• www.inkitt.com

My Inspiration and Writing Process by Emmet O’Reilly

Writing.ie | Magazine | Tell Your Own Story | Writing & Me
Emmet O’Reilly

Emmet O’Reilly

Inspiration for the Book

My debut book, Miss, Say Goodbye to Your Daughter, is initially set in Dublin, Ireland in the mid-1940s. World War II is raging in Europe and, despite Dublin experiencing wartime austerity, its inhabitants are hoping for better days.

The book is the true story of my mother’s and grandmother’s lives and tracks the development of these two characters against the backdrop of exceptionally challenging beginnings to my mother’s life.

The genesis of the book was my mother’s passing in late 2018. Her illness and premature death robbed of her of being able to see her grandchildren develop into adulthood and her passing gave me an opportunity to explore the development of her character throughout her life.

Book Writing Process

During the COVID lockdown in 2020, I wrote a piece on a fork moment in my mother’s life, one that resonated with me at the time, but also to this day. I circulated the piece to some family and friends – it was well received and I spent the next eight months thinking about whether that short story could be developed into a full blown book.

The second COVID lockdown in January 2021 gave me the time to see if I could put the metaphorical pen to paper and write a book. In my mind, the book was to track my mother’s life from birth to death, with an emphasis on the various fork moments in life experienced by her and my grandmother.

Miss, Say Goodbye to Your DaughterWith a bit of planning of the table of contents, I subsequently got up at 5am every Saturday and Sunday morning for three months from January to April 2021 and, through sheer force of will, pushed out an 80,000 word first draft of the book. It was raw draft in parts, but I felt that this was the hard work done.

Little did I know that the editing process for such a book is at least as long as the time to get a first draft. Initially, I tried to edit the draft with only the help of my father, who had intimate knowledge of both my mother’s past, but also of her character and how it developed over the fifty five years they were together. However, it became clear that I needed more feedback, both from trusted friends but also from professionals – I enlisted Vanessa O’Loughlin and her team to prepare a reader’s report that gave me a wholly independent perspective of how the story was written, how characters were being interpreted by the reader and gave a novice writer like me a sense of how best to describe scenes.

‘Show’ not ‘tell’ became my mantra for the latter months of 2021 and I finally reached the point in February 2022 when I could truly say that I had a final draft that I was immensely proud of. I then enlisted the services of Kazoo Publishing to copy edit the book and, in May 2022, I had almost surreal pleasure in officially launching the book in front of friends and family in University College Dublin and to the wider world on Amazon.

Key Learnings on the Journey

As an accountant by trade, we’re not trained to be empathetic – quite the opposite in fact. It’s all about analytics, independently assessing numbers and situations to arrive at logical conclusions. Emotions don’t tend to come into my day job, but writing this book required me to be in touch with the feelings of the main protagonsists in the book, empathise with them and ultimately portray to the reader the sense of how these characters felt in the most difficult of situations. There were also scenes of love, joy and humour and I had no idea if I had the ability to develop these moments so that the reader not only felt they were, themselves, in the scene, but that they understood how the characters felt at every moment. I think I got there in the end!

Given my strong connection to the two main characters, writing the book gave me the opportunity to explore my own relationship with them. A key learning for me was that I was very close to these two brave women, as, without having that connection, I wouldn’t have been able to empathise with their predicament and be able to put the right words on the page to describe those key moments in their lives.

I hope you will pick up a copy of my compelling true story, Miss, Say Goodbye to Your Daughter, out now.

(c) Emmet O’Reilly

Visit Emmet at www.emmetbooks.com

About Miss, Say Goodbye to Your Daughter:

Miss, Say Goodbye to Your DaughterIt’s 1944 and the tight-knit community of the Liberties in Dublin’s inner city is feeling the bite of wartime austerity.  Bound together by poverty and devotion to the Catholic Church, struggling families share what they have and hope that better days will come. Despite the tough surroundings, twenty-nine-year-old Ellen remains optimistic about her future, convinced that she may soon meet the man of her dreams

Miss, Say Goodbye to Your Daughter is the gripping true story of Ellen and her daughter, Deirdre, who is born into the most challenging of circumstances. The impact of those early childhood years echo through Deirdre’s life, but ultimately spur her on as she seeks her own version of self-actualisation and to achieve goals beyond her imagination.

Written against the backdrop of enormous social change that Ireland experienced in the second half of the twentieth century, this story of two determined and courageous women explores how fate and the indomitable human spirit compete to draw us in radically different directions.

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Emmet O’Reilly was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and still resides there with his wife of twenty-two years and their three teenage children. An accountant by profession, but with a penchant for creativity, this is his first book, but he already has plans for a fictional sequel. Emmet can be reached at emmet@emmetbooks.com.

  • www.designforwriters.com
  • allianceindependentauthors.org

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get all of the latest from writing.ie delivered directly to your inbox.

Featured books