My new book, The Secrets Sisters Keep is actually a sequel to a previous book I wrote called Me and My Sisters. Some books are stand alone books but some stay with you and whisper in your ear that there is more to come!
This Child of Mine, for example, is a stand alone book and I have never felt the urge to revisit those characters because I feel that the story is complete.
But with Me and My Sisters, I did often wonder what happened to Julie, Louise and Sophie. I also had a very strong reaction to that book and readers constantly asked if I’d write about the three sisters again.
I left it for a couple of years and then I felt ready to go back and see what would happen next in their lives. It was lovely revisiting them and their families. Interestingly, Clara – who was only a baby in the first book – is now almost five years old and became one of my favourite characters ever.
I completely fell in love with her. She has Asperger Syndrom and I did a lot of research into the condition. Wonderful people gave me their time and told me their stories. A lot of them were heart wrenching. I also read a lot of medical papers and read a lot of books on the subject. I think it’s vital as a writer that you thoroughly research your subject matters.
Never underestimate the reader, they are often far more clever than you. I think you have a responsibility to do proper research on all of the subjects you write about. Research also gives you the confidence to write about subjects you previously knew very little about. I actually love that part of the process. I love researching new topics, ideas and issues. I find it fascinating and I learn so much myself with every book I write.
Other issues in The Secrets Sisters Keep are the fact that some women really hate ageing and fight it as much as they can. The book also deals with the difficulties of separation, the loneliness of single parenting and the fact that money isn’t always the answer to your problems. There is a lot of humour and warmth in the book.
I hope there is a good balance between serious and fun. My aim with each book is to make the reader laugh and cry. If I can do that, then I am very happy.
The good thing about writing a book a year is that I’m already immersed in my next book. Therefore, my mind is focused and occupied which helps to stop me fretting too much about publication day etc. I think it’s vital for a writer to always be working on something. Whether it’s a new book or a column or a blog or a short story….whatever it is, we need to be busy. I find I’m really lost when I’m not writing. I feel strange and grumpy because I’m missing it.
After finishing every book I plan to take a few weeks off, but after a week I’m always itching to get back to my desk. I love writing my weekly column for the Irish Independent because it’s a regular piece that allows me to write short articles about current topics that interest me. I also like it because it’s completely different to writing a book. A novel is like a marathon, it’s long, and you need to pace yourself. With novels you often think you will never reach the finish line. But a column is completely different, it’s like a sprint. I really enjoy exercising that different writing muscle. I think it’s good for me. I also find it good for ideas. Obviously I need to come up with new ideas for the column every week, so I am constantly on the lookout for interesting stories or quirky happenings around the globe.But novels are really where my heart lies. I love throwing myself into a story and completely immersing myself in plotlines and characters’ lives. There is nothing more precious that being in that place where you are living your book. It consumes you, but in a really fulfilling and creative way.
Having said all that, whenever I have a book that is about to be published I have a strong urge to run away and hide. You always dread reviews and pray they will be good. Even though this is my 10th book to be published, the nerves never subside.
But all I can do now is let my ‘baby’ out into the world and hope that readers will enjoy it and be entertained and engaged.
(c) Sinead Moriarty
About The Secrets Sisters Keep
Sinead Moriarty’s tenth novel, The Secrets Sisters Keep, is the story of three sisters, three life-altering problems and one eternal truth: nobody knows you quite like a sister!
The Devlin sisters rely on each other – but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends …
Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they’ve inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting.
Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control everything in her world is beyond her.
And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older – that’s until her ex-husband finds a younger model.
All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again …
Praise for Sinead:
‘Moving, disarmingly honest and at times laugh-out-loud funny’ Sunday Times
‘One of the brightest voices in modern women’s fiction’ Bella
The Secrets Sisters Keep is in all good bookshops, or pick up your copy online here