to grab a few precious moments with Catherine between launches to get the important info from her.

Like where is the best place in Cork to get a bag of chips.

This is critical stuff, people.

Catherine Ryan Howard by City Headshots Dublin

So, Catherine! We like the look of your book. We might even buy it and read it (unless of course we are planning a cruise anytime soon – trust me on that one, Ed). But first, there are some things we need to know. What is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

The only “out” bit of it would be joining the monstrous queue outside K.C.’s in Douglas to collect my BLT pitta, chips and mayonnaise and a potato pie, and then the rest of it would be spent on the sofa in my parents’ house, wearing sweatpants watching some Scandi Noir on the BBC. Party central, I know. But I’m almost 34 and the hangovers are becoming truly monstrous…

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

I’ve been using the same moisturiser since I was 14 years old – Nivea Soft, which costs approximately €5 per bucket – but my favourite haircare product is at the other end of the spectrum: Alterna’s Caviar anti-aging replenishing shampoo/conditioner. You’d have to re-mortgage if you were using it on a daily basis, but for special occasions you can just about justify the expense. It’s AMAZING.

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Obviously.

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Favourite clothes shop?

This is actually a tough one… Hmm. I’m big into Boden at the moment, but then Oasis have helpfully brought out an entire collection covered in anchors, so… Oh, I can’t choose!

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Does K.C.’s count as a restaurant? (Eh, no tables, so no – Ed.)

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

My favourite place to drink – and it’s a specific drink, an Agua de Valencia which is a cocktail made with cava or champagne, Valencia orange juice and a little shot of vodka and a little shot of gin – is on the terrace of the Westin Valencia, preferably in spring/summer. Bonus points if they’ve brought us crisps and olives to go with them, and heaven if the in-house saxophonist is there too.

Favourite movie?

The Truman Show. Still on the dream list: staying in Seaside, Florida, the town where it was shot.

Truman

Favourite band/musician?

John Mayer – when he’s singing. Not so much with the talking.

Favourite meal?

I’m partial to a club sandwich and have done extensive research into them. The best so far is from Lafayette’s in the Imperial Hotel on the South Mall in Cork. And I’ve had a LOT of them.

Favourite tipple?

A Moscow Mule. Fill a glass with ice cubes and add a measure of vodka and the juice of a lime. Fill to the top then with ginger beer – NOT ginger ale, ginger beer. Technically it should be served in a copper jug but in my experience, a glass will do.

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I’d say a dirty jam jar would do, but that’s for another day.

So now you know all the important details about Catherine, but if you want to know more, you can find her on Twitter here @cathryanhoward and if you know anyone going on a cruise this summer, particularly if it’s someone you don’t like too much, you might want to scare them with a copy of Distress Signals for the journey!

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Thanks for sharing Catherine, and best of luck with Distress Signals!

‘Til next time on, Hey, Author!

Sheena x