Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Does a Kiwi Author Like to Write About Ireland

Author Michelle Vernal

Second Hand Jane
Just like Jess in my novel, Second-Hand Jane I am a magpie when it comes to thrift shops. It’s the thrill of a bargain, of finding treasure. On this particular day, I spotted the black and white print hanging in the entrance of the second-hand shop as soon as I stepped over the thresh hold. It stood out amongst a half dozen other paintings that were no longer loved – relics from decades past. I stood in front of it proprietarily. There was something about the young lovers captured in it that fired my imagination. Needless to say it came home with me that day and now hangs in pride of place on my bedroom wall.

That couple photographed back in the 1950’s or 60’s whoever they might be became the inspiration behind Rosa and Michael two of the four main characters in my new book, The Traveller’s Daughter. To my mind, there was something gypsy-like about them, and I knew there was a story to be weaved around that print. The book is predominantly about Rosa’s daughter, Kitty, but Rosa is a character I loved writing. She evolved from diary styled entries, but a word in my ear from my Agent saw me re-writing her story so in her words, ‘the reader feels they are there with her.’ I felt like I was there with her and when I finished the story it was a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend.

When I am in the midst of writing a book it takes over between the hours of nine and three while my boys are at school. For a little while after it is all done and dusted I don’t know what to do with myself. Actually I stand corrected I know exactly what I should be doing with myself. I just said it, dusting and all the other housework that gets ignored through pages 1 to 300. Then, I’ll hear or see something that I just know has a story waiting to be told. This time it was while doing a no lights, no lycra (don’t ask) fitness class in a nearby community hall that dates back to the late 1800’s. It’s a good job writing isn’t physically taxing because I did my Achilles in that class. This story too will have an Irish connection.

The Traveller's Daughter by Michelle Vernal
So why does a Kiwi author like to write about Ireland? Well, it’s a country that holds a special place in my heart and not just because of U2 or the fact it has been said my hubby bears a slight resemblance to Ronan Keating. Okay, so that was light years ago just like when I turned twenty-one in Dublin fair city and mingled with settled Travellers. I returned at twenty-eight for a working but mostly fun stint with my now husband. He proposed to me in Bad Bob’s Bar in Dublin. Yes, he’d had a few, but he remembered what he had done in the morning and we’re still together thirteen years later. 

Michelle can be reached through Facebook
on Twitter, or through her Website 

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