This is the first author Q&A post I’ve had on the blog, so I’d like to thank Sinéad Moriarty and Penguin Ireland for offering me the chance to pose Sinéad some questions about her book THIS CHILD OF MINE. Please be aware that if you’ve not had the chance to read THIS CHILD OF MINE yet some of the questions and answers may be spoiler-ish, but I’ve tried not to spoil the book for anyone. To make it clear who is talking I’ve got my questions in italics and Sinéad’s responses in bold.
TFR: Hello Sinéad, thank you for stopping by The Flutterby Room. I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to jump straight into the questions.
At its heart THIS CHILD OF MINE deals with the relationship between mothers and daughters. What made you decide to explore this often complex relationship?
SM: I think the relationship between mothers and daughters is very complex generally. They can be so close to each other and then fall out over one secret or a lie. I wanted to explore unconditional love and the roads it can lead to. Also I wanted to look at the possibility of not bonding with your child, of being too young to be a mother and how the responsibility can weigh you down.
TFR: Parenthood is another theme you explored in the novel. Did you find it hard to write Laura’s struggle to be a good parent to Mandy and to deal with her grief of the loss of her first child?
SM: Yes very. Laura was a very complicated character but someone I really came to care about, and feel for, as the book progressed. Her mistakes lead to such dramatic consequences and she spends half of her life in a state of guilt fuelled regret and sorrow. Her grief for the child she lost really affects her relationship with her other child. It was a moving and interesting storyline to write.
TFR: I really liked the fact that you balanced THIS CHILD OF MINE by including the point of view of the mother, the child, and the child’s abductor. What made you decide to give all three points of view a voice?
SM: I wanted the reader to sympathise with all of the characters. It was vital to me that both mothers are sympathetic and that the reader would understand why they acted the way they did and understands their reasons.
TFR: And as a follow up from that, which character’s voice did you find easiest to write?
SM: Anna’s initially and then Laura’s. It’s funny actually because my own sympathies kept switching from mother to mother as I wrote the book. I saw it as a good sign!
TFR: What (if anything) inspired you to write THIS CHILD OF MINE and deal with such a difficult and contentious subject?
SM: I have always been fascinated about the Nature versus Nurture debate. The book is really about the moral dilemma of: ‘Would you take a child if you thought its life was in danger’.
TFR: THIS CHILD OF MINE is your eighth novel; did you find it easier or more difficult to write than your previous ones?
SM: Every novel is more difficult because you strive to be better with each book. I must say though I really became immersed in this one. It took over my life and all of my head space when I was writing it. I wanted so badly for it to be balanced and for the characters to be sympathetic.
TFR: As you have lived in Dublin, Paris and London at various points in your life, I was wondering what made you place Dublin as the setting at the heart of the novel?
SM: Probably because I’m based here now. But I think the settings are very much just a background to the actual story. I think the plot and characters take up most of the book.
TFR: And finally, because it has to be asked, when you write do you have a specific routine you like to follow, or perhaps a favourite place, or drink that helps you settle into writing?
SM: I write at home in a small office when the children are at school and during any other hours that I can carve out at night (if I’m not falling asleep that is!). I’d love to drink wine while I write, but it just makes me sleepy which is not conducive to productivity!
My thanks again to Sinéad for stopping by, and for Penguin Ireland for offering me the opportunity to talk to her.
Sinéad Moriarty was born and raised in Dublin where she grew up surrounded by books. Her mother is an author of children’s books. Growing up, Sinéad says she was inspired by watching her mother writing at the kitchen table and then being published. From that moment on, her childhood dream was to write a novel (Taken from her official biography on the Penguin Books website). You can find out more about Sinéad by visiting her page on the Penguin Book website, and seeing her booklist. You could also visit her website or Facebook page.
Anna and Laura, Sophie and Mandy – two mothers, two daughters and a story about the bond of motherly love.Anna is proud of the job she has done raising eighteen-year-old Sophie. It’s always been just the two of them, but that doesn’t matter because Sophie has everything she could ever need.
It’s a miracle that Laura’s daughter Mandy is as happy as she is, considering that Laura remains haunted by the loss of her first child before Mandy was born.
Both women carry painful secrets and can never forget the day their paths crossed. But a chance discovery is about to bring everything into the open, and mothers and daughters, love and lies, past and future, will spectacularly collide . . .