Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty Ciara Geraghty is a best selling Irish author who lives in Dublin with her husband and their two children. Finding Mr. Flood is her third novel.

  1. Your latest story “Finding Mr. Flood” is about Dara, a young woman who goes in search of her estranged father, hoping that he might be a match for her sister who desperately needs a kidney, she does this the help of local private investigator Stanley Flinter. What inspired you to write this type of story?
    The funny thing about ‘Finding Mr. Flood’ is that the story is inspired by a segment on an Irish radio phone-in show I heard years and years before I ever thought about writing. A woman rang in to the station, distraught. Several days before she rang in, her husband – a lorry driver pulled up outside their home. She was waiting at the front door. She told him that a piece of flat-pack furniture had been delivered that day and she needed his help to lug it up the stairs. He said he’d park the lorry up the road where he always parked it, and be right back. He drove up the road and she never saw him again.

    The story intrigued me. Haunted me almost. I often think about him. Why did he leave? Did his wife ever see him again? Did they have any children? Where did he go? Did he ever come back? I never forgot the story and it returned to me at odd times during the preceding 15 odd years. That formed the basis for the idea of ‘Finding Mr. Flood.’

    The lovely thing about being a writer is that, when you come across things that you can’t understand, you can write about them and they become clearer. To you, at least. It is one of my favourite things about writing; it helps me to make sense of the world.

  2. To the readers of the blog, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.

    I never knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was 34, I decided to do an evening class, more to get out of the house once a week and do something unrelated to work and mother/wife employee/friend related duties. I signed up to a creative writing class with no idea of what to expect.

    I LOVED it.

    Before I started writing, I felt like I had an itch that I just couldn’t scratch. I was restless. When I started writing stories at that class, something happened to me. I can’t quite explain it and I’m worried that this will sound crazy; but I felt like I’d come home. A lovely quiet home, where your favourite dinner is handed to you on a plate and your dirty clothes are returned to you clean and pressed and smelling of roses. And where no pot plants die prematurely.

  3. What authors do you admire?
    Millions!! I would say ‘influences’ would include John Irving and Margaret Atwood. I love the quirkiness of their characters and the ease of their storytelling. I love Irish writers; Kevin Barry, Joseph O’Connor, Anne Enright, Colm Tobin, Marian Keyes, Colum McCann, Edna O’Brien. All great story tellers. And great writers. Coming from such a small, insignificant island but surrounded on all sides by these talented, amazing writers, makes people like me think that….YES….I CAN DO IT TOO!!!!!
  4. What was the first book you have ever read?
    The first book I read that had a real impact on me was Anne Of Green Gables. My mother recommended it and she took real pleasure in me reading it. We had something in common while I read it. She’d say ‘Which bit are you at now?’ She was reading it again, vicariously, through me. When I walked into the kitchen with the tears falling down, she turned from her spot at the kitchen sink with the suds dripping from her yellow Marigolds and said ‘Matthew died.’ And she was right. Matthew had died. And I mourned his passing like he was a real, live person who I had known personally. That’s the moment I suppose. When I realised the impact books could have. The realness of them. How they made you care. Empathise. Grieve. And I grieved for Matthew. I still do. I don’t think I’ll ever get over him.
  5. As a avid reader, I am constantly on the look out for book recommendations from reliable sources. What are you reading at the moment and would you recommend it?
    I just finished the second book of the Edna O’Brien trilogy which began with ‘The Country Girls’. The second one is ‘The Girl with the Green Eyes’ and I’m about to start the third, ‘Girls In Their Married Bliss’. All these books were published in the 60’s. Another recommendation from my mother. I had read ‘In the Woods’ (by the same author) years ago and loved it but never got around to reading her back catalogue. The books are fabulous, as fresh and as relevant as the day she wrote them which is a real indicator of fantastic, original, considered writing.
  6. All your books covers have been quite eye-catching over the years. Do you find that you judge a book by its cover?
    If I know and love the author, I don’t care what the cover looks like – I’ll buy it anyway. Ditto for recommendations I get from people whose judgements about books I trust. But if I’m just browsing the shelves in the bookshop, then yes, a cover can quite literally grab me. After that, I read the title and if I like that, I’ll read the blurb at the back. If I like that, I’ll open the book and read the dedication. If that’s not a turn-off, I’ll read the first paragraph and if I like it, I’ll buy it.
  7. Describe your writing routine.
    My favourite routine was when I wrote my first book, ‘Saving Grace’. I had a ‘proper’ job then. And two children. So life was busy. I wrote that book late into the night or very early in the morning. And I discovered things I never knew about being alone and being quiet and how lovely the world can be at five o’clock on a June morning. I never told anyone I was writing a book so it was my ‘secret life’ and I loved it.

    Now, I write to a deadline which is not nearly as exciting or as romantic. I write at my kitchen table for four hours every morning from Monday to Thursday and some Saturdays, in the library. I never thought I could be creative at nine o’clock in the morning but it turns out that I can – it just comes under the heading of ‘discipline’ which is a word I never had any truck with.

  8. If you were put into the unfortunate position of being stranded on a desert island. What three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Tricky question. I think they’ll have to be HUGE books because who knows when I’ll be rescued right? And I’m not going to do a Tom Hanks on it and build a raft and set sail because – in fairness – I have NO idea how to go about building a raft. So here goes…
    – A really huge seafood cookery book – I’ve seen Tom Hanks catching fish and it looks fairly straightforward. Just hope there’s some sundried tomato and balsamic vinegar plants on the island….
    – Ulysses by James Joyce. I have never read this book but I’ve heard that it’s a classic! Some people take years to read it. So I think, on a desert island, I might have enough time to get through it. And I think that self-awareness might be at an optimum on a desert island, so I might even understand it too.
    – One of my favourite books of all time, ‘An Evil Cradling’ by Brian Keenan, (a) because I adore it and (b) I might get some inspiration about how to be alone. Even though Brian had John McCarthy, he did spend a lot of time alone, with his thoughts, and one solitary orange that he didn’t eat (even though he wanted to, very badly) because of the colour of it which was so vibrant and alive in the drabness of his tiny little cell.
  9. Did you read any writers guidebooks during your career? Are there any that you would recommend?

    God yes, I read loads of them. The ones that I have kept are:
    – ‘The Artists and Writers Yearbook’ (updated every year) – I found my agent in this book. I remember the day I picked up the phone and rang her. Bricking it! My husband made me do it. I would have preferred to clean the toilet that my children use on a daily basis.
    – ‘Page after Page’, by Heather Sellers. A lovely little book that you can fit into your handbag (always an important consideration for women and for men who carry ‘manbags’) and full of inspiring ideas for people who are riddled with fantastic reasons why they cannot write.
    – ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. A brilliant and inspirational book for wannabe published writers. Apart from the section on ‘grammar’ which I thought was superfluous. You don’t have to be good at grammar to be a writer. Or a proficient speller. You just have to have a story to tell and the stamina to keep on writing that story until that story is told. Editors will sort the grammar. And the spelling. Don’t do them out of a job!!
  10. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you at all times?
    Tea. Cigerettes. My laptop. A notebook I can scribble stuff in. Sorry, that’s four items but I need all of them.
  11. Here on the Handwrittengirl website, I would like to be able to offer potential writers like myself advice. Are there any area’s you would suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    You are a writer when you write. That’s it. That’s all you have to do to be a writer. Write. Keep on writing. Get to the end. Keep going. You need to be pigheaded. You need to ignore people who tell you that it’s ‘hard’ or ‘impossible to get published’. Put your fingers in your ears. And keep writing. This is what makes you a writer, published or otherwise. Keep doing it.
  12. And finally Ciara, do you have any upcoming projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the blog?
    I am working on my fourth novel at the moment. I am 20,000 words in. Recently, I listened to John Connolly on the radio telling John Murray how every writer wants to delete every word and start again at about the 20,000 word mark. That’s where I am. It’s not a nice place to be but I’m going to follow my own advice and keep writing. That’s the only thing that makes me a writer. I keep writing.

Read more about Ciara Geraghty online or follow her on Twitter @ciarageraghty

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