Carousel Inspires

My Next Big Thing

Recently, I was approached by writer Annemarie Miles about tagging me in an on-line blogging chain – The Next Big Thing. This is a way for writers to promote their work-in-progress, through answering a series of questions on… well their Next Big Thing.

Annemarie has been blogging for 5 years but started to take the whole ‘writing thing’ seriously about 2 years ago. She is married to Richard who is from Wales, and they live in the beautiful village of Kilcullen, Co. Kildare. They have no children but do have a house full of musical instruments, books and gadgets. If she could get away with talking for a living she would, but instead works part time as an office administrator and part time music teacher.

If you’re looking for her you’ll very often find her on Twitter

Her personal blog is at (You’ll find her own Next Best Thing there.)

And she dabbles with fiction at

Facebook at

Thank you Annemarie for the honour of being your Next Big Thing!

Here we go!


My Next Big Thing:

When I turned forty I discovered writing. I have since spent the past seven years joining wonderful writing groups and going to writery thingies everywhere! I’ve done courses in creative writing, attended readings and book launches; basked in writing retreats and generally immersed myself in the world of writing. The result of this has been three novels (a trilogy) and a fictional memoir about my mother in law’s amazing life! I have also dabbled in short stories and have been tickled pink to see some of them published online and to see my name on the odd competition shortlist.

As a teacher and a writer I opened a Writers’ Centre in the Dublin Mountains running Retreats and Writing Workshops. Now that’s immersion!

Recently I have returned to polishing the first novel Carousel, to ready it for publication. I’m almost there…

What is the working title of your book?

My book has had a hundred titles so far! (Slight exaggeration!) But I eventually settled on the title Carousel. As the story evolved so did the title. It grew limbs; then lost some. I like one word titles and I think that I might stick with this one.  It doesn’t tell anything about the genre of the book but its reasoning is revealed on the first page.

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I was waiting outside Tallaght hospital one cold evening and saw a very young couple with a small child, arguing. The girl was very drunk. The boy took off his hoodie and wrapped the little one up to keep her warm and walked away from the girl ignoring the obscenities she called after him. I went home and scribbled a few lines about their fictional background and Shona came from there.

Jameel’s side of the story comes from a question I often ask myself when somebody commits a crime. What sent them in this direction?

The idea of their two stories merging comes from the belief that all over the world, rich or poor, every race; we are all the same.  As good and as bad as each other!

What genre does your book fall under?

I feel I’ve cheated a little and called it contemporary fiction. A broad term I know but there is crime, politics, romance… As a reader, I like to read many different genres and I wanted to write a book that would appeal to a cross genre set of readers.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

My character Jameel Al Manhal would be played by Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire fame.

And my Shona Moran would be played by Sarah Bolger who came to fame with In America and more recently with The Tudors.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

When the date 08/08 threatens to become Dublin’s very own 9/11; Shona Moran and Jameel Al Manhal show that the fundamentals of love can be a powerful defence weapon.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

It took almost a year to write the first draft of Carousel. I then went on to write the second and third part of the trilogy. I left them aside while I wrote the bones of the fictional memoir and have recently gone back to Carousel to ready it for publication.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  

I particularly liked The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid. I like the way both authors have woven Eastern with Western values and I think that Carousel addresses this well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?    

The who and the what has to be the same here. Family. I have always held my family as my raison d’être! I would describe myself as a daughter, sister, mother and wife first, and a writer and teacher second. The first defines the latter. I believe that families are the same all over the world. My Eastern and Western characters both turn their backs on their families and that’s their downfall. But if family take your side and stick with you then redemption is possible.

The dedication on this novel will read… To Family… Both yours and mine.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

This novel crosses through Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Wales and Ireland; weaving traditions, customs and values. Carousel answers some questions about what tears nations apart and what it is that brings all of us together.

When and how will it be published?

Carousel is almost at the finished stage. (Draft 100! Not really but sometimes it feels that way!) I would like to publish this traditionally but the more I hear about self-publishing as e-book, the more I think it might be for me. Either way it will be out there soon! The first few chapters can be tasted here…


And so I pass the baton…

I’d like to tag three very different writers who all share one similarity… their brilliance! Fatima Jaber, Madeline Stringer and Catherine Brophy are my Next Big Things…

Fatima Jaber holds a BA in English Literature and is a short story writer of romance mixed with all the grit of true living. Human frailties pour through everything she writes and leave the reader with the hair standing on the back of their neck. Fatima spends as much time as she can at Carousel Writers’ Centre.

She is from Doha in Qatar and lives in Dublin with her husband Ahmed and their three children. Fatima says she loves to live and she lives to love.


Madeline Ann Stringer has a day job as a doctor but she loves writing and generally playing with words. She has been writing on and off for years but says a medical training is a great way to stifle that sort of creativity so she only got back into it properly in the last 8 years or so, when her husband put a line through Mondays in her appointment book and said you are writing on Mondays and getting that book finished. So she did, and here she is!

Madeline is a member of the Dalkey Writers’ Workshop; 16 writers who meet fortnightly to read and critique each other’s work. In November 2011 they published Circle Time; an anthology of their work which contains five of Madeline’s pieces; three poems and two in prose.

She has written her first novel Despite the Angels and is on the cusp of self-publishing it as an e-book.

She can be found on twitter at or

Her blog is at

And facebook at


Catherine Brophy is an Irish writer, story teller, broadcaster, teacher, lecturer and workshop facilitator. She was born and reared in Dublin and she has travelled the world. In her distant past she was an audiologist dealing with children and now she uses that skill by going to Zambia as a volunteer with E.N.T. Zambia.  

She has written four novels; The Liberation of Margaret Mc Cabe; Dark Paradise; Zouaves and Burning Bright.

Catherine has published many short stories. Some are funny, some are strange, some are horror and she says the horror ones were the funniest to write!

She was a scriptwriter for FAIR CITY for nine seasons and she has also written film scripts for Crimson Films and Storey Road productions. She is currently working on a film script based on her most recent novel Burning Bright.

Catherine tweets at

Face books at

Her blog is at

Looking forward to hearing from all three with their Next Big Thing!


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