Faith Hogan: 'Sometimes women don't want to know the reality about their relationships. They won't ask'
Faith Hogan (47) is an author and she is also a social care worker. Born in Mayo, she lives in Ballina with her husband, James, and their four children - twins Sean and Roisin (14), Tomas (11) and Christine (7)
When my feet hit the ground, the first thing I say is 'Thank you'. I'm a great one for gratitude. I have an office in the house and I'll pad down there. Some mornings I'm propelled from the bed with a line. Seconds later, I'm at my computer, working on my novel. This could be at 4.30am. I'm a lark. On bright mornings, I'm fizzing with energy. But even on dark mornings, I'm in good form. I love feeling that you are the only person in the world up at that hour. When you've got four children, a silent house is magic.
I kick-start my day with mint tea. Sometimes I'll close my eyes and think for a few minutes. Then I'll get back into what I was doing the day before. In the morning, the Wi-Fi is switched off. This is because when my first novel - My Husband's Wives - came out on e-book last year, I was really busy promoting it on social media. That sort of thing can become a constant, if you let it. I prefer to concentrate on the writing. That same novel will now be coming out in paperback at the beginning of May.
It's about a young artist who embarks on an affair with a married man. He has presence and power. He's a cardiologist. It's about the way you fall in love when you are younger. He sweeps the artist off her feet, and he is even thrilled when she becomes pregnant. When he is killed in a car accident, there are all these women at his funeral. They all thought that they were married to him. Nobody knows who is his next of kin. So they are thrown together and they end up becoming unlikely allies. That's the starting point. While it might sound like it's about romance, it's more about girl power.
They realise that when he was alive, they only knew part of him. They might have heard rumours about their relationship, but they were too scared to ask pointed questions. Sometimes women don't want to know the reality about their relationships. I think you see a lot of that in life.
I wanted to write a novel about multiple partners; what happens when people are left to cope with the debris of somebody's life. It's about modern family life in Ireland. We've had divorce here for 21 years, and yet we haven't really thought about the repercussions for the family and, indeed, all the people involved. We haven't created the tools for it.
Also, I have a degree in psychology and I'm interested in the way people behave. I've always felt that men have the emotional range of a teacup, whereas women are much more complex in how we process things and how we engage with our feelings. That is both good and bad. For example, on the other hand, men don't seem to let things hold them back. You could say that they are delightfully uncomplicated. There is a lot to be said for that.
My aim is to write 10,000 words a week. At 7.30am, the house comes to life. Uniforms are taken down and, by 8am, everyone is in the kitchen for breakfast. I work three days a week in disability services, and my husband works in the same sector. We both love our jobs. It's all about making life better for other people. I'm very lucky with my husband, James. When the kid were babies, he was so fast at changing nappies. He is still very hands-on. He does the school run.
I finish work at 4.30pm, and then it is straight into dinner, homework and all the usual family stuff like scouts and drama. They say that it takes a village to raise a child - well, I think it takes a village to write a book and rear a child; just to keep all the wheels on the wagon.
My mother is a great support, and she has always been on hand to help me. I might casually mention to her that I have no yoghurts left and that I'll stop at the shops in the morning. That same evening, she will appear up at the house with them.
I have done much more challenging jobs, but a few years ago I stepped down to a lower position. I wanted to concentrate on writing the books and I needed the mind-space.
Also, I think motherhood changed me so much. In terms of work, it just put everything in perspective. I think you fit more in, simply because you have to fit more in.
I made the decision to change jobs. Instead of fiddling away at writing, I wanted to get published. When you have kids, especially girls, you are conscious about the example you are giving. My mother always worked. They are a big part of my motivation for getting up early in the morning. They are why I work so hard. It's not so much to give them things, but to give them an example. But I love writing. If I wasn't published, I'd still be writing.
Some people have contacted me from Australia and the US telling me how much they've enjoyed my e-book. I think that's amazing. I sit here in a room that is so quiet, looking out on a sky - it doesn't even look out on the garden, as I'd be too easily distracted by that.
I'm writing it, thinking, 'Will anybody read this?' And then when they do, it gives you the weirdest, greatest, loveliest feeling. You think, 'Oh my god, it is out there now'.
I love going to bed early with a hot chocolate and a book. I'm not a drinker or a smoker, so that is my idea of happiness. When I close my eyes, I think of the day that has gone by and all the nice things that have happened. There are always lots of nice things. Sometimes it's a simple thing like the fun we had in the garden and the silly game we played.