BESTSELLING author Jo Spain redefines the meaning of multi-tasking.
A mother of four, ranging in age from five to 14, she has written two crime fiction books in the one year, and somehow also manages to write screenplays, appear on TV and respond to interview requests.
Is there a quote that inspires the Dublin woman to keep going, despite the pressure?
“There’s one they claim Winston Churchill said: ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’. I love it because it probably applies to anybody who makes it as a successful novelist or screenwriter.
“People ask, how do you do it, and that’s the answer. You keep going, even when things don’t go your way.”
Six Wicked Reasons, by Jo Spain, published by Quercus, is out now
What shape are you in?
I’m in fairly decent shape. I run three to four times a week and walk everywhere. I work from home so I have to make a conscious effort to exercise to make sure I don’t turn into a couch potato, but I enjoy it anyway.
I’ve been running since my teenage years.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I love to cook and use a lot of fish and vegetables in my dishes. Also, I really like Asian food so rely on spices more than cream and butter. I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation.
For me dieting consists of trying not to eat all the chocolate or having take-out more than once or twice a week.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Champagne. I’m generally healthy so when I have a tipple I’m conscious of the calorie count and hangover coming my way, but you’ve got to live!
What would keep you awake at night?
Stress. I’m one of those people who struggles to get up in the morning and lies awake at night thinking of all the things I need to do.
That and the kids bed-hopping. Our five-year-old wakes me up almost every night.
How do you relax?
When I run, afterwards I always feel really relaxed so if I’m feeling particularly tense, I’ll go out for a half-hour, shower, order a nice meal that night, and watch some good TV or read an addictive thriller.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
The people I already know. I just don’t want to work that hard at dinner. Call it mammy fatigue.
What’s your favourite smell?
I have lots. I’m really into my smells and am keeping the scented-candle industry in business.
I love freshly cut roses, midnight-blooming jasmine, rain-soaked moss and the skin of a new baby.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I’m a woman, everything, depending on which mirror I’m looking in, the angle, the lighting and the crest of the moon.
But if I could only have one thing for free I’d ask for luxurious, long hair.
When is the last time you cried?
I cry a lot when watching sad TV or reading a well-written emotional book so by the time this is in print, I’ll have probably cried 74 more times.
I watched series three of The Crown recently and the episode set in the mining village had me in floods.
What traits do you least like in others?
I’ve a list. Passive aggressiveness, manipulation, greed, lack of self-awareness, arrogance, rudeness.
This has sub-categories of people who think it’s okay to be late, okay not to pay their share, okay to insult — basically anything that boils down to the sort of person who inadvertently or deliberately upsets other people.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
I worry too much.
I catastrophise every scenario in my head. And I can be too patient at times. It takes a lot before I snap with people and sometimes it’s a completely irrational response but it’s built on months of frustration.
Do you pray?
Not as a routine but I do talk to a higher power in my head, and to loved ones who have passed.
The only thing we can be sure of is we don’t know anything beyond this world.
What would cheer up your day?
My TV agent emailing me to say Bafta has been on about an award. In real life, the hubby surprising me with a night out.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Home. I like seeing other places, but always happiest when I’m with my family.