Best-selling author Faith Hogan is keeping the faith during the lockdown, thanks to her Moy Valley haven in Ballina, Co Mayo.
“In many ways, the upsides for us are perhaps outweighing the downsides,” she says.
“I’m very much a home bird and being with my four children under the one roof, having the excuse to sit in the garden because the sun has managed to come out and read a book [is wonderful]. I also get to play tennis badly. We have a large garden and a dog that gets all the balls for us.”
Her main concern is her mum, who she describes as a “very young old person”.
“We’ll be popping in shopping and that’s it.”
The fear about cocooning, she says, “is that they would come out of this being an older person.”
Married to James and working part-time as an in-service manager for the disability sector, she somehow managed to write five books in 2019, including two crime novels under the name of Geraldine Hogan.
“I just think I’m blessed to be writing. I write very much like I think and as I speak.
It’s marketed as grown-up women’s fiction. I’m not a 20-year-old writing about flatshares in London. It would be more mature. There is quite a big market for it — thank god.
- Faith Hogan’s latest book, What Happened To Us, Head of Zeus, is available from April 30
What shape are you in?
It depends on who is asking. If it’s my GP — I’m grand. If it’s my sister, she knows I should move more, eat less and try to make more time for doing absolutely nothing – so there’s no point trying to tell her otherwise.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I’m an all about the non-girl. So I don’t drink caffeine or alcohol and eat very little meat. But I love fruit, vegetables and nuts.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
There is nothing nicer than an old black and white movie, a big bowl of ice-cream and the dog sprawled on the sofa beside me.
What would keep you awake at night?
I’m at an age where all my real worries are about others — either my family or friends. Of course, there are nights when I lie awake tormenting myself about silly things also, such a waste of beauty sleep.
How do you relax?
Unsurprisingly, I’m a big reader, so a comfy chair and a bit of peace and quiet and I’m happy out.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Anne Tyler, I adore her books; Alexandar McCall Smith, he’s very witty; Coco Chanel, yes, deceased, but still glamorous; and Meryl Streep so I could ask her about taking the lead role in the film adaptation of my next book.
What’s your favourite smell?
Wild lavender and fresh coffee.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I wouldn’t say no to the fairy god mother who offered to wipe 10 years off my laughter lines. However, I’m not prepared to sacrifice even one of those memories for the most flawless skin.
When is the last time you cried?
I’m delighted to say, I can’t remember. Although, just yesterday on Twitter a post came up where a woman was holding her dying mother’s hand — there was nothing for it, but to write something completely inadequate and say a little prayer.
What traits do you least like in others?
I find negativity hard going, so I tend to move along quickly if I can.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
I tend to go along with things just to keep everyone happy — it feeds into my whole non-competitive vibe. I’m not sure it’s my most self-serving trait.
Do you pray?
Yes — although, as I grow older, the way I pray has changed. Rather than a one-man show, my conversations tend to be with a creator far more fluid, perhaps it’s a reflection of the times we’re living in.
What would cheer up your day?
Dog daisies on a summer day — they are optimism sheathed in a green stem and a happy face.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
That would have to be right here, in my own sitting room. I love a holiday as much as the next woman, but as Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz — there’s no place like home.
What quote inspires you the most?
‘You get a lot more out of life if you spread honey instead of vinegar.’ I’m not sure who said it, but it’s been my mantra for as long as I can remember. Other people might say, it’s better to be kind, but I think, it’s the same thing. We need to choose our words carefully because there really is no taking them back.