Interview with Sheila O’Flanagan

Exciting times in this edition of the Books on the 7:47 author interviews! I had the brilliant opportunity to talk to bestselling Irish author, Sheila O’Flanagan.

Doing research for this interview I discovered some fascinating facts about Sheila, for one: She didn’t turn to writing until she was in her mid-thirties, switching a career in finance for books. Another is that she is a competitive badminton player and she is also a director of the Irish Sports Council. I find it so inspiring when people have multi-passionate outlets, although it does make me question how lazy I am?

Shelia’s novel Her Husband’s Mistake (find my full review here) has just been released in paperback, so she kindly gave me an insight into writing this book, plus her local knowledge on the best bookshops in Dublin…

/ Hi Shelia! What did you enjoy most about writing Her Husband’s Mistake

I liked getting inside Roxy’s (the lead character) head. To be honest, that’s what I like most about all the books I write – the opportunity to show a woman’s life and her choices and to be with her as she makes them.

/ Did you put any elements of yourself into Roxy’s character? 

Her Husband's Mistake Sheila O'Flanagan book review books on the 7:47 blog tour

I like driving (Roxy is a chauffeur), so that part of it was good fun for me. Roxy is a far more generous person than I am though. I’m not sure I would’ve given Dave the chances she does!

/ How would you describe your writing style? 

I write to entertain people, so that they can relax with the book. I like to think that I write well, but that it flows easily and that readers can immerse themselves in the story without getting too caught up in the writing as an art form. Perhaps conversational would be a good way to describe it. I always imagine I’m telling the characters’ stories as though I’m chatting to someone about them.

/ How do you structure your days when you’re writing? 

I try to get the admin done before I start to write, so my first hour is dealing with emails and other tedious stuff. But while I’m doing that, I’m also thinking about my characters. I usually write for a couple of hours in the morning then take a break and write again in the afternoonI often look at my social media then too. That’s both a blessing and a curse! I love to interact with readers but you can fall down the Twitter rabbit hole very easily!

/ Do you have a preferred writing spot?

I have a dedicated writing space in my room. It used to be the garage but I converted it and added an upstairs. So I write upstairs and have a library of books downstairs.

/ How do you motivate yourself when writers block kicks in? 

Usually by doing something else entirely. I play badminton and often find that after an hour or two on court my mind has freed up and I have new ideas about where to take my characters.

/ What authors do you love reading? 

Oh, I love so many authors and genres. Beth O’Leary is a talented new writer and I really enjoy her books. Sophie Kinsella always makes me laugh. Ciara Geraghty writes fabulous books that are both thought provoking but also fun to read. I also like crime – Jo Spain is great and I discovered Deon Meyer last year, he writes police novels set in South Africa.

/ What fictional character would you like to have a drink with? 

Can I pick one of my own? Imogen, from The Missing Wife. I really want to know how she’s getting on! I always liked Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, she was far more cleverly written than critics gave her credit for. But I guess we’d be having a nice cup of tea together rather than anything stronger. 

/ What book are you reading right now? 

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. It’s about his story exposing Harvey Weinstein. I’m in awe of the bravery of the women who spoke out, but the book shows how the Hollywood hierarchy rallied around Weinstein and how much power he had over people’s (particularly women’s) lives and careers. It’s shocking and inspiring in equal measure.

/ Finally, I’m going to Dublin for a weekend and want to visit some great bookshops. Where would you recommend? 

The Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar where Bob is both a font of knowledge and an all round good guy. Dubray in Grafton Street is a lovely bookshop with a great cafe overlooking the street.

Thank you so much, Sheila! It’s been lovely talking to you – V. excited to visit those bookshops!

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours (@annecater) for inclusion on this blog tour! Get your copy of Her Husband’s Mistake here.

Follow the Tour:

Her Husband's Mistake Sheila O'Flanagan book review books on the 7:47 blog tour

Image of Sheila, courtesy of Blake Friedmann / Bill Waters.

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