Friday 23 February 2018

Write side with radio presenter Rachael English


Rachael English
Rachael English
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Radio presenter Rachael English on her adoption novel, her big break with moving statues, and finding time to sleep

You present Morning Ireland and write novels. When do you actually sleep?

When I am presenting the programme, I have to be up at 4.30am. So I usually get a couple of hours of sleep in the afternoon. We usually have a conference call in the evening to discuss what will be on the following morning, and I go to bed very early.

So, where does the writing fit in?

By the time I get home from presenting the programme, my head is just mush, and full of things like Donald Trump or Irish Water. I feel like I need a spare head. So I tend to write on my days off at the kitchen table.

Tell us about your big break with the moving statues?

When I was 16, I entered an essay prize at school and Tom McCaughren from RTÉ was judging it. I wrote about moving statues and he chose my essay as the winner.

What gave you the idea for your latest novel, The American Girl, which has an adoption theme?

I was listening to Liveline a few years ago and there was a woman on about trying to find her birth mother, who was American. It set me thinking about what that would be like. How could an American girl end up in Ireland?

Part of the book is set in Boston. How did you get the detail right?

I spent a summer there as a student on a J1 visa. More recently, I became intrigued by an area in Boston called Milton when I read about it in a book. So I actually went to visit there before I wrote the book.

What interested you about Milton?

It is known as the most Irish place in America, and it regularly features in lists of top 10 places to live. There are beautiful houses. There signs for Irish dancing, Barry's Tea in the cafés, and you will see GAA jerseys.

All that is missing is Morning Ireland on the radio...

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