It seems like quite a while since I’ve dropped in here – I suppose, like everyone else, the last few months have taken me a little by surprise. It feels as if we’ve suspended half the year and now we’re emerging from our shells to summer holidays without quite having earned them.
We’ve been lucky. Apart from not being able to see our nearest and dearest for a few months, aside from grocery drop offs and waves from the gate – thankfully, down here in the west of Ireland we seem to have escaped some of the terrible tragedy of the rest of the county.
Sadly, here in our local community, there have been casualties – people who will leave huge spaces in the fabric of our town, but not on the terrible scale that has been witnessed in clustered settings where the scale of loss is unimaginable.
Of course, summer holidays will be very different in 2020. It’s all about the Stay-cation in the Hogan House this year and we’ve all been looking forward to it. There are no plans, other than a little re-organising, plenty of dog walking and maybe, if the weather holds up a few days spent reading in the garden – fingers crossed:-)
Also, this summer marks the trade paper back release of What Happened To Us? Obviously, publishing like every other industry has had an unusual few months to say the very least. As you can imagine I fairly held my breath at the first mention of shutting down shops – especially books shops knowing that my little book was due to be published in March. But, then my editor let me know that all of the HoZ publishing schedules were being moved around to give every single book it’s best chance out in the wild! A new date – July 4th was proposed and I’m delighted to share that copies are now safely sitting on bookshop shelves all round Ireland.
Eason’s have been kind enough to include it in their monthly selection and although I can’t do a launch and celebrate with the people who mean so much to me locally, I have been delighted to have so many readers contact me to say they’ve picked up a copy and are enjoying it!
As part of the run up, I’ve been dropping into lots of different places -virtually – thanks as always to all of the newspapers and radio stations for having me. I’ll try and post some of these over the coming weeks…
For today, I’m dropping in a link to the Irish Examiner – it was lovely to chat to Irene Freighan about The Shape I’m In…. here’s the link:
Look forward to chatting to you soon,
Best-selling author Faith Hogan is keeping the faith during the lockdown, thanks to her Moy Valley haven in Ballina, Co Mayo.
“In many ways, the upsides for us are perhaps outweighing the downsides,” she says.
“I’m very much a home bird and being with my four children under the one roof, having the excuse to sit in the garden because the sun has managed to come out and read a book [is wonderful]. I also get to play tennis badly. We have a large garden and a dog that gets all the balls for us.”
Her main concern is her mum, who she describes as a “very young old person”.
“We’ll be popping in shopping and that’s it.”
The fear about cocooning, she says, “is that they would come out of this being an older person.”
Married to James and working part-time, she somehow managed to publish five books in 2019, including two crime novels under the name of Geraldine Hogan.
“I just think I’m blessed to be writing. I write very much like I think and as I speak.
It’s marketed as grown-up women’s fiction. I’m not a 20-year-old writing about flatshares in London. It would be more mature. There is quite a big market for it — thank god.
- Faith Hogan’s latest book, What Happened To Us, Head of Zeus, is available from April 30
What shape are you in?
It depends on who is asking. If it’s my GP — I’m grand. If it’s my sister, she knows I should move more, eat less and try to make more time for doing absolutely nothing – so there’s no point trying to tell her otherwise.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I’m an all about the non-girl. So I don’t drink caffeine or alcohol and eat very little meat. But I love fruit, vegetables and nuts.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
There is nothing nicer than an old black and white movie, a big bowl of ice-cream and the dog sprawled on the sofa beside me.
What would keep you awake at night?
I’m at an age where all my real worries are about others — either my family or friends. Of course, there are nights when I lie awake tormenting myself about silly things also, such a waste of beauty sleep.
How do you relax?
Unsurprisingly, I’m a big reader, so a comfy chair and a bit of peace and quiet and I’m happy out.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Anne Tyler, I adore her books; Alexandar McCall Smith, he’s very witty; Coco Chanel, yes, deceased, but still glamorous; and Meryl Streep so I could ask her about taking the lead role in the film adaptation of my next book.
What’s your favourite smell?
Wild lavender and fresh coffee.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I wouldn’t say no to the fairy god mother who offered to wipe 10 years off my laughter lines. However, I’m not prepared to sacrifice even one of those memories for the most flawless skin.
When is the last time you cried?
I’m delighted to say, I can’t remember. Although, just yesterday on Twitter a post came up where a woman was holding her dying mother’s hand — there was nothing for it, but to write something completely inadequate and say a little prayer.
What traits do you least like in others?
I find negativity hard going, so I tend to move along quickly if I can.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
I tend to go along with things just to keep everyone happy — it feeds into my whole non-competitive vibe. I’m not sure it’s my most self-serving trait.
Do you pray?
Yes — although, as I grow older, the way I pray has changed. Rather than a one-man show, my conversations tend to be with a creator far more fluid, perhaps it’s a reflection of the times we’re living in.
What would cheer up your day?
Dog daisies on a summer day — they are optimism sheathed in a green stem and a happy face.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
That would have to be right here, in my own sitting room. I love a holiday as much as the next woman, but as Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz — there’s no place like home.
What quote inspires you the most?
‘You get a lot more out of life if you spread honey instead of vinegar.’ I’m not sure who said it, but it’s been my mantra for as long as I can remember. Other people might say, it’s better to be kind, but I think, it’s the same thing. We need to choose our words carefully because there really is no taking them back.