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! 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.

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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