This much I know: Cathy Kelly

Trying to write without being a reader is a little like trying to be John Rocha without ever having seen a dress. My advice to any would-be writer is to read, read — and read.
This much I know: Cathy Kelly

I am a very disciplined writer because I have to be. Given half a chance, I’d slope off and read or find that the baking cupboard needs to be sorted out... I’d use anything as a distraction.

Somebody once said that a writer’s fame is a nice sort of thing in that it can get you a booking in a restaurant but nobody will interrupt your dinner to ask you for your autograph. My fame is hilariously different — people say hello in the supermarket. I like being able to use my bit of fame for things like publicising the work that UNICEF does.

The most rewarding thing about writing is that I get to spend every working day creating fabulous worlds and once that’s over I can pick up my darling sons from school and do their homework with them.

‘Work life balance’ is a bit like time management. Both are concepts that I struggle with. When your office is at home, you have to shut the door at night.

It’s tragic to see so many young people emigrating. If I could change one thing about our society, I’d go back in time on my magic carpet and make sure we had bank regulation and that the property bubble never got a chance to develop.

My brain (unfortunately) never stops buzzing. I think of six impossible things before breakfast. Making them into a novel is a different story.

My earliest memory is of being three and dancing in a sandbox, feeling the sand squelching up between my toes. It was a lovely feeling.

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days hit me at once. I love funny mottoes.

Whenever I get any free time I use it to read, to paint, to do embroid- ery — and to slump in front of the television with sweet cups of tea.

The writing scene has certainly changed a lot since I started out. There are now far more authors out there, which means more people are trying to get into print. But good books will always find a way.

I love people so I do miss the office scene from when I worked as a newspaper journalist. But I have so many people that I talk to now — publishers world-wide, agents and writers that I mentor, to mention just a few — that I am never lonely.

My style of writing has definitely changed over the years. As your life experiences change, so your themes change. Also, after writing so many books, I hope my writing craft has improved. I love the Beckett phrase about trying to “fail better”.

I hate being away from my family on book tours but as I genuinely love meeting people, I actually do enjoy the touring. People open up to me and that is the most glorious thing.

I am incredibly connected to Ireland in a spiritual way. I always set my novels in Ireland and am fascinated by our Celtic past.

The best thing about being a mother is simply being a mother. It is a joy. I am blessed to have two adorable, fabulous sons.

I always read my reviews. Once a journalist, always a journalist.

My favourite line is from Saki’s wonderful short story, The Lumber Room: “Oh Devil, you have sold yourself.” I read this first when I was about 15 and fell in love with Saki.

I’m getting into social media. I am a new Tweeter (@cathykellybooks) and I am on Facebook. My website is Please come talk to me!

Cathy Kelly has written 12 novels to date, all of which are international best sellers. Her latest novel Homecoming has just gone to number one in paperback in both Ireland and the UK.

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