Welcome to Gabrielle Mullarkey, here to tell us about her writing and her novel Hush Hush.
First, as always, the cover and the blurb …
Widowed a year ago, thirtysomething Angela has retreated into her shell, reluctant to dip a toe back in the job market – let alone the dating game. Between them, her bossy mum and her best friend gently nudge Angela back to life, persuading her to find a job and even try a solo holiday – which ends with a luggage mix-up and an encounter with a rugged Irishman called Conor.
Back home, Angela resolves to take her new romance slowly, particularly as Conor’s (non-holiday) baggage includes the original ‘child from hell’ and a temperamental ex-wife with Pre-Raphaelite hair. Since Angela’s never liked winging it, is a future with Conor too uncertain to contemplate?
But as she’s about to discover, her old life was far less secure than she thought. And the past won’t let go until she confronts its long-buried secret.
So, Gabrielle, tell me a little more about Hush Hush.
It’s the story of a woman coming to terms with being a widow in her 30s and having to start again, resuming a neglected career path while her mother and best friend harangue her to go out on a limb with her love life, too… perhaps inevitably, romance blooms when she isn’t looking for it, and with someone who’s just as socially awkward as she is! The path of true love is strewn with plenty of pot holes, not least because everyone is being economical with the truth. I like to write in the voices of a range of characters of both genders and all ages, and have fun building up the dialogue between then.
Sounds great! What prompted you to become a writer?
Like a lot of us pounding the old keyboard in defiance of reason (and financial return!), I think writing chose me. Even as a child, I’d get serious withdrawal symptoms if I wasn’t scribbling away. Then I did an English degree and writing for pleasure gave way to essays on Paradise Lost (I can’t look at the cover of my copy of PL to this day without breaking out in hives). It wasn’t until I started re-reading the likes of Keats after my degree that I rediscovered a love of writing. Eventually, I became a journalist, and started writing short stories for women’s magazines. That gave me the push I needed to try the longer form of a novel.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The first one that stuck in my mind was Five Children & It by E Nesbit. I went on to read the other two in the trilogy, and then devoured the Narnia titles. I think children love the idea of their peers occupying a secret world of magic and responsibility that adults know nothing about.
I suspect that all writers love reading and get bitten early by the reading bug.
I think you’re right! Are you working on another novel at the moment?
Yes. Although it’s yet to see the light of day, this will be my third (my second, A Tale of Two Sisters, is due out later in 2015). The new book will have a different feel, as part of it is written in the first person, and a darker psychological edge. There will be the same focus on a twisty plot, though, along with dialogue that doesn’t stint on humour and realism. For me, the best part of writing a book is letting the characters tell me how it’s going to end, with the outcome dependent on motivations they only reveal as the story unfolds.
My characters do that, too, and I love the unexpectedness of it. Do you have a favourite literary hero/heroine?
I love strong female characters. Elizabeth Bennett is fabulous, but as I know she’d be one of the popular girls at school, buoyed up by her beauty and wit, I’d have to go for Jane Eyre, who has no advantages to begin with, but forces the world to sit up and take notice of her, on her terms. Another great female character is Cady Roth in Armistead Maupin’s Maybe the Moon, a 31in-tall woman trying to make it in Tinseltown. You can’t beat a book that makes you laugh and cry at the same time!
Thanks for visiting, Gabrielle. It’s been great getting to know you better!
Hush Hush is available at:
Gabrielle Mullarkey is the author of two published novels, Hush Hush and A Tale of Two Sisters, writes short stories for women’s magazines, and works as a freelance journalist. She also facilitates creative writing for personal development and mental wellbeing.
You can find Gabrielle at: