I must say, I’ve had the nicest time this summer hopping through the blogs. This week I got to visit the lovely Anne on her newly launched Being Anne. This is a great blog for anyone who likes a mooch about through really good and well written book reviews. The lady herself is just lovely too!
Here’s a link to Being Anne
Anne was good enough to review My Husband’s Wives also and I was just thrilled with her review — so thanks Ann, first for making room for me on your busy blog and also for the lovely review!
Here’s a copy of the post and the review.
I’m really delighted today to be joining the summer blog hop for Faith Hogan’s debut novel, My Husband’s Wives, published by Aria Fiction on 1st May this year, and available for kindle (just 99p at time of writing) and in paperback. I very much enjoyed this one – contemporary women’s fiction at its very best – and my review follows. But first I’m delighted to welcome author Faith Hogan to Being Anne, with some thoughts on the best time to start writing… or, to look at it another way, on being a walrus, having twins and writing that first novel! Over to you, Faith…
Most writers would say they’ve either always written or always wanted to write. For many it’s a thing that is far off in the future. It’s something they’re going to do down the road. I’ve heard and said many of the same lines. If you’re going to write I’ll bet you have too…
I am waiting for the muse to strike…
Don’t wait for the muse, chances are you’ll see him turn up in every other book in your local library and he didn’t turn up for those authors either. They got their bums in seats and started to type, they made up their own muse and somewhere along the way magic happened and they wrote a book.
A room of one’s own…
Okay, if JK Rowling can write The Philosopher’s Stone in a café – seriously – you don’t need the fifteen 2b pencils, the stuffed bunny, the burning incense or anything else. All you need is an idea and a determination to begin.
Speaking of ideas…
I’m sorry, but you’re not going to like this one, it’s a typical writerly response!
Ideas are everywhere. You need to keep your eyes open, don’t look where everyone else is looking. Listen for the things people don’t say. Feel the world around you and they will come.
Alternatively, read, read, read.
Most stories are the children of the first great story tellers – decide for yourself do you want to write tragedy, comedy or quest?
I am waiting to have more life experience…
Again, you are enough! Just as you are, you bring with you your own unique viewpoint of the world and it is as valid as any other writer. Just believe in yourself and know that good writing, good reading are as valuable to the very young as they are to the worldly wise. If you’re true to who you are and write what you enjoy, you’ll get there.
I need to give up my day job…
Absolutely, no you don’t! Going hungry and worrying about unpaid bills will not make you a better writer. What you need is to get up an hour earlier, commit to a word count each day and make it. For some, it’s five hundred words and no matter which way you take it, five hundred words every day will bring you to over 150,000 words within a year. That’s a nice fat book in anyone’s language. Yes, it may be full of drivel, but nobody writes a book without a decent edit, so the good news is, you’ve now established an early morning pattern – keep it up and edit for as long as it takes.
Hey presto – you have a book and a roof over your head.
The other thing about having a job is that it’s a great source of release. Being holed up in front of a computer all day – well, let’s face it, the best part of work is the camaraderie of colleagues – who would want to give that up?!
Someday, when I have more time…
The truth is there is never more time. We all know this, we say it regularly. The days get shorter, the weeks run into each other, the seasons turn more quickly and we are ringing the New Year again before we know it. Our lives fill up with every passing year. There is more to do, more responsibilities, more expectations and it seems less time to squeeze in the things we dreamed of doing all those years ago.
How many people come to a stage where the moment has passed? Is there anything sadder than to think of what might have been?
In 2002, I found myself launched, unexpectedly into motherhood on a grand scale. Like writing a book, it was one of those things I always planned to do, but like writing a book, it was always somewhere out there, in the future that seemed to stretch on forever. Suddenly, that future shrunk while I expanded. I knew that if I didn’t write that book before those babies (I had twins!!) arrived there would never be time afterwards. All the well-meaning stories of life never being the same again, time never being your own scared the living daylights out of me.
So, in my second trimester I began to write. By the eight month, I was so large that sitting was uncomfortable, (everything from breathing to sleeping was uncomfortable, but sitting was probably the worst!) but still I doggedly persisted. I got to the end of the novel by the end of the nine months – my male gynaecologist let me go two weeks over so I was almost walrus like by the time the twins arrived, so in December I found myself somewhat housebound. But it gave me time to go back over the story and by the time my gorgeous babies arrived I was ready for them.
I wrote my first book! It had a start, a middle and end. It had a goody and baddy. It had a crime and a conclusion and I managed to do it!
Now, when I look back at it, it wasn’t the best book out there. I’m not even sure that I sent it anywhere because, really, at the time, that wasn’t the point of writing it. The point was, I wanted to write a novel and I did. The rest came after, but then that’s a story for another day…
Thank you Faith – and wishing you every success with Her Husband’s Wives! Thank you to Faith too for providing my e-copy for review. You’ll find the other stops on the current leg of the summer blog hop here:
Now, let me tell everyone what I thought of it…
When I signed up to be part of the blog hop, I really knew very little about the book I’d promised to read – but I really enjoyed my contact with the author, and it’s always a pleasure to offer some support to a debut novel. I really never expected it to be such an engrossing and emotionally engaging read, with such an original and well-told story, and some quite wonderfully drawn female characters.
Paul Starr is simply fascinating – a man who loves women – but this book is less about him than about his impact on others, the aftermath of his death and the legacy he leaves behind. Evie – Paul’s first wife – is a superbly drawn older character, her fragility and loneliness quite palpable, trying to find a reason to carry on after losing the man she’s loved for almost all her life. Grace is fascinating too – a famous artist and a mother, also needing to move on without Paul’s supportive (and sometimes stifling) presence. Annalise seemed just a tad OTT at first encounter – a fashion and celebrity obsessed former model, naive and trusting, almost child-like – but by the book’s close she’d entirely won me over. And Kasia – perhaps the most fascinating of them all, with all her life experience and a wisdom well beyond her years. The characterisation is simply excellent – four compelling, very real and sympathetic characters, seen separately and in their complex interactions with each other, coping with the unusual situation they find themselves facing together and alone.
The story-telling – and the writing – are both superb, and I was enthralled by what became a wonderful read about the intricacies of female friendship, love in its many guises, and a group of women each finding their own strength and ability to move on. The light humour is perfect – much of it around Annalise, but with a clever edge of embarrassment and awkwardness that slowly pulls you into her corner – but there’s also some of life’s uglier side, and that balance of light and dark is perfectly achieved and maintained. The twists and turns as all the layers of secrets, lies and deception unfold make this book a real page-turner – these are characters you really feel for, hurt for, cry for when things go wrong and cheer on when something good comes to pass. And the book’s ending – and the way the women’s lives begin to take shape as the dust settles – is exceptionally well done, leaving you with a smile on your face.
It’s really difficult to believe this is the author’s first published novel – it has an assurance that many an established writer of contemporary fiction would be very proud of. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Faith Hogan does next…
About the author
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an events organiser and in the intellectual disability sector.
Her debut novel My Husbands Wives is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin, published by Aria Fiction.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very fussy cat. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.