Fionnuala Kearney kindly agreed to answer some questions on the blog today. Her book You, Me and Other People was published on 18th June 2015. You can read my review and win a copy of the book here.
Thank you for answering some questions on my blog today. Can you tell me a bit about yourself first of all?
I’m Fionnuala, originally Irish, as the name might give away, but I’ve lived in the UK for most of my adult life. I live in Ascot, have two grown up daughters, who like to pretend they’re still children when they come home, and I’m married to the wonderful Aidan. Oh, and I’m a writer. (I love to be able to say that!)
What gave you the idea for You, Me and Other People and how long did it take from writing the first words to seeing it published?
I knew I wanted to write about a marriage in freefall and the characters came to me almost fully formed. It took about a year and a half to complete from first writing to publication.
In the promotion for this book, I often see that it is recommended for fans of Jojo Moyes, Liane Moriarty and David Nicholls, all hugely successful authors. How does that make you feel?
Proud! Nervous! Being compared to some of my favourite writers, to people I read regularly is an absolute honour and just A LITTLE bit scary…
You have been signed by Harper Collins on a three book deal – can you say anything about your plans for the next two books?
Book two is almost complete, but I still don’t have a title for it. It follows very similar themes of love and loss – though this time the love is not that of a married couple. It questions unconditional, platonic and intimate love. I’m really excited about these characters’ story and consider yourself warned. You’ll need tissues…
Book three is still in the early seed stages in my brain. I need to get book two finished and as soon as I do, I know the seeds will germinate into something wonderful. I do have VERY interesting seeds for it though and it would be my first attempt at a book with three different points of view.
If this was to be made into a film (which would be great, I think), who would you like to see playing Beth and Adam?
Thank you for saying so – wouldn’t that be just brilliant? Adam would, in an ideal world, be played by Tom Hardy. I think he’d be wonderful and of course I’d have to be on set every day just to make sure he’s alright. And my ideal Beth, next to him, creating brilliant on film chemistry, would be Jennifer Connolly.
Without giving away any spoilers, was the ending always the ending you planned? I thought it was perfect but for a while as I was reading, I had kind of expected something else. I suppose I’m asking if the story changed direction or if you always knew what was going to happen to your characters?
It’s a great question and suffice to say that I had certain plans for Beth (which was probably the something else you were expecting), but she told me absolutely, resolutely, they were not the best way forward for her – so she, more than me, dictated the end!
I was quite annoyed at myself for feeling sympathy for Adam in this book – something I hadn’t expected! Had you always planned for him to have a likeable side or did that develop as his storyline unfolded?
I suppose I really want the reader to develop some sympathy for him. He’s very flawed but not really bad. He sets things in motion and immediately regrets them. I wanted to show that flawed characters are often a product of their background and that even though he made wrong choices, he believed that he was making many of them for the right reasons.
Do you have a routine for writing – a set time, a number of words to aim for, a special place to write?
I try hard to treat it as a ‘nine to five’ job. It depends on what stage of a novel I’m at as to whether I work to word count or not. If I’m writing a first draft, I definitely have daily word count targets. If I’m revising or editing, I try to do it by chapters, but that’s not always possible!
Whatever novel stage I’m at, I break up the day by working on the writing for two to three hours in the morning, taking a break, then working on the social media or publicity side of things, emails etc for a couple of hours. Then back to writing! The days can be long, especially with a deadline looming but each one is thrilling and different.
Desert Islands discs – or rather books. If you had to pick three books to take to a desert island, what would they be?
- “How To Survive On A Desert Island Without Tom Hanks.”
- Anything by Bear Grylls
- ‘You, Me and Other People’ to remind myself what I’d done when I was able to eat a staple diet of protein and carbs!
And finally, what was the last book you read and what are you reading now?
The last one I read was ‘I Let You Go’ by Clare Mackintosh, which I really enjoyed, and I’m hoping, work permitting as I have a deadline soon, to start ‘Summertime’ by the lovely Vanessa Faye who is part of my writing group The Prime Writers www.theprimewriters.com
Thank you for having me!