My warmest thanks to the Lissycasey Bookclub in County Clare for giving me such a lovely welcome and brilliant night out last week. I was invited to join them to discuss their October book – my eleventh novel, Hello from the Gillespies. I brought along the original manuscript, the different international editions and my research photos. I also spoke about my writing process and answered their questions.
It was wonderful to see how much the bookclub means to the twenty members. Books brought them together originally as readers and the women are now close and supportive friends. Once a month they meet in their local pub in Lissycasey, the 228-year-old Fanny O’Dea’s, to talk about their chosen book and also enjoy a fantastic spread of food and a sip or two of wine. (In my honour, this month there was even sausage rolls and pavlova!) They even had a float at this year’s Lissycasey St Patrick’s Day Parade.
It was a special night for me for other reasons too. Hello from the Gillespies is dedicated to the late Dympna Dolan, a Co Meath woman and mother of five who took me under her wing when I first moved to Ireland 27 years ago. A key member of the Lissycasey Bookclub is Roisin Dolan, Dympna’s daughter-in-law, who invited me down. My great-grandparents on both sides came from Co Clare and I grew up in Clare, South Australia, named after the Irish county, so it always means a lot to me to be back there (and to spot the McInerney surname everywhere.)
Thanks again to Roisin, her husband Brion and each and everyone in the Lissycasey Bookclub – I wish you all happy reading together for many years to come!