I devoured the book as soon as my parents gave it to me. It is one of those books that, as the Irish Independent newspaper stated, is "impossible to put down." Simply put, Into the Night Sky is a luminous and heartwarming story that will stay with you long after you turn the final page, and Caroline is a superbly talented and empathetic writer. You can order Caroline's books here.
After Caroline was thoughtful enough to email me about my own writing and books, I asked if she would mind answering a few questions for this blog. She kindly agreed, and I am thrilled to present her insightful answers to you now. With no further ado, here is Caroline Finnerty!
Welcome, Caroline! Tell us about your latest novel INTO THE NIGHT SKY. In what ways was this novel different from your other books?
Into the Night Sky is the story of four people who come into each other’s lives when they are each in need of a friend and how the bonds that form change each of them forever more.
Conor Fahy is the owner of struggling bookshop Haymarket Books and is finding it hard to cope with everyday life in the aftermath of his partner Leni’s tragic death.
Conor’s best friend Ella Wilde is struggling with her own problems having just been axed from her job as a TV presenter after being caught shoplifting. She is struggling to deal with the weight of public disgrace and adjust to life away from the TV cameras.
Jack White is eight years old. He likes Ben 10, Giant Jawbreaker sweets and reading adventure books. He likes his Dad (when he doesn’t shout). He doesn’t like the bad monsters that are eating up his ma inside her tummy.
Rachel Traynor is the social worker assigned to Jack White’s case but sorting out messy family disputes is taking its toll on her. And it doesn’t help that she has had to say goodbye to the man she loves because he doesn't want to have children with her.
It’s different from my other books because the story is told through a present tense narrative and also one of the main characters, Jack, is a young child, which I have never done before.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you get into writing?
I always loved writing but I never recognized it in myself until I entered my twenties. I was always bookish as a child and made my own "books" with illustrations. In hindsight, I was good at essay writing in school but it never occurred to me to study English and so I studied biotechnology in university. I was in my twenties when I had an idea and said that would make a great story so I just started writing it and I didn’t stop. After a while I decided to do an eight-week creative writing course by night which spurred me on a bit more. Then after I had my first child in 2009 and I had the idea for In a Moment, which was the first book I actually finished and I was lucky enough to get published.
What is your writing schedule? How do you find time to write?
It is chaotic at the moment! I have three small children, two of whom are not yet in school so it’s challenging to find the time -- but, like everything, if you really want to do it, you have to make sacrifices. So when I get them all into bed in the evenings I stay up late to try to do a bit then or at weekends my husband sometimes takes them all off for a few hours so I can get a bit done. I am quite disciplined so if I do have some free time I use it to write instead of doing anything else.
What is your biggest advice for other writers, particularly young writers just starting out?
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you read back over your work. Just put the words down on the page and don’t get disheartened. I used to re-read my early drafts and cringe so much that I would never go back to it again. Then I went to a really inspiring getting published workshop and the authors speaking at it said how they all think what they write is awful but that they keep rewriting it until one day they don’t want to throw their laptop against the wall and it finally starts to seem okay.
That’s the key – rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. I love the saying, "You can edit words on a page but you can’t edit a blank page."
Ooh, I love that saying, too! So very true. Who are some of your favorite writers?
Too many to mention, but the ones that stick out in my mind are:
- Kate Atkinson
- Maggie O’Farrell
- David Nicholls
- John Boyne
- Marian Keyes
I read in the Acknowledgements section of INTO THE NIGHT SKY that writing this book was a challenge at times. It seems that writer's block is something every writer has to deal with at one time or another. Do you have any tips for advice for vanquishing writer's block?
I find that usually when I am experiencing writer’s block it is because some part of the book is not working. Either the character isn’t fully developed in my mind or there is a problem with the plot.
When I was writing Into The Night Sky, I was finding it difficult to research the role of Rachel the social worker and how that storyline fitted into the book but it took me a few months to put my finger on exactly what it was that was missing. Eventually I contacted a friend of mine who was a social worker and she helped me immensely; once I had concrete facts, the story moved on again.
Usually if I can’t figure out what the problem is, then I go on to another scene that is coming easily to me and then go back to the problematic one at a later stage when hopefully it will come a bit easier then.
Great advice! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for having me, Dallas it’s lovely to be over here on an American blog – hello everyone!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Caroline!
Connect with Caroline at the following links:
- Her website: www.carolinefinnerty.ie
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/carolinefinnertybooks
- Twitter: @cfinnertywriter
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Finnerty/e/B007X4NSBE