Book Talk: Modern, ancient Ireland inspire novelist Cathy Kelly

Wed Apr 1, 2009 4:28am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - She's topped bestseller lists all over the world, but it's her home country, Ireland, that excites and inspires popular fiction author Cathy Kelly.

Born in Belfast and raised in Dublin, Kelly started her writing career as a journalist in an Irish newspaper.

Her first book, "Woman To Woman," was published in 1997 and became a bestseller almost overnight, and 12 years -- and 11 books -- later, her writings, which tend to focus on women and relationships, are as popular as ever.

Kelly, who is an ambassador for the U.N. children's fund UNICEF, recently spoke to Reuters in Australia, where she was promoting her latest novel "Once in a Lifetime."

Q: What started you writing novels?

A: "I've always wanted to write, but I just never thought I could write about our life and the world we live in. But while working as a newspaper journalist, I interviewed the then "new girl" on the Irish writing scene, Patricia Scanlan, and she changed it for me. I remember thinking that her book, "City Girl," was such a contemporary book. Maeve Binchy also influenced me. She wasn't writing about old Ireland either, but about contemporary women."

Q: Ireland has a rich literary tradition, but now we're seeing a lot of successful Irish women authors on the scene such as Marion Keys and Cecilia Ahearn. Is there any rivalry?

A: "I know it would make a much better story to say we are all rivals, but no, we're not rivals we're friends. We go out for lunch, we have meetings. I sent my latest book to Marion Keys in the very early stages and she loved it and that gave me great confidence. I think the pie is big enough for all of us.   Continued...