Christmas is Coming - Monica McInerney
My second-last guest on the Christmas is Coming blog series has been an all-time favourite author of mine for years and I am just about beside myself that she is here visiting 'my place' on the world wide web. This simply delightful woman is none other than Australian-born Dublin-based Monica McInerney, the author of the best-selling novels The House of Memories, Lola’s Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Those Faraday Girls (The Faraday Girls in the USA), Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Spin the Bottle (Greetings from Somewhere Else in the USA), Upside Down Inside Out and A Taste for It.
Monica grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia, where her father was the railway stationmaster and her mother worked in the local library. Since then Monica has lived all around Australia (in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart) in Ireland (in County Meath and Dublin) and in London and also travelled widely.
She was a book publicist for ten years, working in Ireland and Australia and promoting authors such as Roald Dahl, Tim Winton, Edna O’Brien and Max Fatchen and events such as the Dublin International Writers’ Festival.
She has also worked as an event manager and organiser of tourism festivals in the Clare Valley; as a freelance writer/editor and in arts marketing in South Australia; a public relations consultant in Tasmania; a record company press officer in Sydney; a barmaid in an Irish music pub in London and as a temp, grapepicker, hotel cleaner, kindergym instructor and waitress. Her first job out of school as a 17-year-old was as wardrobe girl (and later scriptwriter) for the children’s TV show Here’s Humphrey at Channel 9 in Adelaide. She is now a full-time writer.
For the past twenty years she and her Irish husband have been moving back and forth between Australia and Ireland. They currently live in Dublin.
Remember to share, tweet, retweet, mention any of these posts on Facebook and Twitter using the tag #bushchristmas and you'll go into the draw for a $75.00 Booktopia voucher.
Leave a comment here for your chance to get a Christmas Card direct from Monica, or maybe a free book from the giveaway pile.
In your own words tell us a little about your new release …
The Christmas Gift is a free download of two new short stories, one set in Ireland, one set in Australia.
I’m also happily offering a signed copy of my earlier Christmas-themed novel, Lola’s Secret, which is set in the Clare Valley during a very hot December.
It’s the sequel to my fourth novel, The Alphabet Sisters (a copy of which I am also giving away - see below) and features one of my favourite characters, 84-year-old Irishwoman Lola Quinlan, as she hatches a plan to give her family and friends a Christmas they won’t forget.
What was the idea/the revelation/the ‘kicking off point’/the impetus for writing this particular novel?
I love writing short stories – that brief glimpse into people’s lives, a snapshot of an important moment or turning point. I also wanted to give my readers a little thank-you gift, for all their support of me and my books over the past 13 years.
What is your funniest ‘real life’ Christmas story?
One year at my in-laws in Dublin I was in charge of providing the Christmas Day party hats. I found a bumper pack of headbands, decorated with novelty items like reindeer antlers, stars, light-up trees etc. We all agreed we looked very festive and jolly in them. But as the meal progressed, one by one we started getting dizzy and irritable and complained of headaches. My mother-in-law nearly fainted. It turned out my headbands were meant for children. On adults’ heads they acted like instruments of torture.
Best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
An abandoned baby possum, the year I turned nine. My uncle found it in a paddock near his house and gave it to me to raise. I carried it everywhere in a sling, until it grew strong enough to sit on my shoulder. We became such good friends it soon spent most of the day perched on my head, with its tail wrapped around my neck for balance. I was heartbroken when the time came for it to go back into the wild. I’ve been dropping hints about it for this Christmas. I’d love to sit writing in my office with a possum perched on my shoulder. Or even a squirrel. Possums might be a little hard to come by here in Ireland...
Worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?
I love any presents, big or small, handmade or shop-bought, so don’t have an answer for that one, sorry!
Best Christmas present you’ve ever bought for someone else?
A book of traditional Irish piano sheet music for my husband. I get to enjoy listening to him play them now.
This Christmas, who would be the best person to buy your novel for?
The Christmas Gift is a free e-publication, so no money needs to change hands at all! But I hope all my readers, of all ages, will enjoy this short but festive read from me.
I'm a devout Monica McInerney fan. I have all of Monica's novels on my bookshelf and you only get to borrow them if you are a very, very, VERY special person who I know will return them. These are books that I re-read every few years. In fact you will probably find me curled up with one over Christmas. And it should be noted that whilst here in Australia we are hitting the 40 plus deg mark ... Monica is in Dublin with the cold and frost. As I swelter here at my desk, I kind of wish I was in Ireland with the McInerney's.
If you'd like to win a signed copy of Monica's books, 'Lola's Secret' and as a special bonus, it's prequel, 'The Alphabet Sisters', comment below and go in the draw to win the last novels up for grabs on the 'Christmas is Coming' series!