Hometown: Columbia, Tennessee
Countries you have visited: Ireland, Indonesia, China, England, Turkey, British Virgin Islands, Mexico
Country you wrote about: Ireland
Destination you would most like to visit:Paris! I’m dying here!!
Why did you choose to write about Ireland?
Ireland was truly magical. I’d never seen a place so vast, so green, so rich with natural beauty and kind people and interesting stories. It’s a country I could visit over and over again.
What was your favorite place to visit in Ireland?
My favorite location was the West Coast of Ireland. I adored Galway and the Connemara area and Clifden and Ballyconneely and Roundstone. I drove all along the coast in this little red car that I’d rented. The whole time I kept stopping and taking pictures and thinking how someone needed to pinch me because I couldn’t believe I was there! It was a place I had always dreamed of visiting. Aside from the breathtaking views and wonderful people, there was something very liberating about traveling alone. It made me feel I could do most anything—even drive on the “wrong” side of the road!
What was your favorite food?
Butter. If you’ve never had Irish butter, you truly haven’t lived.
What was your favorite souvenir?
A pair of handmade Irish wool mittens. I have three daughters, and they each have had a turn at wearing those mittens.
What was the most surprising/memorable cultural difference you noticed?
I could go out at night alone and not feel uncomfortable.What was your funniest experience?
I was trying to find Trinity College in Dublin, and I was terribly lost, not to mention mildly terrified at driving in an unfamiliar city, again, on the “wrong” side of the road. I stopped at this cathedral and asked an elderly man for directions, and he got into my car. Now, in America, I would’ve screamed for help, but this was perfectly acceptable to him. Not only did he go completely out of his way to get me to Trinity (so that I could see the Book of Kells), but he insisted on helping me park the car. This was not necessary, but it was very sweet, and I still have a picture of him.
Have you traveled anywhere “off the beaten path”? If so, what brought you there?
Yes. Old boyfriend. ‘Nough said.Is your main character like you in any way? Are your characters based on anyone in your “real” life?
The main character had recently lost her mother, and so had I. Loss of one kind or another always seems to creep into my writing. As for the other characters, they are entirely made up, although I wish I had a friend like Iris.What made you want to become a writer?
In her book Bird By Bird (a read I highly recommend for anyone who wants to write), Anne Lamott says people write because they didn’t feel heard as children. This definitely applies to me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like putting my thoughts on paper.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers?
If you have a big dream, hold onto it. And when someone says your big dream can’t/won’t happen, turn their negativity into fuel to move things forward.