Thursday, 3 July 2014

Blog Tour: The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington

Hello everyone

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be hosting Carmel Harrington on my blog today. Carmel is one of my favourite authors. I fell in love with her work when I read Beyond Grace's Rainbow earlier this year. It was one of the most moving and beautiful books I have ever read and I have been gushing about it to everyone ever since!

Carmel's new book, The Life You Left is published in paperback TODAY, as well as being available as an ebook, and I would urge you all to go out and buy it NOW. To make it easy you could always just click here to buy it straight away!! It is amazing and I loved it! Infact, if you want to know how much I loved it just click here and read my review.

I am so pleased that Carmel has taken the time to answer a load of questions that I have put to her and I am delighted to be able to share them with you as part of her blog tour.

So, without further ado....over to the wonderful Carmel...........

My interview with Carmel Harrington

Hi Carmel

Happy publication day!!! Thank you so much for having me as part of your blog tour. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about it. I feel like a bit of a stalker, but I can hand on heart say that your debut book, Beyond Grace's Rainbow, and your new book, The Life You Left are two of my favourite reads of 2014, infact I would say they are a couple of the best books I have ever read.

I feel very honoured to have the opportunity to put some questions to you on behalf of all your fans.

Q) First of all, it was the launch party for The Life You Left at the was it? Tell us all the gossip ;-)

Hi Jill, thanks for having me on your lovely blog!

Right, you want the goss from the party?  Well let me see, what can I tell you!  You need to ask Margaret Madden from Bleachhouselibrary to tell you all about her love of all things Laura Ingalls. I may have photographic evidence that I could be persuaded to share of a certain blogger playing dress up in the castle! ;)

It was a great launch, I mean first of all, it was held in a castle of all things.  So straight off the bat, it felt magical you know? About a 100 or so people came and we had wine with strawberries (delicious!) and canapés and music!

Theres a song that plays an important part of The Life You Left - She by Elvis Costello and that was played by the musicians.

I had the time of my life Jill, I wish you could have been there. In my speech I did make a special toast to all the wonderful book bloggers that have supported me this past year or so, to thank you for their support.  I would have loved to have you all there for the night, but I know that we are geographically challenged!

Q) Where did your inspiration for The Life You Left come from?

Jill it came from a couple of places.  A walk on our local beach, early one morning, where the wind played havoc with my imagination, inspired the storyline of a body found brutally murdered on a beach and the mystery around her death.   The angel storyline came from an actual event that happened to me a few years ago.  A woman walked up to me in a shopping centre and told me that I was surrounded by the love of angels and that my guardian angel was currently watching over me. While she spoke to me, I was convinced she was trying to scam me out of something - but she wanted nothing from me.  She just wanted to give me a message of love and hope.  Sarahs character stemmed from that meeting.

Q) You have written your characters so well in both books that I have seen many readers (myself included) say that they felt like they really connected with them. Where do you get your characters from? Are they invented or based on real life people?

They are all from my imagination, but certainly little aspects of them might be inspired by people I have met or known over the years! 

Q) Your books have very deep and emotional themes. As a reader we are laughing one minute and sobbing the next. How is it for you as the author living with these characters from day to day? Do you become emotionally attached to them?

Oh Jill, what a great question. Yes, I do. Honestly I can be an emotional wreck writing the story lines and I worry so much about all of my characters. Especially the children. I still think of Jack in Beyond Graces Rainbow and I had such a soft spot for Tommy in particular in The Life You Left. As you said, my stories always have deep emotional themes, I believe that my readers are more than capable of dealing with big issues and in my stories, as in life, I show that sometimes things dont work out as we hoped they would. But in writing some of the big emotional scenes, I have to admit that I needed quite a few kleenex myself!

Q) Writing such emotional scenes must be quite draining at times. How do you switch off?

I have to take a deep breath, then do something really unrelated to writing, which usually means playing with my children or if were lucky and have a baby-sitter, bringing my husband out for a date!

Q) Both books have very strong female lead characters. This seems like a very important theme to you. Why is this?

Ive always been surrounded by strong women. My two grandmothers survived worldwars, heartbreak and loss, but still managed to love and live life to the full. My mother and my sisters and sisters-in-law are all strong women too as are my friends. I like my leading ladies to be strong, but not afraid to show their vulnerability too and ask for help when they need it. Because we all need a little support every now and then dont we?

Q) How does it feel to know that your books are being read by people all over the country / world? Have you seen anyone reading a copy yet?

Oooohh, another great question! Ive not walked into a bookshop or anything and seen someone reading my book, but I do get a kick when a review comes in from overseas. I can remember my first review from Canada and I was so excited, because I kept saying to my husband, I dont know a single soul in Canada!

I really am very grateful to every person who has read my stories. If I could throw a party for everyone single one of them, I would!

Q) Who was your favourite author growing up? Is there an author who particularly inspired you to write?

 As a small child I loved The Faraway Tree by Enid Blython and in fact most of her books!  I also loved Jane Austen when I was a little older and Tolkein. As a young adult, I loved Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes and Sheila OFlanagan. Then I started to dabble in Dean Koontz and Stephen King! As you can tell, my tastes are quite eclectic! Once the story is well told and it transports me to another world, Im happy.

Q) If you could be a character in any book who would you choose and why?

Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice.

Why? Well, she's strong, smart, witty and knows what she wants. She lives in a world that really isnt fair to women and despite this fact she still speaks up and tells the world what she wants. I respect that. But more than all that, I love her wardrobe, I could seriously rock those dresses. Lastly, Ill just say two words - Mr Darcy. Nuff said.

Q) What can we expect from your next book? and as I am sure all of us want to know.....when can we expect it??

Ha ha, you are worse than my editor! Book 3 will be 2015 and it is a follow up to Beyond Graces Rainbow. But this time, it will tell Abbys story with all the old gang supporting her! Tom & Gerry are playing a big part too!

Q) I am a little bit in love with James, from The Life You Left, and I have a soft spot for Irish you know where I can find a real life version?

You need to come visit us over here. Lots of gorgeous Irish single men here, just waiting for the love of a good woman ;) James is lovely isnt he? I love writing the men in my books I must admit and he was particularly fun to write. He has some great one liners, that made me chuckle when I wrote them.

Thank you again to Carmel for being so open and I will be rushing over to Ireland to track down my very own James :-)

Enjoy reading The Life You Left everyone and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely, interesting chat. I need to get both of Carmel's books asap.
    Thank you Jill xx