Sheila O’Flanagan’s most recent novel “The Missing Wife” will be released in the United States on February 6, 2018. To mark Sheila’s US publishing debut I am delighted to offer a copy of her novel for a reader to win. Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing for sponsoring this prize.
Before I share the details of how to enter the giveaway let me first tell you a little bit about the book, plus Sheila was ever so kind to answer a few questions about the novel, her writing and her inspirations.
First here’s a quick introduction to “The Missing Wife”….
About The Missing Wife By Sheila O’Flanagan:
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO RUN AWAY???
“The Missing Wife” is an enthralling tale of a desperate wife’s secret summer in southern France from Ireland’s #1 bestselling author, Sheila O’Flanagan.
When Imogen Naughton vanishes, everyone who knows her is shocked. She has a perfect marriage. Her handsome husband treats her like a princess. She’s always said how lucky she is. So why has she left? And how will she survive without Vince?
What goes on behind closed doors is often a surprise, and Imogen surprises herself by taking the leap she knows she must. But as she begins her journey to find the woman she once was, Imogen’s past is right behind her…
Will it catch up with her? And will she be ready to face it if it does?
Sheila O’Flanagan is the author of several books, including Someone Special, Bad Behaviour and Yours, Faithfully, which have been huge bestsellers in the UK and Ireland. Prior to taking the decision to write full time, Sheila pursued a very successful career in banking and finance. In her spare time she plays competitive badminton and is currently a director of the Irish Sports Council.
Interview with Irish Author Sheila O’Flanagan:
When the opportunity came to interview Sheila for my blog, I was absolutely delighted. Here are my questions and Sheila’s insightful answers, which I hope will inspire all the writers out there reading this post.
Where in Ireland were you born? Does your hometown or country inspire your writing?
I was born in Dublin, the capital of Ireland and am a city girl at heart. I live just 3 miles from the center of the city but close to the coast which is just lovely.
Dublin as a city certainly inspired my writing because when I was growing up in the seventies and eighties most of the novels I read that were set in Ireland were based in remote rural locations and they didn’t resonate with me as a younger, urban woman.
I wanted to write stories about women’s experiences, but I wanted the women themselves to be front and centre of the novels and not merely ‘a wife’ or ‘a mother’ whose own needs and ambitions were simply a side-story to a lead male character.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve written stories ever since I learned to write! My mom used to read to me when I was small and when she’d finished I would ask her ‘but what happened next’.
One day she told me to tell her what I thought happened next and (according to her) I kept on and on making up adventures for the characters. She made me write my stories down.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Between 7/9 months including rewriting and editing. Some books are faster than others. Depending on the setting, I might also have to allow a few weeks for research.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I like to be at my desk (a room in the converted garage in my house) between 9.30-10 am every morning. I do a quick run through my emails, perhaps update my social media and then start writing. I keep going until lunchtime when I have a break and perhaps go for a walk along the seafront.
I return to my desk in the afternoon and write until around 5.30. Then I phone my mum for our daily chat. Sometimes in the evening I’ll read through what I’ve written on my iPad – reading that way, rather than in front of my laptop, makes it feel as though I’m reading it as a book and I’ll quite often do some editing then.
Once I start writing a book the characters are in my head the whole time and so I might suddenly rush to my desk at any hour of the day or night. (Though I try not to do it in the middle of the night any more. It wakes my husband!)
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
That depends on the setting and what I might already know. One of my books (Too Good to be True) is set in the world of air traffic control. So I had to visit the ATC centres at Dublin and Shannon airports where I learned a lot about the different stages of ATC and who does what. It was hugely interesting though only a small amount of the actual research ends up in a book – after all, readers want the settings to be authentic but they’re not reading a How-to-land-a-plane manual.
I’ve also learned about car-maintenance, weather forecasting, jewellery design and archeology to make the information in my books as authentic as possible.
Your lead characters are mainly female. Are there aspects of their lives you like to explore in your books?
The main thing I want to explore when I’m writing about women is how we juggle so many distinct parts of our lives in order to keep so many different people happy – and sometimes neglect ourselves in the process.
I think all women have an inner strength and my books are about women who are faced with difficult situations and sometimes don’t feel capable of dealing with them. I like to see my characters find the strength they need to overcome obstacles and find happiness in their lives.
In your new book,”The Missing Wife,” Imogen Naugton vanishes, leaving her supposedly perfect life in Ireland to flee to France, embarking on a journey of self discovery. What drives Imogen to take such a drastic step?
For a woman to disappear I think she has had to exhaust all other options in front of her and so she has to be in a very difficult situation. Imogen is in such a situation and she knows that unless she leaves and gives herself time and space to deal with the issues in her marriage, she will lose her sense of self completely.
So as far as she is concerned she has absolutely no option other than to do what she’s done. Of course, everyone else thinks Imogen has a perfect life but none of us know what goes on behind the closed doors of anyone else’s marriage.
All authors inhabit the lives and worlds of their characters in their mind as they create their plot? Do you travel to different locations to assist in this process? Did you travel to France to research “The Missing Wife.”
To write authentically about a place where a significant amount of action in the book takes place, you very much have to visit it. For a number of years my husband and I used to drive along the west coast of France from Roscoff in the north to the border with Spain in the south. I fell in love with the Basque country (on both sides of the border) and it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
As I was walking along the street of one of the small seaside towns I suddenly got a very vivid impression of Imogen as a character and I knew that I had to write her story. Some of the action in the novel also takes place in Marseille, on the opposite side of the country, which is a very beautiful city and a place I visited previously.
I find that going to different places seems to fire the creative synapses in my brain! A visit to Rome gave me the idea for another of my books (My Mother’s Secret) and the Hideaway (the book I’ve just finished writing) was inspired by the Valencia region of Spain. A visit to San Francisco was the starting point for Things We Never Say and Monterey, California, was the starting point for All For You.
But all of my novels have their roots in Ireland and will always have a significant amount of the action located there.
Which writers inspire you?
The Irish writer Maeve Binchy was the woman who inspired me most because she wrote a book about a young Irish woman and it sold all over the world. That made me realise that the most important things in a novel are the characters and their stories, not their nationality.
Until then I always thought that nobody would want to read anything about Irish women! But now I realise that those stories are universal.
The writing community in Ireland is strong and supportive and I’m close to many current Irish writers like Marian Keyes and Patricia Scanlan who are both amazing women. Roddy Doyle was also inspirational to me as he also brought Ireland to the world through his characters.
Truthfully, though, every time I walk into a bookshop and see so many books by so many different writers both from Ireland, the US and anywhere else, I’m always inspired because I know the hard work that’s gone into them.
What is your favorite childhood book?
That’s a very difficult question! One of my young childhood favourites was What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge because I totally related to Katy who was always getting into trouble, just like me. I also loved the books of Beverly Cleary and the characters she created which carried me into my early teens.
Are all of your books available in the United States?
They are all currently available as ebooks, but The Missing Wife is the only one now available in a print edition. I do hope you enjoy it!
Thank You To Sheila:
Many thanks to Sheila for taking the time to answer my questions. Her book is intriguing and I hope you will all enjoy it. Here are some wonderful reviews for “The Missing Wife”
“O’Flanagan is one of our best-known, best-loved
and most prolific women’s fiction authors…
[The Missing Wife] is a thoroughly satisfying,
well-paced plot from a sure and experienced pen.”
“…will have you gripped until the very end.”
~ Look Magazine
The Missing Wife is available from Grand Central Publishing.
One lucky winner will win a copy of “The Missing Wife” by Sheila O’Flanagan.
To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Saturday, February 10th, 2018.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration why not tell us about your favorite Irish book, or writer, or writing genre.
A winning comment will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published, just used to contact our lucky contestant for mailing of the prize.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 10th 2017, at the bottom of this blog post.
You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstakes’ entries by clicking here.
A big thank you to Sheila O’Flanagan for answering all of my questions and to Grand Central Publishing for sponsoring the prize.
And thanks to all who join in the fun and support this giveaway. Please feel free to share this post and let friends and family know about this new book from one of Ireland’s most popular authors.
A winner has been randomly chosen using the Pick Giveaway Winner Plugin for WordPress. The lucky winner of this new Irish book is …..
I’ll send Kathleen an email to let her know the good news. Many thanks to all who entered this giveaway and a big thank you to Sheila O’Flanagan and Grand Central Publishing for sponsoring this prize.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)