Thanks for this interview, Jeanette. Congratulations on your new book! Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing? Can you tell us about your journey?
Actually, writing my books and having them published has always been smooth sailing. It’s the promotion that is difficult for me. Transitioning from a large publisher to a more hybrid form is something I knew very little about. With the demise of large publishing houses, I needed (still do) a lot of direction in getting my manuscript out there in front of readers. I’m thankful to Teri Rider of Top Reads Publishing for her consummate patience and kindness.
When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?
I love reading, and I love traveling, both relaxing and fun.
What makes your book stand out from the rest?
I started out writing Irish and Scottish paranormals and had great success with them. NELL was a Rita Award winner, which was exciting for me. After writing several of those published by Pocket Books, I wanted to change it up for a bit and write Irish contemporaries as well as some American novels, which I did with MIRA books. I then took my chances with Indie publishing which didn’t work for me. I’m not well-versed in advertising which is necessary if a writer self-publishes. Again, I’m thankful that a friend suggested Top Reads Publishing.
Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?
Look at the time, half-eight, and not a child in the house washed. The expression was my late mother’s, voiced nearly every day in the house where I grew up, ten children tucked into two bedrooms with one bath upstairs.
We were never close, my mother and me, not for any particular reason I can remember; we just didn’t get on. It was Fiona and Kathleen she preferred and Jimmy, always Jimmy, her middle child, the ciotogach, the red-headed lefty of our family who wasn’t supposed to amount to much and ended up in America with more in the bank than all of us put together.
The funny thing is Jimmy loved Tralee, still does, more than Keith or Liam or Michael, certainly more than I ever did. I was desperate to immigrate and wouldn’t have come back, not after Boston, but some things can’t be planned and shouldn’t be remembered.
Never mind all that, my mother would say. Memories never emptied the sink or hung out the washing. All they’re good for is regret. She was right. I know now that she was a font of wisdom I didn’t appreciate. It was my dad I preferred, the jokester, the man’s man, always ready with a wink, a story and a pint. Even when he told me bees could be captured in a can without a lid because they never looked up, and I tried it and nearly died from the experience, I blamed myself and never doubted him. Interesting how perspectives change after six decades.
Speaking of the washing, it’s a good day for it, breezy without a hint of rain. I’m moving slowly today, feeling unsettled, looking for an excuse to avoid housework. Fergus Murphy, the postman, on his way to the door, is as fine a reason as any to sit down for a pot of tea and a scone.
“Good morning, Mrs. Malone,” he calls out. “How is the day treating you so far?”
“It’s a bit early to weigh in on the day, Mr. Murphy. Have you time for a cup of tea. It’s just made, and the scones are fresh.”
He scratches his head, checks to see that his few remaining wisps of hair are positioned over the shiny dome of his head, and winks. “Wasn’t I just thinking how I’d like one of Mrs. Malone’s scones?”
If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?
Thanksgiving. I love the gold and amber colors, the richness of the food and the gathering of family.
Would you consider turning your book into a series, or has that already been done?
I’m not really enthusiastic about writing a series. When I’m through writing a book, I feel as if I’ve given it my best, and I can’t imagine returning to the same characters and their conflicts.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
What’s next for you?
I’m anxious to return to Ireland. I haven’t been since the pandemic, and all my ideas come from visiting the home place of my ancestors.