Beginner’s Pluck


Brought up in a huge family on a farm in Australia, Rosemary always loved reading. After university she taught English in various secondary schools for six years. In 1968, she moved to Ireland, fell in love, married, and had two children.

“I didn’t work, because I wanted to be the world’s best mother.”

At 60, Rosemary went to Australia for six months and tried writing a book. Once she started, the ideas just flowed in. She is also an artist.


Date/place of birth: Sept 7, 1942/New South Wales, Australia.

Education: St Mary’s School, Grafton, New South Wales. She studied English at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales.

Home: Rathmines.

Family: Husband Kevin. Children Cian, 34, an artist, and Orla, 30, a psychologist.

The Day Job: Writing and painting. “I will have my first solo exhibition next year.”

Hobbies: “I’m obsessive about hobbies. I’ll do one for five years then move on. I’ve done patchwork, buying antique furniture, but now my hobbies are to do with art.”

Favourite Writers: John McGahern, Claire Keegan, Kate Atkinson, and Patrick De Witt.

Second Novel: “It’s a sequel. I’ve started it, and am loving writing it.”

Top Writing Tip: “Pick an interesting subject. That way, the readers won’t be bored.”

Web/Twitter: Neither.


‘Tyringham Park’. Poolbeg Press, €12.99; Kindle, €7.59.

In 1917, Charlotte Blackshaw’s baby sister Victoria goes missing. Her loss remains a mystery. Life is hard for the unattractive eight-year-old left behind. It’s a life of privilege, but her mother hates her and her nanny is cruel. Will her burgeoning talent for horse riding and art save her, or will this unhappy start impact on her entire life? Charlotte reaches for a chance at happiness, but the past casts a shadow. “I have an obsession with ‘na-ture versus nurture’. I think nurture is more important.”

The Verdict: An Irish period saga with bite. Its vindictive edginess is reminiscent of the novels of Molly Keane.

— Interviewed by Sue Leonard


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