Researching and writing The Godmothers

The question I’m most often asked about a new novel is ‘what inspired it?’ With The Godmothers, the seeds were planted by two family stories. One is from my childhood, the second more recent. In 1957, my father’s half-sister, then aged 44, … More

My writing superstitions

I am a very superstitious writer. I’m also a very messy one. That’s why I think it’s best I don’t share photos of my office, especially at the moment. I work in the attic of my Dublin house, with two … More

Fiction and Families

I’ve just finished a mini book tour in Australia, the first time I have toured without a new book to talk about. Instead, I looked back at all twelve of my books – eleven novels and a collection of short stories – written … More

W.H. Smith Interview

Celebrated bestselling author Monica McInerney chats about fictional families and her writing process in the leadup to her newest release, The Trip of a Lifetime. What inspired you to write The Trip of a Lifetime? Last year marked a milestone in my … More

Location, Location, Location

(First appeared on the Better Reading website As a reader, I love visiting new places via the fiction I read. As a writer I enjoy it just as much. Researching the locations of my books is one of my … More

The Shape I’m In

“A dressmaker friend says I have a ‘writing’ shape and a ‘promoting’ shape. I lock myself away in my attic for months while I write my books, usually over the colder months, not exercising enough and fattening up in the … More

Writer’s Block with Monica McInerney

SOPHIE GRENHAM talks to author MONICA McINERNEY about how she’s a SUPERSTITIOUS WRITER, growing up in the CLARE VALLEY and writing TWELVE NOVELS … Monica McInerney is an internationally acclaimed Australian author who fell in love with Ireland over twenty-five years ago. To date, Monica has written twelve … More

The Pros and Cons of an Online Life

(First appeared in Woman’s Way magazine, Ireland, August 2017) Yesterday in Dublin city centre I had three collisions. Fortunately I was walking, not driving, and escaped unhurt. The first was on Grafton Street. A young man came around a corner … More

I like to think Dad’s fingerprints are still on it

I’m a superstitious writer. When I’m working on a novel, I develop rituals and collect objects that become talismans. The desk in my Dublin attic is crowded with ornaments and small ceramic creatures, including a fox, robin, goose and black … More

Five Places That Changed My Life

CLARE VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA I grew up here, leaving aged 17 to work in Adelaide (as wardrobe girl on Here’s Humphrey.) From there, I moved to London, Sydney, Melbourne, Ireland. In 1995, my Irish husband and I returned to live in … More

The Weight of Words

A much loved friend of mine died earlier this year. She had cancer, but, even so, her death came as a shock. Once, I might have phoned my friends and family with the sad news, or even written a letter. … More

In Defence of Christmas Letters

I was ten when I first read a Christmas round-robin letter. My eyes widened at the writer’s account of her family’s exam successes, sporting triumphs, job promotions and exotic holidays. Did such a perfect family exist? How were they able … More

A Conversation with Monica McInerney

(Questions by Ellen Edwards, my editor at Penguin Random House in New York.) Hello from the Gillespies begins with a Christmas letter gone awry—how did this irresistible premise inspire the book? I’ve been fascinated by the idea of Christmas letters … More

The Real-Life Railway Children

‘They were not railway children to begin with,’ starts Edith Nesbit’s classic The Railway Children. Not in our case  – we seven McInerneys were always railway children, our father the railway stationmaster in the Clare Valley of South Australia for … More

Teenage Angst

‘I’m on canteen duty next week.’ My Mum said it so casually, but the words struck fear into my heart. I was 14 years old, at high school in rural South Australia. Life as a teenager had come as a … More

The Statues of Dublin

In the centre of O’Connell Street in Dublin there’s a statue of the man who used to own the vegetable shop in my childhood hometown in Australia. On North Earl Street, a drinking crony of my brother is immortalized in … More

Sweet Charity: Behind the Scenes in Charity Shops

My name is Monica McInerney and I am an addict. My drug of choice? Charity shops. As I push open the door, my fingers start to tingle. My eyes start to dart. What might I find in here? A vintage … More

The Technological Times are A-Changing

I have a confession to make. At 46 years of age, I’m behind the technological times – not with the younger generation, but the older. I use a bulky desk computer, not a slinky laptop. I have an old mobile … More

Locations, Locations, Locations

Sometimes being a novelist is like having a film crew living in your head. There’s a casting agent picking characters, a wardrobe mistress dressing them, a scriptwriter developing plots and dialogue. And before anything can really get going, you need … More

Burned to a Crisp

Will my citizenship be revoked if I confess I hope never to experience a full Australian summer again? If I admit that three months of hot, dry days and hot, tossing-and-turning nights is my idea of weather hell? If I … More

The Consolations of Cooking

I have a friend who goes running when she is feeling down. Another takes a long bath. Another reorganises her linen cupboard. I cook soup. Great big pots of it, made from scratch, using all the vegetables I can lay … More

The Aunt’s Story

The first time I tasted garlic prawns was at my Aunt Jacqueline’s house. I was thirteen years old, a country girl, the middle of seven children, raised on a diet of chops and three vegetables during the week, and roast … More

Apartment Highs and Woes

I never expected to spend my first night in San Francisco wishing I could levitate. Or that instead of having good walking shoes for the hills and a warm coat for the fog, I had a suitcase full of rubber … More

The Expatriate Life

I think it’s time for a new word to describe someone living in another country. Expatriate – defined as out of one’s country – doesn’t cover it any more. The word speaks to me of isolation, separation and distance, yet … More