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