Leigh Fallon took the time to chat with me about her Irish roots, diving into the world of writing and what we can expect from her in the future. Check it out:
What is the first story (book) you remember reading as a child?
The first one that really stuck with me was Mr. Pink Whistle by Enid
Blyton. I still have that book, my kids read it now. The story I
remember the most was the one where Mr. Pink Whistle had to solve the
mystery of the dishonest potato seller. It was exciting stuff. LOL!
What was the greatest thing you learned in school?
Honestly, it was to toughen up and stand on my own two feet. In school
you’re very exposed and there’s nobody really there to catch you. It’s
where we are forced to grow up and get a taste of the realties of the
world. It can be harsh, but we all have to go through it.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I never for one second thought I would be a writer. It was not on the
cards for me, so I didn’t really aspired to be a one. What happened me
was I was struck by an idea and bitten by the writing bug at 33, I
guess you could say I was a late bloomer.
Were you nervous sharing your work for the first time? If so, how
did you get over your nerves?
I was beside myself with nerves. I actually uploaded it online. I
filled in the online forms and saved my files, but my finger hovered
over the upload button for about an hour before I built up the courage
to allow other people in the big bad world actually read my story. It
was nail bitting, but the feedback was swift and awesome. The more
feedback and encouragement I got, the more of it I posted.
It seems you are very passionate about your home, using it as the setting in your first novel.
What was it like growing up in
Ireland was great. The perfect place to grow up in. I lived in Dublin
in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, about a half hour outside of
Dublin City. We had mountains, lakes, forests, and horses and endless
time to enjoy it. I love Dublin city, It is vibrant and exciting and
completely steeped in history. Much of my inspiration came from the
old buildings and the stories attached to them.
I went to a convent school, had to wear uniforms, and had to put up
with the very strict school policies laid out by the Sisters of Mercy.
I can look back now and smile, but boy were they strict.
What is your favourite childhood memory?
Playing in the grounds of a once great estate house that had become a
crumbling ruin. It had these beautiful old walled gardens that were
completely overgrown. The old and very beautiful fountain, that no
longer worked, was full of weeds and lichen. It is the type of place
that stories are inspired by. We used to imagine what it would have
been like as a working estate, the fountain billowing water, and the
huge walls covered in climbing roses and wisteria. We’d walk down the
deserted stone grand steps and imagine ourselves in long dresses and
hats. Oh the summers of fun we had there.
What roused you to create the story “Carrier of the mark?”
It was a mixture of my love of Dublin and it’s beautiful architecture,
many school tours to historical sites all over Ireland, and the sheer
beauty of my new home in Kinsale, Co. Cork. All these elements came
together and merged with my rather overactive imagination to produce
Carrier of the Mark. It was like I lit a spark and the fire just took
Your character development is amazing.
By the end of the novel the reader feels as those they are best friends with each character.
Are any of the characters based around real people? Did you find it easy to develop each character so fully?
I didn’t base characters on anyone I knew. Each character started off
as just a shadow, an idea of the person I’d like that character to be,
but they changed as the story moved forward. The characters started
making decisions in the book that I hadn’t really planned on, and this
really molded their personalities differently. Honestly, some of them
really surprised me with the directions they took. I guess they seem
real and developed because I let them. It was organic. I never forced
the characters to do things that I wanted them to do. I kind of let
them follow their own path. It was as much as a discovery for me as it
was for the readers.
Would you ever collaborate on a book with another author?
If so, Who would you love to work with?
Oh yes! I’d love that. There are so many fantastic YA authors I’d love
to work with, and hopefully some day I will. I fantasize about writing
a mother daughter perspective book with Jilly Cooper. I think it would
be hilarious, but that’s a pipe dream.
What is most rewarding about being a YA author?
The readers. They are so enthusiastic. I love how YA readers are so
e-active and involved in social media, it gives YA authors an
opportunity to connect with their readers. The YA community on a whole
are just wonderful.
What can readers expect to see from you in the future?
Well, I’ve got the next in the Carrier Series, Shadow of the Mark,
coming out in the summer of 2013. I’ve contributed to an anthology
called Two and Twenty Dark Tales.
My story, Wee Willie Winkie, is a
creepy retelling of the Mother Goose original. That book will be out
next month, I’m really excited about it. Then, next up will be the
last book in the Carrier Series which I’m working on at the moment. I
do have a ghost story that I worked on over the summer, it’s not
finished, but I’ll get back to it as soon as I have Carrier 3 in the
bag. So maybe that might be on the cards in the future. Who knows?