Author Interview: Catherine Doyle
I am super excited to welcome Catherine to my blog today. I read an e-ARC of The Storm-keeper’s Island (published yesterday and Waterstones book of the month for July) a few months ago and adored it. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions Catherine!
Can you tell me about your journey to becoming an author?
I wrote my first full length novel, Vendetta, when I was 23. I was doing an MA in Publishing and was writing a thesis on YA fiction at the time. It wasn’t long before I started obsessing over my own YA idea, and decided I couldn’t wait to write it down. I would work on my thesis during the day, and my novel in the evenings, sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. After I completed the (very bad) first draft, I put it away for a couple of months. Then I edited it and sent it off, and signed with my agent Claire Wilson, a few months later. After that, she sold the book (and the rest of the trilogy – Inferno and Mafiosa), to Chicken House.
What was the initial inspiration for The Storm Keeper’s Island?
The novel is inspired by a trip I made last year to the island where my maternal grandparents were born, grew up and eventually fell in love. I became enamoured by the wild landscape of Arranmore, its jagged cliffs and hidden caves, the restless sea that surrounds it. There is a unique sense of history there too, where stories about real-life sea rescues and daring adventures are passed around like cups of tea on cold evenings. I wanted to recreate the magic of this place, and re-imagine some of the adventures my ancestors were a part of.
From the release info:
Which books or stories would you recommend to someone who wants to find out more about Irish lore or legend? Are there any modern authors who draw on this rich tradition?
I would always recommend the classic myths first – stories about Tír na nÓg and the Fianna, in particular, because they’re my favourite. After that, The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea and The Island of Ghosts by Eilís Dillon are great reads. Dave Rudden is a modern Irish author who has written a fantastically imaginative trilogy called Knights of the Borrowed Dark about magic in Ireland, and for YA, Peadar Ó Guilín’s The Call is also excellent.
( I agree with all of these recommendations – I read The Call and The Invasion recently and they are amazingly dark and twisty!)
What does your writing process look like? (E. G. Where do you write? Do you plan/storyboard? Write chronologically? Editing process?)
I write at my kitchen table, in a house not too far from the sea. (This sounds heavenly! I miss living near the sea!)
I begin with a rough outline, and a visual storyboard of images that inspire me – I usually look at DeviantArt for photos of landscapes and characters that align with the ones in my head. After that, I write late in the day – usually the early evening, and often until very late at night. I write chronologically until I have something that very, very vaguely resembles a first draft. Then I tear it all apart and re-write it at least three or four times until it’s suitable for other human eyes!
(Pupils, if you’re reading – this is why we’re always going on about the importance of editing! Writing the story is just step one of many…)
What’s next for you? Will Storm Keeper be the first in a series?
(I held my breath for this answer…)
The Storm Keeper’s Island is the first in a series, so I am currently hard at work on book 2.
(I am already clicking pre-order – so excited!)
Food: Thanksgiving-style meal with lots of sides!
Drink: Lemonade, in all its myriad forms.
Book: The Princess Bride by William Goldman (What an excellent choice!)
Once again, thank you so much to Catherine for answering all my questions and to Emma for organising everything!
Read about the lifeboat rescue that inspired the book on the Irish times website here.
Did you enjoy the interview?
Have you read The Storm-keeper’s Island yet? (If not, you have to!)
Do you have any questions you would like to ask Catherine Doyle?
Look out for more posts about The Storm-keeper’s Island this week on my blog, including my review, my write-up of the book launch and an exclusive extract!