In Dublin’s Fair City…

…diary of a virgin book clubber!

As a fledgling novelist, I daydream about what it would be like to have readers not only enjoy my book but to overhear them discussing it; talking about characters, themes, the cover – that would make me feel like a real author, I sigh!

Imagine how I felt when the call came through?

February 23: Leicestershire, at my desk researching (ie daydreaming).

“Hi Adrienne, Deirdre here,” says a blast from the past.

“Dee! Haven’t seen you in an age,” says I.

“The thing is, I’m in a couple of book clubs here in Dublin and we want to feature your novel. When we’ve read it, would come and talk to us about it?” says she.

“Would I what?!” says I, booking my flight before we’ve finished talking.

But what had I agreed to? Not only have the Irish produced some of the best examples of English literature in the world, the Irish are very well read. Yikes!

April 11: Getting ready in my childhood bedroom, Inchicore, Dublin 8.

Deirdre's book (and wine tasting) clubTo say I am nervous is a heart-stopping understatement, I’m petrified. Much of The Hollow Heart is set in Ireland; I haven’t lived here for over thirty years. What if these educated, intelligent and opinionated women think my voice is unauthentic, my characters unrealistic, my story…well, hollow? The Irish are lovely, warm and welcoming people, but don’t imagine they won’t tell you what they think, especially if you’re ‘one of our own’.

Our hostess Barbara and the Clontarf ladies book club, with Deirdre and Adrienne seated centre front.Deirdre, trying to put me at my ease, chatted away, giving me a profile of my waiting audience, as we drove across the city to a well heeled coastal suburb, where I was welcomed into a stunningly beautiful home by a charming lady called Barbara. Barbara greeted me warmly and I was shown to a chair in the centre of an elegant lounge; eager faces nodded and smiled as we made our introductions – I could barely sip the delicious glass of wine our hostess placed before me. I need not have feared.

An animated discussion ensued. How do I write? Where do I write? Who are my characters based on? Then debates about themes – motherhood, forgiveness and romance as a genre; these ladies take their literature seriously, I was honoured they had taken the trouble to read my book. I left elated and glowing, if I had given them a fraction of what they had given me, the evening had been a success.

Cathedral in DublinApril 12: Fidelma winds down the window so I can hear the bells of Christ Church Cathedral as we drive by. My mother Marion and Deirdre’s mother Edna are in the car – it’s Friday night, it already feels like a party.

We arrive as Deirdre opens the doors to her stylish home filled with candles, white roses and laughter. I was introduced and handed a drink as we crowded into the room. Deirdre started the questions and in no time the girls were firing all sorts at me, from how a book is produced, to how to write good sex – Loose Women had nothing on us!

Sheena - our quiz champion, Adrienne and event organiser supreme, Deirdre.I’d made up a quiz based on the novel, which some of the girls took so seriously they even tried to look up the answers. Sheena, however was a clear winner, and I was delighted to present her with her own Hollow Heart pendant – she knew more about the story than I did!

Saying goodbye, I signed the Harte sisters’ copies, including a comment on Nuala’s favourite page 245 – you’ll need to read it to find out why it’s her favourite – and we headed happily home, ending my very first encounter with book clubs; two different but equally wonderful experiences, so special just recounting them makes me want to cry with joy!

These gorgeous, intelligent women made me feel like a real author, they took me into their homes and my novel into their hearts. If my writing has done anything, it has rekindled old friendships and made new ones – without doubt the best thing about this whole experience.

I’ll certainly be back when the sequel A Change of Heart is published later this year…that’s if they’ll have me.

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Posted on April 29, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. thenewromantics4

    A great blog post, Adrienne. Its no mean feat to cart a load of books over to Dublin and hold forth about one’s writing. Well done you. I love the idea of a quiz and a prize and the fact that Nuala marked her favourite page – a naughty one, I’m guessing?? I hope lots of people drop by this week and read of your adventures. Onwards and Upwards to Book Two – no pressure, eh? And, BTW, the song had it right – in Dublin’s fair city the girls are so – feckin’ – pretty.

  2. Wonderful story, Ade. I’ve never seen so many good-looking women together, in a couple of photographs. Is it the air? The water? Or the Guinness?

  3. Great post, Adrienne! A great promo trip, hope you sold (and continue to sell) lots of copies. I’d love to go to Dublin, it’s definitely on my bucket list!

  4. adrienneauthor

    Thanks for comments peeps. It was a brilliant trip…what’s really annoying is they’re not only pretty, but great fun! The craic was mighty…as we say.

  5. What every writer needs, Adrienne, the stimulation and joy of meeting readers who have loved reading your book. A fantastic trip.

  6. adrienneauthor

    You’re so right Mags…talk about a ‘shot in the arm’! And then there is the terrifying prospect of ensuring the sequel is as good as, or even better than the first one, scary hey?

  7. What an entertaining account of what must have been a wonderful experience. I love Dublin, and have memories that always stay with me – it was there that I was taken on a book tour when my first novel was published. Everyone was so warm and friendly. The Hollow Heart is a great read Adrienne, and deserves its success. Looking forward to seeing you at the RNA Summer Party, and also to your second novel in the Autumn.

    • adrienneauthor

      Thank you Margaret – I remember you recounting your lovely time there…and how nice everyone was. Yes, see you at the Summer party, longing to hear all your news!

  8. Well done and very entertaining too. Next time will be easier and before long it will be like falling off a log. 🙂

    • adrienneauthor

      Jane if you knew how clumsy I am, falling off a log is right! In fact I’d never get on the log in the first place…they were all so kind to me, made me feel like ‘Inchicore’s answer to Jackie Collins!’

  9. I love the way you write, Adrienne! Such an entertaining post. Love all your photos too. It sounds like you had a fab time and that you and your novel were loved in equal measures. Thoroughly deserved too! 🙂 I absolutely loved Dublin when my friend and I visited there a few years back. What a great time we had! Good on you for ‘going for it’ as they say X

    • This is a good insight into you as an author, Adrienne, and an entertaining excerpt on your trip to Dublin’s fair city. Dublin women in particular, are avid readers of every genre. They soak up everything they read. Book clubs are springing up everywhere. My sister who lives in Dublin has joined one and she is so enthusiastic about the books she reads. Great blog. Well done!

      • adrienneauthor

        Thanks Cathy, from a fellow jackeen I take your comments to me heart (as they say). Loved your article in the Leicester Mercury’s more magazine…great read, and Shadow Over the Liffey is moving quickly up my tbr pile, Katherine Garbera, Margaret Kaine and then yours!

    • adrienneauthor

      You are too kind, Jan. So glad you liked the old home town when you were there – for a capital city it has managed to retain much of its ‘small town’ charm – although I absolutely adore England, and where we live, I do need my ‘fix’ of Dublin a few times a year.

  10. Super post, I just loved Dublin when I visited last June. i am so looking forward to the next novel, can’t you give us a sneak prevue soon?

    • adrienneauthor

      Aha, the voyager returns – thank you Lynda, for one so well travelled glad you made it to Dublin last year – 2013 is the year of ‘The Gathering’ when the nation is recalling all its offspring flung far and wide across the globe, and there really is a party atmosphere about the place. My sister and her fiance have chosen it as they year to wed – so I’ll be back again, better get this sequel finished – fast!

  11. Deirdre Daly

    Adrienne, Jan is so right ‘such an entertaining post’ you wrapped it up beautifully, I loved it! You jazzed up and took our book club meetings to a new level. It was a fantastic opportunity to catch up with some old friends and your book brought us all back together again. You were very informative, a lot of fun and I am in awe of you (always was!) Thank you so much for coming to meet us all and hopefully we will get a chance to do it all again. Dee X

    • adrienneauthor

      And Deirdre if I ever get to ‘Jackie Collins’ status (cough,cough) you’ve got the gig…brilliant organiser, PR and hostess! Good work. X

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