Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Meet....Sheila O'Flanagan

I am thrilled to introduce huge women's fiction author Sheila O'Flanagan to the Novel Cafe today. Author of over 20 fantastic books a huge Thanks to Sheila for finding the time to answer a few questions! 

Sheila, let’s start by getting to know you a little better!

1. What is your favourite?

TV Show?
My most recent favourite has been The Americans, a series about 2 Soviet spies in the US in the 1970s.

Music to Listen to?
Anything by Rodrigo & Gabriela who play modern Spanish guitar.

Film of all time?
Apollo 13. But I also have a soft spot for Pretty Woman.

Holiday destination?
The Caribbean.

Playing badminton.

Women’s fiction author?
I truly don't have a favourite. If I want a good laugh, I like Sophie Kinsella. For historical fiction, Philippa Gregory.

Book of all time?
Too many to mention. Honestly!

2. You are a true Dubliner through and through, my Husband proposed to me in Dublin so it is also a very special place for me. Can you ever see yourself leaving?

I will always be a Dubliner but I have a holiday house in Spain where I edit most of my books. So I spend quite a bit of time there too. I love both places but Dublin is my home.

3. You have written some superb books, do you have a favourite?

I particularly liked writing Isobel's Wedding because she was such a different character to me and I felt for her and the situation she was in. I'm very proud of my last book, Things We Never Say, because it was a complicated one to structure and I wanted to do justice to Abbey and Ellen's story. I was very pleased at how it turned out!

4. Are your books based on your real life experiences?

If they were, I'd be a complete wreck by now.

5. Have you ever started a book and not been able to finish it?

Not recently. When I was younger I used to start lots of books that I abandoned after the first few chapters. But I'm better at deciding what stories I want to tell now.

6. How do you deal with writer’s block?

Often by doing something completely different. Also by writing something completely different.

7. Your most recent book was ‘Things we never say’ can you tell us a little about it?

It's the story of a patriarchal man who uses the fact that he's wealthy to keep control of his family. But he's kept a secret about a child he had years before and now wants to meet. Her daughter, his granddaughter, comes to Ireland to meet him, but things don't work out exactly as everyone expected. There's a huge fallout from the actions he's taken and the entire family is thrown into turmoil. His grand-daughter has to make some very difficult decisions which will affect her, her mother and the rest of the family.

8. What would your three key pieces of advice be for aspiring authors?

Tell the story you want to tell.
Finish what you start.
Read lots of different types of novels.

9. What’s next for Sheila?

I've just finished editing my next book and I'm desperately trying to get the right title (sometimes the hardest part). I've also been working on another writing project although it'll probably be a while before it sees the light of day (if ever). The badminton season is starting again and so I'm hoping to get fitter and win all my matches this year.

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